No. 15 Wrestling Hosts Pennsylvania Friday, Travels to No. 4 Iowa State Sunday
Feb. 6, 2001
This Week: The 15th-ranked Arizona State wrestling team brings a four-match win streak into this weekend's home and away lineup of competition. Friday, Feb. 9, the Sun Devils host Pennsylvania at 7 p.m. in Wells Fargo Arena, before traveling to face fourth-ranked Iowa State Sunday, Feb. 11, at 6:30 p.m. MST. Please note the time of the match at Iowa State - it is a change from what was on the original schedule.With just three duals left on the regular season slate, ASU has a 9-3 overall record and a perfect 4-0 Pac-10 mark. Last weekend, the Sun Devils continued their winning ways, with a dramatic 22-19 win over No. 17 Oregon in Eugene before coming home to dominate Cal State Bakersfield 34-9.
Probable Sun Devil Lineup: Overall Dual
125: Chris Knox, RS-Fr. 1-12 0-8
133: #11/#11 David Douglas, Jr. 18-5 10-1
141: #3/#3 Eric Larkin, So. 16-1 10-1
149: Dana Holland, Jr. 17-9 7-5
157: #13/#10 Rocky Smart, So. 20-7 10-2
165: #4/#5 Steve Blackford, Sr. 24-3 11-1
174: #20/nr Curtis Owen, Jr. 17-11 9-3
184: #13/#20 R.D. Pursell, Sr. 20-10 9-3
197: Andy Swanson, RS-Fr. or 7-13 2-6
Mike Marshall, Sr. 7-3 1-2
HWT: #11/#13 Kellan Fluckiger, So. 18-7 8-3
Scouting Pennsylvania:Coached by Roger Reina in his 15th season at the helm, Penn brings a 4-5 overall record and 3-1 Ivy League mark when it arrives in Tempe. Most recently Penn posted back-to-back wins in a tri-meet vs. Brown and George Mason. The Quakers dominated both opponents, defeating Brown 47-3 and George Mason 36-7. Penn recorded eight falls and two technical falls in two duals. The Quakers are led by junior Yoshi Nakamura, ranked third in the nation at 157 pounds, and junior Joe Henson, ranked 20th at 149 pounds.
Series vs. Penn:ASU and Penn will meet for only the second time Friday. Last season, the Sun Devils defeated the Quakers 22-16 in Philadelphia.
Scouting Iowa State:The Sun Devils will no doubt have their hands full when they travel to Ames, Iowa to face fourth-ranked Iowa State. The Cyclones have a record of 15-4 and will travel to face Missouri Friday, Feb. 9 prior to ASU's arrival Sunday. Their four losses have come at the hands of either Oklahoma State or Iowa, both of which have been in the top-three all year. Nine of ISU's 10 starters are ranked nationally, led by No. 1 Cael Sanderson at 184, No. 2 Zach Thompson at 197 and No. 2 Joe Heskett, a junior at 165 pounds. Sanderson, a two-time NCAA Champion, boasts an amazing 108-0 career record with 29 of those wins coming this season.
Series vs. ISU:The Cyclones lead the all-time series with the Sun Devils 14-5 and have won seven of the last eight meetings dating back to 1991. ISU has won the last three matches by at least 16 points apiece including last year's 31-9 contest at Wells Fargo Arena.
Bobby Douglas Meets Former Team:Bobby Douglas is in his ninth year as the head coach at Iowa State, but prior to moving to Ames, Douglas was the head coach at Arizona State from 1975-1992 where he compiled a record of 226-76-6 and stands as ASU's all-time winningest coach. He has been inducted to the National Wrestling Hall of Fame (1987), the NAIA Wrestling Hall of Fame (1985), the Ohio Hall of Fame, and the Arizona State Hall of Fame (1999).
Sun Devils in the National Polls:After a dip in the polls after their performance at the National Duals, the Sun Devils have climbed from No. 17 to No. 15 in the latest NWCA poll released Jan. 31. Seven Sun Devils are also included in the latest individual rankings released by InterMat and Amateur Wrestling News: Eric Larkin at 141 pounds (No. 3 by both), Steve Blackford at 165 pounds (No. 4 AWM, No. 5 IM), Rocky Smart at 157 pounds (No. 13 AWM, No. 10 IM) , David Douglas at 133 pounds (No. 11 by both), Kellan Fluckiger at HWT (No. 11 AWM, No. 13 IM), R.D. Pursell at 184 pounds (No. 12 AWM, No. 20 IM) and Curtis Owen at 174 pounds (No. 20 AWM).
