No. 4 Michigan Hands No. 16 Sun Devil Wrestling 24-16 Loss at National Duals

Jan. 22, 2005

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TEMPE, Ariz. - The 2005 NWCA National Duals got underway in Cleveland, Ohio, Saturday morning with the Arizona State University wrestling team, ranked 16th in the nation, met the fourth-ranked and No. 3 tournament seed Michigan Wolverines in the first round of the tournament being contested Saturday and Sunday at the Cleveland State Convocation Center. Unfortunately for the Sun Devils (5-5-1), the Wolverines (7-1-0) won six duals in a row at the start of the dual before holding on for a 24-16 decision, relocating ASU to the consolation bracket.

The dual opened at 125 pounds with No. 11 Jeremy Mendoza (Jr., Temecula, Calif.) picking up six team points on a UM forfeit. With the Sun Devils leading 6-0, the Wolverines showed why they are one of the top teams in the nation as they won the next six bouts to take a commanding 24-6 lead. No. 12 Mark Moos scored an 8-4 decision over John Espinoza (So., Phoenix, Ariz.) at 133 to cut the ASU advantage to 6-3. UM took the lead for good at 141 when Chris Freije (Fr., Mesa, Ariz.) was pinned at 4:34 by No. 13 Josh Churella.

Leading 9-6, the Wolverines picked up another six points as No. 7 Eric Tannenbaum pinned Ross Cromartie (So., Dallas, Texas) in 55 seconds to pull ahead 15-6. In the lone battle of Top 20 wrestlers, No. 14 Brian Stith (So. Hampton, Va.) nearly upset No. 4 Ryan Bertin, but fell, 4-3, at 157 pounds. That was followed by Patrick Pitsch (Fr., Spanaway, Wash.) dropping an 8-3 decision to No. 2 Ryan Churella at 165. UM scored its final victory of the dual with No. 13 Nick Roy taking a 9-4 decision over Rick Renzi (Fr., Flagstaff, Ariz.).

Trailing 24-6, the Sun Devils had just three bouts to make a comeback and would need all three bouts to be won by pinfall. Although ASU did not record three pins, they did pick up a trio of victories. No. 10 C.B. Dollaway (Jr., Mt. Gilead, Ohio), competing in Northern Ohio for the first time since his days on the high school mats in the Cleveland area, scored a 9-7 decision of Josh Weitzel before No. 6 Ryan Bader (Jr., Reno, Nev.) followed with an 8-0 major decision over Steve Heleniak at 197. The final bout saw No. 3 Cain Velasquez (Jr., Yuma, Ariz.) defeat substitute Tony Grygorzyk, 5-0, at heavyweight.

The Sun Devils will have a tough task ahead of them in the consolation first round later today as they face Central Michigan (6-2-0). The 12th-ranked and unseeded Chippewas dropped a tough 20-18 bout to No. 7 and sixth-seeded Minnesota in the first round. The loser of the ASU-CMU dual will be bounced from the tournament with an 0-2 record while the winner will advance in the consolation bracket.

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