Larkin Advances To Tomorrow's NCAA Finals
March 22, 2002
ALBANY, N.Y. - Junior Eric Larkin took one step closer to capturing ASU's first individual wrestling title since 1995, winning his quarterfinal and semifinal matches today to advance to the NCAA finals tomorrow as Arizona State completed day two of the 2002 NCAA Wrestling Championships at the Pepsi Arena in Albany, N.Y.
ASU is in 11th place in the team race with 39.5 points and has two wrestlers still competing in tomorrow's final day. In addition to Larkin (141), senior David Douglas is assured All-America honors and could wrestle for third place tomorrow at 133 pounds. Douglas lost in the quarterfinals Friday, but bounced back with two wins in the consolation round today.
ASU's four other qualified wrestlers junior Rocky Smart (157), sophomore Nick Frost (165), senior Erik Gladish (197) and Kellan Fluckiger (HWT) were eliminated today. Smart and Fluckiger finished one win short of All-America honors.
Larkin earned his trip to the finals with a 13-2 major decision over Missouri's J.P. Reese in the quarterfinals and a 10-4 win over Oklahoma's Nate Parker in the semifinals. Larkin, the No. 2 seed at 141 pounds, will face the fifth-seed Aaron Holker from Iowa State. Larkin is 1-2 against Holker this season and looks to even the score in the finals tomorrow. The last time ASU had a wrestler in the NCAA finals was in 1996 (Steve St. John at 134 pounds).
'He's wrestling up to his potential and is doing really well,' ASU head coach Thom Ortiz said. 'He's wrestling in championship form and we think he definitely has a chance to win tomorrow. His goal is to redeem himself against Holker, being 1-2 against him.'
Douglas, the fifth seed at 133 pounds, will face Oklahoma's Witt Durden, the No. 3 seed. Douglas defeated Durden 7-4 in ASU's dual with Oklahoma Feb. 21. With a win against Durden, Douglas will compete for third place. A loss would cause him to wrestle for fifth place.
'David had a hard fought loss in the quarterfinals but he's wrestling really well,' Ortiz said. 'His goal is to finish third and he's looking to leave on a winning note.'
Defending champion Minnesota leads the team race with 112 points, followed by Oklahoma (95), Iowa State (88), Iowa (83.5) and Oklahoma State (66.5)
The NCAA Championships wrap up tomorrow with the fifth session at 6 a.m. MT, while the finals, featuring Larkin the 141-pound bout, begin at 12 p.m. Saturday. The finals will be broadcast on ESPN2 Saturday, March 23 at 5:30 p.m. MT.
2002 NCAA Wrestling Championships
Pepsi Arena, Albany, NY., March 21-23, 2002
Arizona State Results - SESSION III and IV RESULTS
133: (4) Kevin Black (Wisconsin) dec. (5) David Douglas (ASU), 10-5
141: (2) Eric Larkin (ASU) major dec. J.P. Reese (Missouri), 13-2
HWT: (2) Steve Mocco (Iowa) dec. (10) Kellan Fluckiger (ASU), 5-1
141: (2) Eric Larkin (ASU) dec. Nate Parker (Oklahoma), 10-4
CONSOLATION BRACKET - SECOND ROUND
157: Rocky Smart (ASU) dec. Jeremy Reitz (Clarion), 9-2
165: Nick Frost (ASU) major dec. Nate Lawrenz (Northern Iowa), 13-2
197: Chris Jones (Drexel) dec. (9) Erik Gladish (ASU), 5-4
CONSOLATION BRACKET - FOURTH ROUND
133: (5) David Douglas (ASU) dec. Urijah Faber (UC Davis), 4-1
157: (5) Scott Owen (Northern Illinois) dec. Rocky Smart (ASU), 3-1 SV
HWT: Dawid Rechul (Harvard) dec. (10) Kellan Fluckiger (ASU), 6-2
CONSOLATION BRACKET - FIFTH ROUND
133: (5) David Douglas (ASU) dec. (9) Zach Roberson (Iowa State), 8-3