#11 Wrestling Travels to Face #10 Oklahoma

Jan. 31, 2006

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TEMPE, Ariz. - Riding the success of a six-dual winning streak, including three in a row on the road last weekend, the No. 11 Arizona State University wrestling team (12-6, 7-0 Pac-10) will take to the road for its final away dual Friday night as the Sun Devils are set to meet No. 10 Oklahoma (7-4-1, 0-2 Big XII) at 7 p.m. in Norman. The dual will take place on the Sooners' home mat inside the Howard McCasland Field House.

ROAD WARRIORS
For the fourth dual in a row, the Sun Devils will compete on the road, this time heading to Norman, Okla., to face Oklahoma. So far this year, Arizona State stands 4-2 on the road and have won three away duals in a row following wins at No. 20 Cal Poly, CS Bakersfield and CS Fullerton last weekend. The OU dual will be the final road contest of the season for the Sun Devils before they return home for its final two duals of the season next weekend.

ONE MORE AWAY FROM WFA
Although this weekend's dual with Oklahoma marks the final road contest of the 2005-06 season for the Sun Devils, they will have one more dual away from the confines of Wells Fargo Arena this year. Earlier this week, Head Coach Thom Ortiz announced that Arizona State and Fresno State will dual at 7:30 p.m. February 10 at Raymond Kellis High School in Glendale. The RKHS is one mile from the Glendale Arena, the site of the Arizona High School State Wrestling Championships that same weekend.

RANKINGS BATTLE
Five of the 10 bouts slated for this weekend in Norman could see a pair of nationally ranked foes meet one another on the mat. Those bouts include No. 7 Jeremy Mendoza vs. No. 2 Sam Hazewinkel at 125; No. 11 Patrick Pitsch vs. No. 14 Jarrod King at 165; No. 8 C.B. Dollaway vs. No. 13 Justin Dyer at 184; No. 10 Ryan Bader vs. No. 5 Joel Flaggert at 197 and heavyweights No. 4 Cain Velasquez vs. No. 5 Jake Hager. Along with those battles, four other bouts will include one nationally ranked foe with ASU sending No. 9 Brian Stith out at 197 while the Sooners will send out No. 2 Teyon Ware at 141, No. 10 Matt Storliono at 149 and No. 12 Wes Roberts at 174.

STREAKING
During the 2004-05 season, the Sun Devils posted a perfect 8-0 record against Pac-10 foes. So far this season, Arizona State has won all seven of its conference clashes to bring that streak to 15 in a row following its three-dual sweep in California. In the five seasons Thom Ortiz has been at the helm of the ASU program, the Sun Devils have gone 32-2 against Pac-10 foes with their lone losses coming at the hands of Oregon State in 2003 (18-16 in Corvallis) and Cal State Bakersfield (20-17 in Bakersfield). Overall, ASU is 18-0 at home against Pac-10 foes with Ortiz as its coach and will have one more home Pac-10 dual this season when Stanford visits Feb. 12.

CALIFORNIA SWEEPIN'
The Sun Devils swept through three California teams over the weekend, taking victories against No. 20 Cal Poly, CS Bakersfield and CS Fullerton. In those three duals, the Arizona State wrestlers would win 17 of 30 bouts with 11 of the 17 victories earning bonus points. Of the 11 bonus victories, ASU wrestlers recorded six pins, one technical fall and four majors.

FACING THE BEST - PART I
So far this season, the Sun Devils are 12-6 overall with all six losses coming at the hands of teams ranked among the Top 8 teams in the nation. Arizona State has lost duals to then No. 1 Oklahoma State, No. 2 Minnesota, No. 5 Iowa, No. 5 Michigan, No. 7 Iowa State and No. 8 Lehigh. Only Lehigh (No. 14 this week) has fallen out of the Top 10 since taking on ASU.

FACING THE BEST - PART II
In 18 duals this season, Arizona State has faced 10 nationally ranked foes and posted a 4-6 record. Three victories came at the NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals as the Sun Devils, then ranked No. 18 in the nation, twice upset No. 9 Missouri and added an upset of No. 13 Northwestern as well. Arizona State added a defeat of No. 20 Cal Poly over the weekend and will now look to improve to 5-6 on the year against the national Top 20 when it faces No. 10 Oklahoma this weekend.