Last Time Out:ASU increased its win-streak and unbeaten Pac-10 dual record with victories at No. 17 Oregon and vs. Cal State Bakersfield by scores of 22-19 and 34-9. The Sun Devils trailed Oregon by as much as 16-4 before staging a rally to cut that lead to 19-16 with one bout remaining. Fortunately for ASU, senior All-American Steve Blackford came through in the clutch, not only winning the match for ASU but pinning Oregon's Leif Williams in 3:33. ASU returned to the Valley of the Sun to host Cal State Bakersfield, winning eight of 10 matches, five of those coming via bonus points. Turning in pins for ASU were juniors David Douglas and Dana Holland in two of the first three matches.
Blackford Closing in on the Record Books:Senior Steve Blackford, the 2000 Pac-10 Wrestler of the Year and two-time All-American, continues his climb in the ASU record books as the 2001 season unfolds. Blackford has a team-high 24 wins this season, giving him 127 career victories and tying for fourth place with Dan Severn (1977-81) on the all-time win list (20 shy of the school record). Last season, Blackford tied for second on the single-season victory list with 43 wins (Eddie Urbano, `84-85), just two away from the school record. Dan St. John (1986-90) holds both the ASU single-season victory record (45) and career victory record (147). Blackford is third on the career dual victories list (60) and is fifth on the career falls list (30).
ASU's Douglas on a Roll: Junior David Douglas has been on a tear, as his rise in the national rankings at 133 pounds should indicate. In the last four matches, Douglas has won two by fall and upset ninth-ranked Brian Watson (Oregon) in a third. For good measure, he has won five straight matches, eight of his last nine, and posted a 10-1 dual record.
Streaking Sun Devils: Speaking of streaks, David Douglas isn't the only ASU wrestler that has been hot on the mat in recent weeks. Sophomore Eric Larkin has won seven straight at 141 pounds since suffering his only loss of the season Jan. 12. Steve Blackford has won three straight, two by fall, and 12 of the last 13. Junior Curtis Owen has won five straight matches at 174, the last three by major decision. Redshirt-freshman Chris Knox has met with a different kind of streak, having lost nine straight at 125 pounds. But it has been Knox who has met the toughest competition, facing opponents ranked at least 13th in five of the last seven contests.
New Faces in the Line-up: Last weekend saw some new Sun Devil faces in the starting lineup vs. Oregon and Cal State Bakersfield. Senior Mike Marshall (197) wrestled his first two matches since Nov. 24 after being out with a broken foot. Sophomore Hector Torres made his season debut at heavyweight in Oregon, but sophomore starter Kellan Fluckiger was back in action vs. Cal State Bakersfield.
Bonus Points: Three Sun Devils have at least 20 wins under their belts: Steve Blackford (24-3), senior R.D. Pursell (20-10) and sophomore Rocky Smart (20-7)...Four Sun Devils have at least 10 dual wins: Blackford (11-1), Douglas (10-1), Larkin (10-1), and Smart (10-1)...Blackford leads the team in pins with seven...Juniors Dana Holland and Curtis Owen share the team lead in technical falls with Blackford with three...Owen leads the team with nine major decision victories while Larkin has eight.
Pac-10 Championships Feb. 25-26: The Pac-10 Championships are just around the corner, hosted by the University of Oregon in Eugene at historic McArthur Court Sunday, Feb. 25 through Monday, Feb. 26. The first session of the tournament will be held Feb. 25 from 11 a.m. through 4 p.m., followed by semifinals and first round consolations from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Feb. 26, consolation semis and finals will be held from 11 a.m. through 3 p.m., with the Parade of Champions at 6 p.m. and the championship finals at 6:30 p.m. Please note that all times are Pacific Standard Time.
Head Coach Lee Roy Smith: In his ninth year at Arizona State, Lee Roy Smith has continued the unprecedented sucess of one of the nation's premier collegiate wrestling programs. In eight seasons, Smith has guided the Sun Devils to eight NCAA Championship appearances, four top-10 national finishes and four Pac-10 titles. Smith's ASU teams have finished as high as fourth in the nation in 1993 and 1995, and he has mentored 26 All-Americans and two national champions (for a total of three NCAA titles). Smith owns a career slate of 90-56-1 (.612) and is assisted by Tony Quinones, Aaron Simpson and his younger brother Mark Smith.
Up Next: Just one dual remains on the schedule, as ASU will host national powerhouse and second-ranked Oklahoma State Friday, Feb. 16 at 7 p.m. in Wells Fargo Arena. Sun Devil seniors Jeff Alexander, Steve Blackford, Dan Hyman, Mike Marshall and R.D. Pursell will be honored prior to the last home meet of their collegiate careers.