No. 11 Sun Devil Wrestling Places Second at Reno Tournament

Dec. 19, 2003

RENO, Nev. - The No. 11 Arizona State wrestling team, on the strength of two individual titles and five tournament finalists, finished second at the 2003 Reno Tournament of Champions Thursday in Reno, Nev. Defending NCAA champion and top-ranked Oklahoma State ran away with the team title, scoring 205.5 points to ASU's 127.5. The Sun Devil big men of Ryan Bader (So., Verdi, Nev.) and Cain Velasquez (So., Yuma, Ariz.), at 197 and heavyweight, respectively, each won titles in their respective weight classes.

Bader, returning to his hometown to compete for the second year in a row, moved through the bracket as the top-seed at 197 and met conference foe Matt Monteiro of Cal State Bakersfield in the finals. The match was locked at two apiece and closing in on overtime when Bader hit a takedown to secure the 4-2 decision victory. In the final match of the tournament, Velasquez, seeded second at his weight, brought his first individual title as a Sun Devil by pinning Southern Oregon's Wes Balensifer at the 2:37 mark in the first period.

Three other Sun Devils advanced to the finals before suffering their first defeats of the event. At 125, Christian Staylor (Fr., Chesapeake, Va.) moved through the bracket as the No. 4 seed and faced second-seeded Efren Ceballos of Cal State Bakersfield in a Pac-10 battle. The bout ended with Ceballos on top, 4-3.

At 133, another battle of conference foes decided the tournament title with a Sun Devil falling in his bid to win. Mike Simpson (Jr., Anaheim, Calif.), making his season debut in the event, faced Cal Poly's up-and-coming freshman Darrell Vasquez. In another close match, however, Simpson fell, 4-3. The final Sun Devil to reach the finals was Patrick Williams (Jr., Homestead, Fla.) at 149. Williams, who was seeded second in the event, was pinned by top-seeded Zack Esposito of Oklahoma State at 5:24 as ASU fell to 0-3 in finals before the last two weights.

Brian Stith (Fr., Hampton, Va.) at 157, Ron Renzi (Sr., Burke, Va.) at 174 and Nick Frost (Sr., Tucson, Ariz.) at 184 also placed in the Top 6 at the event. All three placed sixth after taking injury default losses to close out the tournament.

Complete results were not available at the time of this release. Once complete results are made available, they will posted on the official Web site of Arizona State athletics,

Arizona State returns to action January 1 with a dual in Minneapolis, Minn., when the Sun Devils face the No. 10 Golden Gophers of Minnesota at 6 p.m. ASU's next home event will be January 4 when it plays host to the 2004 Sun Devil Duals inside Wells Fargo Arena in Tempe. The hosts will face conference rival Stanford at 10 a.m. and intrastate foe Embry-Riddle at noon before a 4 p.m. showdown with No. 2 Iowa State and former ASU coach Bobby Douglas. Other teams slated to compete are No. 8 Missouri, No. 18 West Virginia, No. 23 Cal Poly and American.

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