ASU Drops to 16th After Third Session of NCAA Wrestling Championships

March 16, 2001

IOWA CITY, Iowa - After all eight Arizona State qualifiers advanced to the second day of competition, only three remain alive following the third session of the NCAA Wrestling Championships in front of a standing room only crowd of 12, 960 at the Carver-Hawkeye Arena Friday morning. Through the completion of the heavyweight quarterfinals, ASU is in 16th-place with 19.5 points.

Senior Steve Blackford bounced back from his first first-round loss in four NCAA Championship appearances yesterday, to win three straight matches, including two in the third session of competition Friday morning. Blackford, the only Sun Devil to post a win in the third session, advances through the consolation bracket at 165 with a 12-0 major decision over Dave Guarino of Buffalo and an 11-6 decision over Nick Nemeth of Kent State. With 135 career wins, Blackford moves up to third on ASU's all-time list, one victory short of second place. He will face No. 7 seed Chris Martin of Virginia Tech in his next match tonight.

Junior David Douglas and sophomore Eric Larkin, ASU's lone wrestlers remaining in the championship brackets entering the tournament today, failed to advance past their quarterfinal matches during the morning session. The two Sun Devils suffered their first losses of the tournament and drop to the consolation bracket, but are still in the hunt for All-America honors.

Douglas, the No. 11 seed at 133 pounds, lost a tough 2-0 decision to No. 3 seed Todd Beckerman of Nebraska. Beckerman's takedown with approximately 30 seconds left in the second period made the difference. Douglas will face Dylan Long of Northern Iowa in his next match tonight.

The No. 3 seed at 141 pounds, Larkin was upset by 11th-seed Grant Hoerr of Wisconsin 3-2, whose riding time in the third period proved to be the tiebreaker. Hoerr scored a takedown in the first period, while Larkin evened the score with a takedown of his own in the second period. The two wrestled to a scoreless third frame, but Hoerr's advantage time sent Larkin to the consolation bracket. He will face Mike Castillo of Michigan State in his next match tonight.

Eliminated this morning with third-round consolation losses were junior Dana Holland at 149 pounds, sophomore Rocky Smart, the No. 10 seed at 157, junior Curtis Owen at 174 pounds, R.D. Pursell at 184 and sophomore Kellan Fluckiger, the No. 10 seed at heavyweight.

Holland was pinned by sixth-seed Eric Schmiesing of Hofstra in 6:25, while Smart suffered a 4-1 upset loss to un-seeded Josh Jansen of Ohio State. Owen fell victim to a 5-3 decision by 12th-seed Ati Connor of Nebraska. Tied up at 1-1 with 14 seconds left in the third period, Boise State's Cash Edwards, the No. 9 seed, scored a takedown on Pursell, and went on to earn the 3-2 decision. And after falling behind 4-1 in the second period, Fluckiger was upset by un-seeded James Huml of Oklahoma State, 5-3.

The tournament continues Friday evening with championship semifinals and fourth-round consolations scheduled to begin at 4:30 MST. Tonight's fourth session of competition will determine the eight All-Americans per weight class. Saturday morning at 7 a.m. MST, the third, fifth and seventh place matches will be contested, while the championship matches will follow at 12 p.m. MST.

Arizona State NCAA Wrestling Championship ResultsCarver-Hawkeye Arena, University of Iowa

Session III - Championship Quarterfinals - Friday, March 16
133: #3 Todd Beckerman (Nebraska) dec. #11 David Douglas (ASU), 2-0
141: #11 Grant Hoerr, (Wisconsin) dec. #3 Eric Larkin (ASU), 3-2

Session III - Consolation Second Rounds - Friday March 16
149: #6 Eric Schmiesing (Hofstra) pinned Dana Holland (ASU), 6:25
157: Josh Jansen (Ohio State) dec. #10 Rocky Smart (ASU), 4-1
165: #3 Steve Blackford (ASU) major decision Dave Guarino (Buffalo), 12-0
174: #12 Ati Connor (Nebraska) dec. Curtis Owen (ASU), 5-3
184: #9 Cash Edwards (Boise State) dec. R.D. Pursell (ASU), 3-2
HWT: James Huml (Oklahoma State) dec. #10 Kellan Fluckiger (ASU), 5-3

Session III - Consolation Third Rounds - Friday, March 16
165: #3 Steve Blackford (ASU) dec. Nick Nemeth (Kent State), 11-6

Session II - Championship Second Rounds - Thursday, March 15
133: #11 David Douglas (ASU) major dec. #6 Rob Loper (Pittsburgh), 9-1
141: #3 Eric Larkin (ASU) dec. Ralph Lopez (Fresno State), 10-4
157: #7 Cole Sanderson (Iowa State) dec. #10 Rocky Smart (ASU), 6-4 (ot)
HWT: #7 Billy Blunt (Fresno State) dec. #10 Kellan Fluckiger (ASU), 4-3

Session II - Consolation First Rounds - Thursday, March 15
149: Dana Holland (ASU) pinned Scott Frohardt (Air Force), 2:07
165: #3 Steve Blackford (ASU) major decision Jed Pennell (Oregon State), 12-2
174: Curtis Owen (ASU) dec. Eric Brown (Northern Iowa), 15-9
184: R.D. Pursell (ASU) major dec. John Garriques (Seton Hall), 13-3

Session I - First Round - Thursday, March 15
133 Pounds: #11 David Douglas (ASU) pinned Travis Drake (Applachian State), 6:30
141 Pounds: #3 Eric Larkin (ASU) major dec. Mark Rial (Northern), 14-5
149 Pounds: #1 Reggie Wright (Oklahoma State) dec. Dana Holland (ASU), 9-1
157 Pounds: #10 Rocky Smart (ASU) dec. Pat Owen (Michigan), 6-2
165 Pounds: Chris Vitale (Lehigh) dec. #3 Steve Blackford (ASU), 12-9
174 Pounds: #2 Otto Olson (Michigan) pinned Curtis Owen (ASU), 2:38
184 Pounds: #3 Daniel Cormier (Oklahoma State) pinned R.D. Pursell (ASU), 2:50
HWT: #10 Kellan Fluckiger (ASU) bye

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