Pac-10 Announces 2005 Wrestling Awards

March 30, 2005

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WALNUT CREEK, Calif. -- ARIZONA STATE junior Cain Valesquez was named Pac-10 Wrestler of the Year, Arizona State head coach Thom Ortiz earned Pac-10 Coach of the Year honors and Andrew Hochstrasser of BOISE STATE was named Freshman/Newcomer of the Year, Commissioner Tom Hansen announced today.

Valesquez, a 285-pound junior from Yuma, Ariz., was selected by Pac-10 coaches as the Wrestler of the Year after he finished the season with a 36-4 mark. Valesquez won his first Conference title and qualified for the NCAA Championships, where he took sixth-place honors at heavyweight. Arizona State placed 13th, the highest Pac-10 team finish. Valesquez earns his first Wrestler of the Year award, and the 14th overall for the Arizona State wrestling program.

Thom Ortiz earns his second Coach of the Year honor, and the 14th in Arizona State's history. In just his fourth season at the helm, Ortiz led the Sun Devils to an 11-6-1 overall mark in dual meets, and an umblemished 8-0 Pac-10 record. Under Ortiz's tutelage, two Sun Devil wrestlers won individual Pac-10 championships, Brian Stith at 157 pounds and Valesquez at heavyweight. In addition to Stith and Valesquez, five more of Ortiz's pupils advanced to the NCAA Championships-Jeremy Mendoza (125), Patrick Williams (149), Patrick Pitsch (165), C.B. Dollaway (184) and Ryan Bader (197)-for a total of seven competitors. Ortiz, a graduate of Arizona State in 1990, was a two-time All-American and was a member of the 1988 NCAA Championship Sun Devil team.

Hochstrasser, a 125-pound freshman from Toolele, Utah, becomes the first Freshman/Newcomer of the Year from Boise State since its inception into Pac-10 wrestling in 2000. Hochstrasser earned an invitation to the NCAA Championships by finishing third in the Pac-10 at 125 pounds, and helped Boise State to a second place finish in the Pac-10. Seeded seventh at the NCAA Championships, Hochstrasser won his first bout but lost the next two to finish the season. The Broncos finished 33rd overall at the NCAA Championships.

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