ASU Wrestlers Honored at Season-End Banquet
April 5, 2001
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Several Sun Devils were honored at the 2000-01 Arizona State Wrestling Awards Banquet held Wednesday night at the Karsten Golf Course Clubhouse.
Senior Steve Blackford was recognized as ASU's 'Most Outstanding Wrestler' having culminated his final season as a Sun Devil with his fourth-straight NCAA championship appearance and third-straight All-America honors. Blackford, who led the team with eight pins this season, won his second-straight Pac-10 title and placed fifth at the NCAA Championships. A native of Des Moines, Iowa, Blackford became just the eighth Sun Devil to become a three-time All-American and finished his career second on the all-time dual victories list with an overall record of 138-30. Blackford also wrapped up his collegiate career with 31 pins, fifth on ASU's all-time list.
Junior David Douglas and sophomore Eric Larkin were recognized as ASU's 'Most Inspirational Wrestlers.' Douglas, a native of Harvey, Ill., won his first Pac-10 title and earned his first All-America honors with a seventh-place finish at the NCAA Championships, finishing with an overall dual record of 26-10. Those accolades were earned after head coach Lee Roy Smith asked Douglas in the beginning of the season to move down to 133 pounds from 141 to make room for a returning Eric Larkin and fill a significant hole in the lineup.
Larkin battled back from surgery on both knees this season, to win his second Pac-10 title en route to a third place finish at nationals and his second All-America honors. The Tucson, Ariz. native compiled an overall record of 28-2 this season, despite missing almost 30 days of mat training. Larkin's first surgery was in early December, while the second came just the day after he won the conference title at 141 pounds with just two weeks to recover for nationals.
Sophomore Kellan Fluckiger was recognized as ASU's 'Most Improved Wrestler' for the 2000-01 season. Fluckiger, a heavyweight from Preston, Idaho, won his first Pac-10 title and qualified for his second-straight NCAA championships. He finished his sophomore campaign with an overall record of 23-10, a substantial improvement from 11 victories during his freshman year.
Head Coach Lee Roy Smith recognized a total of 14 Sun Devils who were honored as Maroon & Gold Scholar-Athletes for maintaining a 3.0 semester or cumulative GPA. Redshirt-freshman Nick Frost was honored for having the highest GPA on the team (4.0), while Scott Hollingsworth was honored as the freshman with the highest GPA.
Stepping down after nine years at the helm of the ASU wrestling program, Lee Roy Smith was also recognized for his outstanding accomplishments throughout his career as Sun Devil head coach. Smith led the Sun Devils to nine NCAA appearances, five top-10 national finishes and five Pac-10 titles. He has mentored 27 All-Americans at ASU, including two national champions for a total of three NCAA individual titles. Smith ends his career with an overall dual record of 91-58-1 (.607).