Wrestling Set to Compete at Midlands Championships This Weekend

Dec. 28, 2001

TEMPE, Ariz. - Eighth-ranked Arizona State wrestling is one of 57 collegiate teams set to compete in the 2001 Midlands Championships hosted by Northwestern University at the Welsh-Ryan Arena in Evanston, Ill., Saturday, Dec. 29, through Sunday, Dec. 30.

Thirteen of the 57 teams are ranked in the most recent National Wrestling Coaches Association Team Poll, including No. 1 Minnesota, No. 5 Iowa, No. 6 Iowa State, No. 7 Ohio State, No. 8 ASU and No. 10 Pennsylvania. Eight club teams will also be competing at the Midlands Championships.

ASU has seven wrestlers seeded in pre-tournament rankings released Wednesday. Like his national ranking, junior All-American Eric Larkin is the top seed at 141 pounds, while senior All-American David Douglas is the No. 3 seed in the 133-pound division.

Also appearing among the top nine seeds in their respective weight classes are redshirt freshman Mike Simpson (eighth at 125 pounds), junior Rocky Smart (fifth at 157 pounds), sophomore Nick Frost (seventh at 165 pounds), senior Erik Gladish (sixth at 197 pounds) and junior Kellan Fluckiger (eighth at heavyweight).

The Sun Devils look to improve upon their 10th place finish at last year's Midlands Championships. ASU's 53 points tied Pac-10 foe Oregon for 10th. Minnesota won the team title with 144 points, followed by Iowa State (133) and the Hawkeye Wrestling Club (74). ASU's highest place-winner was Steve Blackford, taking third place at 165 pounds, while R.D. Pursell placed sixth at 184.

ASU is back in action after placing third at the Reno Tournament of Champions Dec. 20. Douglas, Larkin and Fluckiger each won titles, while Gladish was a runner-up.

The Sun Devils will next return home to host a dual with Boise State, Saturday, Jan. 5, at 7 p.m. at Wells Fargo Arena.

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