Stith, Velasquez Advance to Quarterfinals as Sun Devil Wrestling Sits 10th
March 17, 2005
TEMPE, Ariz. - The first day of competition at the 2005 NCAA Wrestling Championships came to a close Thursday evening inside the Savvis Center in St. Louis, Mo., with all seven members of the Arizona State University wrestling team remaining in the hunt for All-America honors following the conclusion of the Session II. A pair of Sun Devils have advanced to the quarterfinals in their respective brackets and will look to advance to the semifinals Friday morning while the remaining wrestlers have a tough task ahead on the way to placing among the Top 8.
In the team race, two-time defending national champion Oklahoma State once again finds itself in the lead as its seven entrants have accumulated 39.5 points. The Sun Devils are tied for 10th with Indiana with 17 points. Minnesota (28.5), Iowa State (27.0), Oklahoma (26.5) and Michigan (25.5) round out the Top 5.
Both the team's 2005 Pac-10 Champions, Brian Stith (So., Hampton, Va.) and Cain Velasquez (Jr., Yuma, Ariz.), posted 2-0 records on the day to advance to the quarterfinals in their first NCAA Division I championship tournaments. Velasquez, who is seeded third in the heavyweight bracket, defeated Sacred Heart's Payam Zarrinpour, 5-1, to open the tournament before scoring a 9-1 major decision over Duquesne's Marc Allemang. The Sun Devil big man will now face No. 6 Matt Feast of Pennsylvania Friday morning for a shot at the semifinals.
Stith, who is competing at 157 pounds and is seeded 10th in the bracket, posted identical 4-2 victories on the day. In the first bout, Stith defeated Hofstra's James Strouse before downing Penn State's Nate Galloway in the second round. Stith has a tough task ahead of him Friday morning as he faces Ryan Bertin, the second-seeded competitor, in the quarterfinals. A quarterfinal victory for either Sun Devil Friday morning assures them of All-America status.
Three Sun Devils won their opening bouts before suffering defeat and being sent to the consolation brackets. At 149, Patrick Williams (Sr., Homestead, Fla.) opened with a flurry of offense that lead to a large lead before the team's lone senior in the event pinned Isaac Knable of Indiana at 6:40. Williams then took on No. 3 Dustin Manotti and dropped an 8-3 decision. No. 12 C.B. Dollaway (Jr., Mt., Gilead, Ohio) defeated Frank Cornely of Duke, 8-4, in his opening bout before falling to No. 5 Brian Glynn of Illinois, 4-2. Returning All-American Ryan Bader (Jr., Reno, Nev.), who is seeded seventh in the 197 division, started the day with a 7-3 decision over Illinois' Tyrone Byrd before Philip Davis of Penn State picked up his second upset of the day by downing Bader, 3-1.
At 125, 12th-seeded Jeremy Mendoza (Jr., Temecula, Calif.) could not pull out a come-from-behind victory as Iowa State's Grant Nakamura dealt the Sun Devil a 7-6 loss. In the consolation bracket, Mendoza went on the offensive before locking Mike Sees (Bloomsburg) in a cradle and pinning him at 3:52 to remain in the competition. Patick Pitsch (Fr., Spanaway, Wash.) made his NCAA debut at 165 and nearly upset the seventh-seeded wrestler, Jacob Klein of Nebraska. In the end and during a scramble at the edge, Pitsch scored a takedown and tried to pick up points, but instead yielded a reversal and the bout, 7-6. Pitsch rebounded in the consolation round as he recorded a 7-2 decision over Jim Bertulis of Bloomsburg. Both men will need to win their next three bouts in a row to assure themselves of a place among the Top 8 in the bracket and All-America honors.
Action opens Friday morning at 10 a.m. CST (9 a.m. MST) with championship quarterfinals and two rounds of consolation bouts. ESPNU will carry the championship quarterfinals live starting at 10 a.m. before ESPN continues coverage starting at 6 p.m. with the semifinals.