NUMBER 50
With his team's 21-21 defeat (on criteria) of No. 9 Missouri in the seventh-place dual Sunday at the 2006 NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals, Head Coach Thom Ortiz collected the 50th victory in his coaching career, raising his record 50-32-1 all-time as a head coach on the collegiate level. So far this season, Ortiz' Sun Devils are 12-6 overall and 7-0 in the Pac-10, giving him an overall record of 55-32-1 and a 32-2-0 mark in the conference.

INSIDE TRACK
Each week throughout the 2005-06 season, Sun Devil Assistant Coach Aaron Simpson will provide an inside look at the team as he submits journal entries to thesundevils.com. Visit the wrestling page on the official athletic web site of Arizona State Athletics to see what Coach Simpson has to say about a previous meet, the team's preparations and other interesting facts and stories about the Sun Devils.

MATCH HONORS
Along with the weekly journal, the coaching staff will select a wrestler of the match. This week, Cain Velasquez earned the honor as he won all three of his bouts by fall. Velasquez opened the road swing with a pin of Cal Poly's Arturo Basulto in 1:08 before pinning Eric Parker of CS Bakersfield in 4:16. His final victory was a fall over Matt Methling of CS Fullerton in 2:20. So far this season, the Sun Devil big man leads the team with 11 victories by fall.

BADER BUILDING
With a 23-3 record so far this season, Ryan Bader has improved his career record to 111-37, giving him the 12th-most in school history after passing current assistant coach Aaron Simpson and his 110 victories. Bader also is closing in on his two other coaches, needing seven more victories to tie head coach Thom Ortiz for eighth all-time and needing 12 total victories to tie for sixth place with assistant coach Eric Larkin.

CLOSING IN
Ryan Bader's career victory total is not the only number to watch. Bader, Jeremy Mendoza and Cain Velasquez also are in the hunt for placements on other record boards. Bader currently has 53 career dual wins, tying him with Aaron Simpson for the eighth-most in a career. Mendoza also is chasing the dual wins ledger as his 42 are good enough for 20th all-time. With three duals remaining this year, Mendoza and Bader, who both hold 16 wins in duals this year, are one victory away from tying for the No. 20 spot on the season duals wins list. The trio also is chasing the single-season wins leaders with 35 tying for 18th all-time. To date, Mendoza has 28, Velasquez 27 and Bader 23.

MILESTONES
Three weeks ago, the Sun Devils earned coach Thom Ortiz his 50th career victory by taking down No. 9 Missouri for seventh place at the National Duals. Two weeks ago, two individuals accomplished milestone victories as well. Brian Stith scored a 6-0 decision over No. 16 Tony Hook of Oregon State Friday night to record the 75th victory of his career. Two nights later, Ryan Bader secured the 50th dual victory of his stellar career when he defeated Shaun Dee of Oregon, 6-1. Last weekend, Cain Velasquez recorded the 75th victory of his career by pinning Arturo Basulto of Cal Poly in 1:08.

STRONG SENIORS
In their final campaigns for the Sun Devils, four seniors have fared quite well on the mats this season as the quartet has combined for a 87-14 overall record. Jeremy Mendoza leads the way with a 28-2 mark while Cain Velasquez stands 27-5. Ryan Bader is 23-3 with C.B. Dollaway, who just returned to the starting line up three weeks ago, is 9-4.

MINIMAL LOSSES
So far this season, four Sun Devils have won 20 or matches and absorbed no more than five losses. Those wrestlers are Jeremy Mendoza at 125 (28-2), Brian Stith at 157 (22-2), Ryan Bader at 197 (23-3) and Cain Velasquez at heavyweight (27-5).

SCOUTING: OKLAHOMA
The Sooners enter the dual ranked 10th with a 7-4-1 overall record and an 0-2 mark in the Big XII Conference following a close 19-16 loss to No. 7 Iowa State last weekend. Jack Spates' team features eight nationally ranked wrestlers, including five members of the Top 10 with two ranked second and two ranked fifth. Leading the way is three-time All-American and two-time NCAA Champion Teyon Ware at 141 who is 12-1 this season. OU's 10 probable starters are a combined 130-32 this year with seven wrestlers having lost two or less bouts. The Sooner's lone undefeated competitor is No. 2 Sam Hazewinkel at 125.

SUN DEVILS VS. SOONERS
Oklahoma holds a 20-14-1 lead in the all-time series and has won two in a row, including a slim 20-17 decision in Tempe last year. The last time the two teams met in Norman was during the 2003-04 season when the hosts scored a 22-18 victory over the Sun Devils.

