Arizona State Hosts 2016 Pac-12 Wrestling Championships
The 54th-annual Pac-12 Wrestling Championships will be held on Saturday, February 27 at Wells Fargo Arena, hosted by Arizona State University. All six teams bring a wealth of tough competition to the table, with two teams ranked in the top 25 nationally and at least one Pac-12 wrestler ranked in the top 20 for all but two weight classes. The 22nd-ranked Beavers look to win their fifth-straight league championship, heading into the competition with two nationally ranked wrestlers. STANFORD returns two Pac-12 Champions from a year ago in search of a Conference title, while No. 24 ARIZONA STATE looks to use it’s home advantage to capture its first league title since 2006. BOISE STATE returns a 2015 Pac-12 Champion and the reigning Pac-12 Freshman/Newcomer of the Year, while CAL POLY is led by two juniors, and CSU BAKERSFIELD brings two wrestlers ranked in the top 10 nationally to Tempe. The championship rounds, which begin at 6 p.m. PT, will be televised live on Pac-12 Networks.
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
Session I of Pac-12 Wrestling Championships
Quarterfinals, Semifinals, and Quarterfinals Consolations
10:30 a.m. Doors Open
10:30 a.m. Session Begins
2 p.m. Break - Arena cleared
Session II of Pac-12 Wrestling Championships
Semifinals, Consolations and Finals
3:30 p.m. Doors Reopen
3:30 p.m. Session II Begins: semifinals and consolations
5 p.m. Finals Begin
(individual awards given after each event)
8:10 p.m. Estimated start of team awards presentation
Tickets for the 2016 Pac-12 Wrestling Championships are available through the Arizona State Ticket Office. Orders can be placed online here.
The finals will be televised live on Pac-12 Networks with the broadcast beginning at 5 p.m. PT. Live results will be available after each match on the 2016 Pac-12 Wrestling Championships website: pac-12.com/wrestlingchamps
With the home mat advantage, the Sun Devils look to win their first Conference title since 2006. Arizona State’s squad is anchored by Blake Stauffer, an All-American and the 2015 Pac-12 Champion at 184 pounds. He finished the dual meet slate with a 17-0 record. Five Sun Devils have recorded 20 or more overall wins this season: Robbie Mathers (141, 20-10), Matt Kraus (149, 26-5), Oliver Pierce (157, 20-15), Stauffer (184, 21-3) and Tanner Hall (HWT, 21-9).
The Broncos are led by 149-pounder Geordan Martinez, the 2015 Pac-12 Champion at 141 pounds and the reigning Pac-12 Freshman/Newcomer of the Year. Martinez is currently ranked 15th nationally, having gone 26-5 on the season and winning 15-straight matches entering the championships. The Broncos used seven different line-ups in their first 11 duals of the season (entering the match against Oregon State), only Jake Velarde (141), Geordan Martinez (149), Chris Castillo (157), Taylor West (165) and Austin Dewey (174) appeared in each match.
Cal Poly is seeking its first Pac-12 champion in three years. The Mustangs had at least one champion every year from 2001-13. J.T. Goodwin (197 pounds) earned the most wins on the team with 17. He won his first eight matches of the season, his last four duals, and finishes regular season with a 17-9 record with six falls. Travis Berridge (174 pounds) moved up a weight class three weeks ago and is 4-0 in dual meets, 8-4 for the season.
CSUB finished the regular season with an 11-4 dual record, 4-1 in Pac-12 action. The 11 wins for the Roadrunners are the most by the program since the 2004-05 season. Reuben Franklin will enter the Pac-12 Championship with a 29-5 record. He has won 22 of his 29 matches by MD, tech, and pinfall. Bryce Hammond looks to regain the 174-pound Pac-12 title after sitting out last season due to a shoulder injury. He won the 174-pound title as a redshirt freshman and as a redshirt sophomore.
Oregon State is the four-time defending Pac-12 Champion and Jim Zalesky was named Pac-12 Coach of the Year the past four years, and five times overall. Amarveer Dhesi, currently ranked No. 10 in the country, placed 2nd at the Canadian Olympic Trials at heavyweight. Ronnie Bresser, ranked No. 7 at 125 pounds, placed second at the Ken Kraft Midlands tournament. The Beavers have defeated five ranked opponents on the year.
The Cardinal return two Pac-12 champions from last year in Nathan Butler (heavyweight) and Jim Wilson (165 pounds). Wilson 90 wins are the most by any of the current Cardinal. He is a two-time NCAA qualifier, 2015 All-American and two-time Pac-12 champion. He was also the Pac-12 Newcomer of the Year in 2014. Joey McKenna (141 pounds) enters the conference championships as the Cardinal’s highest ranked wrestler, coming in at No. 2 nationally. He is 19-2 on the year and 11-1 in duals.
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