Stith to Wrestle for NCAA Title as Four Sun Devils earn All-America

March 17, 2006

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. - The Arizona State University wrestling team continued its success at the 2006 NCAA Wrestling Championships Friday night in Oklahoma City, Okla., as the Sun Devils pushed their All-America honors to four earned while Brian Stith advanced to the finals of his weight class. As a team, the Sun Devils have scored 56 points and sit fifth overall while Oklahoma State appears headed to its 34th national crown with 106 points, followed by Minnesota (72.5), Oklahoma (64.5) and Iowa (61.5).

Stith, seeded 10th at 157 pounds, continued his strong tournament showing as he scored a 5-3 decision over 11th-seeded Derek Zinck of Lehigh in the semifinals. Stith's victory, coupled with No. 5 Ben Cherrington's win, sets up an all Pac-10 final as the two will meet in a rematch of the championship bout at the conference tournament three weeks ago. In that bout, Cherrington won with a pin in the third period.

Stith is the first Sun Devil to reach the finals of the national tournament since 2003 when current assistant coach Eric Larkin won the 149 crown. Stith also is the highest-seeded wrestler in any of the 10 championship bouts with the next closest being two competitors seeded sixth in their respective weights. A 10-seed has won a national title before as No. 10 Jake Rosholt of Oklahoma State won the 2003 title at 184 with a 13-5 major decision over No. 4 Scott Barker of Missouri.

ASU had one other semifinalist in fourth-seeded Cain Velasquez at heavyweight, who earned a return bout with top-seeded Cole Konrad of Minnesota. In a very hard-fought battle, neither man could score as both earned escapes in regulation to send the bout to overtime tied at one. After no scoring in the one minute session, Konrad chose down and escaped, followed by Velasquez doing the same. Again, no scoring came about in the second overtime with Konrad again going down and escaping before Velasquez followed suit. The only problem for Velasquez was he needed more time to escape than Konrad did, giving the Golden Gopher the decision on criteria, 2-2 with riding time. Velasquez now will face fifth-seeded Bode Ogunwole of Harvard in the consolation semifinals with the winner wrestling for third place and the loser going for fifth.

Following their first losses of the tournament, 10th-seeded C.B. Dollaway (184) and eighth-seeded Ryan Bader (197) needed just one win to become All-Americans and that is what they did. Dollaway took on Paul Bradley of Iowa in the elimination bout and scored a close 2-1 decision to earn the national accolade. From there, Dollaway then defeated third-seeded Ben Wissel of Purdue, 7-4, to advance to the consolation semifinals where he will meet top-seeded Josh Glenn of American.

Bader also picked up the all-important victory in the final elimination round bout as he defeated Nathan Moore of Purdue, 6-4, to earn his second All-America honor. After the victory, Bader then fell to fifth-seeded Joel Flaggert of Oklahoma, 9-4, and will now face top-seeded Wynn Michalak of Central Michigan Saturday morning for seventh place.

The final Sun Devil to compete in the session was 10th-seeded Patrick Pitsch (165). Unfortunately for the sophomore, he fell in an 8-5 decision to Deonte Penn of Edinboro and ended his tournament one victory shy of attaining All-America honors.

The Sun Devils earned four All-America honors in the tournament, matching the 1997 squad for the most in recent years and tying for the fifth-most in a single season in program history.

Dollaway, Bader and Velasquez will compete in the consolation bouts Saturday morning with Stith set to compete in the finals in the evening session that will be aired live by ESPN starting at 5:30 p.m. MST.

2006 NCAA Wrestling Championships
Arizona State Results ONLY
Session IV
157 - #10 Brian Stith (4-0) • All-American & NCAA Finalist
Champ Semifinal
- #10 Stith dec. #11 Derek Zinck (Lehigh), 5-3
NCAA Title Bout - #10 Stith vs. #5 Ben Cherrington (Boise State)

165 - #10 Patrick Pitsch (3-2, Did Not Place)
Conso Fourth
- Deonte Penn (Edinboro) dec. #10 Pitsch, 8-5

184 - #10 C.B. Dollaway (4-1) • All-American
Conso Fourth
- #10 Dollaway dec. Paul Bradley (Iowa), 2-1
Conso Quarter - #10 Dollaway dec. #3 Ben Wissel (Purdue), 7-4
Conso Semifinal - #10 Dollaway vs. #1 Josh Glenn (American)