RETURN MEETINGS
Looking back at the results of the ASU-OU dual from one year ago and comparing them to the probable starters for the 2006 edition of the meeting, three bouts could be rematches. Last year, No. 1 Sam Hazewinkel scored a 13-1 major decision over No. 9 Jeremy Mendoza at 125 to open the dual. With the Sun Devils trailing, 17-10, No. 14 Justin Dyer scored a 9-7 upset of No. 8 C.B. Dollaway in sudden victory to push the visitor's advantage to 20-10 with two bouts remaining. In the final bout of the night, No. 3 Cain Velasquez scored an 8-0 major decision over No. 12 Jake Hager to end the dual with the Sooners winning, 20-17.

PAC PLACEMENTS
Stanford, the host of the 2006 Pac-10 Championships, released updated rankings for the conference January 30 with seven Sun Devils holding positions in the Top 6 and the team staying put at No. 1. Jeremy Mendoza (125), Brian Stith (157), Ryan Bader (197) and Cain Velasquez (285) are each ranked No. 1 in their respective weight classes while Patrick Pitsch (165) and C.B. Dollaway (184) each sit second. Pat Payne (149) slipped from the top spot to No. 3 this week while Alex Pavlenko (174) fell out of the rankings this week.

CONFERENCE MEET NEARING
The 2006 Pac-10 Conference Wrestling Championships are less than one month away and are set for Sunday and Monday, February 26-27, in Palo Alto, Calif. Stanford will serve as the host of the yearly tournament that will be used to not only decide the individual and team champions of the conference, but also determine the conference's representatives for the 2006 NCAA Wrestling Championships in mid-March.

DEFENDING CHAMPS
Arizona State won the 2005 Pac-10 Wrestling Championships to not only capture its second crown in three years, but also the 15th in the history of the program. Brian Stith (157) upset Matt Gentry of Stanford, the defending Pac-10 and NCAA champion, to win his weight class and earn Outstanding Wrestler of the Championships. Cain Velasquez (heavyweight) also secured a title, the first of his career, before being named as the Pac-10 Wrestler of the Year. C.B. Dollaway (184) and Ryan Bader (197) each advanced to the finals of their respective weight classes before placing second. Thom Ortiz was selected Coach of the Year after leading the team to its 15th Pac-10 title.

TAKE 7
Arizona State, who entered the 2006 NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals unseeded and ranked No. 18 in the national polls, went 3-2 at the national event and finished seventh overall. The Sun Devils twice upset No. 9 Missouri, the tournament's eighth-seeded team, and also knocked off No. 13 Northwestern in the consolation rounds. ASU's losses came at the hands of top-ranked and top-seeded Oklahoma State and fifth-ranked and fourth-seeded Michigan.

RETURNING ALL-AMERICANS
Arizona State has three All-Americans returning to its lineup this season, including a pair of first-time honorees from a year ago. Last year, Brian Stith earned his first national accolade by placing sixth at 157 pounds while Cain Velasquez took fifth in the heavyweight division to earn his first honor. Ryan Bader is the Sun Devils' third All-American returning after earning the acclaim in his sophomore campaign of 2003-04.

RICHES WRESTLING COMPLEX
On Saturday, January 7, the Sun Devils dedicated their new training facility in a joint celebration with the gymnastic team. The Riches Wrestling Complex, the John Spini Women's Gymnastics Training Center and the Cavanagh/Dickey Olympic Sports Plaza were dedicated and showcased as fans and over 200 supporters toured two of the premier training centers in the nation while both teams showcased their teams by holding practices. The facilities are located off Sixth Street behind the Kajikawa Football Practice Fields and beyond the outfield wall at Farrington Softball Stadium.

WELLS FARGO ARENA
Wells Fargo Arena, which opened in 1974, is a 14,198-seat facility that plays host to Sun Devil wrestling and other ASU varsity teams, including men's and women's basketball, gymnastics and volleyball. In the time the wrestling program has called WFA home, the team has captured one national title, two runner-up finishes and 16 conference crowns, including 15 as members of the Pac-10. Individually, five Sun Devils earned national titles while 55 different athletes captured 103 conference crowns and 66 individuals combined to secure 94 All-America honors.

NEXT TIME OUT
The final weekend of dual action is set for next weekend as the Sun Devils play host to Fresno State and Stanford. On Friday, Feb. 10, ASU will take on the Bulldogs at 7:30 p.m. inside Raymond S. Kellis High School in Glendale and then close out the weekend with a 2 p.m. dual Sunday against the Cardinal.

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