197 - #8 Ryan Bader (3-2) • All-American
Conso Fourth
- #8 Bader dec. Nathan Moore (Purdue), 6-4
Conso Quarter - #5 Joel Flaggert (Oklahoma) dec. #8 Bader, 9-4
Seventh Place - #8 Bader vs. #1 Wynn Michalak (Central Michigan)

285 - #4 Cain Velasquez (3-1) • All-American
Champ Semifinal
- #1 Cole Konrad (Minnesota) dec. #4 Velasquez, 2-2 tb2 rt
Conso Semifinal - #4 Velasquez vs. #5 Bode Ogunwole (Harvard)

Team Standings (Following Session III)
1. Oklahoma State (106.0)
2. Minnesota (72.5)
3. Oklahoma (64.5)
4. Iowa (61.5)
5. Arizona State (56.0)

2006 NCAA Wrestling Championships
Arizona State Results ONLY
ALL BOUTS WRESTLED
125 - #7 Jeremy Mendoza (1-2, Did Not Place)
Champ First
- #7 Mendoza dec. Justin Staylor (Virginia Tech), 5-0
Champ Second - #10 Paul Donahoe (Nebraska) dec. #7 Mendoza, 4-2
Conso Third - #4 Kyle Ott (Illinois) dec. #7 Mendoza, 6-4 ot

157 - #10 Brian Stith (4-0) • All-American & NCAA Finalist
Champ First
- #10 Stith dec. Jacob Yost (UT-Chattanooga), 7-1
Champ Second - #10 Stith dec. Tony Hook (Oregon State), 2-1 tb
Champ Quarter - #10 Stith majors Andrew Flanagan (Harvard), 8-0
Champ Semifinal - #10 Stith dec. #11 Derek Zinck (Lehigh), 5-3
NCAA Title Bout - #10 Stith vs. #5 Ben Cherrington (Boise State)

165 - #10 Patrick Pitsch (3-2, Did Not Place)
Champ First
- Daniel Thompson (The Citadel) dec. #10 Pitsch, 10-4
Conso First - #10 Pitsch dec. Jason Cardillo (Slippery Rock), 8-7
Conso Second - #10 Pitsch def. #4 Nick Baima (Northern Iowa), injury at 5:00
Conso Third - #10 Pitsch dec. Larry Hall (West Virginia), 7-2
Conso Fourth - Deonte Penn (Edinboro) dec. #10 Pitsch, 8-5

184 - #10 C.B. Dollaway (4-1) • All-American
Champ First
- #10 Dollaway majors Rusty Blackmon (Oklahoma State), 14-3
Champ Second - #10 Dollaway dec. #7 Kurt Backes (Iowa State), 8-6
Champ Quarter - #2 Roger Kish (Minnesota) dec. #10 Dollaway, 7-4
Conso Fourth - #10 Dollaway dec. Paul Bradley (Iowa), 2-1
Conso Quarter - #10 Dollaway dec. #3 Ben Wissel (Purdue), 7-4
Conso Semifinal - #10 Dollaway vs. #1 Josh Glenn (American)

197 - #8 Ryan Bader (3-2) • All-American
Champ First
- #8 Bader pinned Brenden McLean (Air Force), 2:18
Champ Second - #8 Bader dec. #9 Tyrone Byrd (Illinois), 6-0
Champ Quarter - Chris Weidman (Hofstra) dec. #8 Bader, 10-7
Conso Fourth - #8 Bader dec. Nathan Moore (Purdue), 6-4
Conso Quarter - #5 Joel Flaggert (Oklahoma) dec. #8 Bader, 9-4
Seventh Place - #8 Bader vs. #1 Wynn Michalak (Central Michigan)

285 - #4 Cain Velasquez (3-1) • All-American
Champ First
- #4 Velasquez pinned Joel Edwards (Penn State), 1:06
Champ Second - #4 Velasquez pinned Paul Weibel (Lehigh), 1:08
Champ Quarter - #4 Velasquez majors Kirk Nail (Ohio State), 9-1
Champ Semifinal - #1 Cole Konrad (Minnesota) dec. #4 Velasquez, 2-2 tb2 rt
Conso Semifinal - #4 Velasquez vs. #5 Bode Ogunwole (Harvard)

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