Beavers Wrap Up Wrestling Recruiting

Sept. 16, 2002

CORVALLIS, Ore. - Oregon State completed its wrestling recruiting class on Monday, announcing the signings of three wrestlers who combined for seven state high school championships. Joining the Beavers this fall will be sophomore transfer 165/174-pounder Matt Ellis (Prosser, Wash./Prosser HS, Oklahoma State U.), freshman 157/165-pounder Jeremy Larson (Hermiston, Ore./Hermiston HS) and freshman 125-pounder Eric Stevenson (Newberg, Ore./Newberg HS).

'The recruits we'd already had would have been an outstanding class, and the addition of these three makes it an even higher-quality group,' OSU head coach Joe Wells said. 'The young men we'll have joining us when we start practice later this week are all capable of becoming outstanding wrestlers at this level. Their presence is going to do even more to increase the level of competition within our wrestling room, and that daily competition is what turns you into a better wrestler when you step on the mat on the weekend.'

Ellis, Larson and Stevenson join a recruiting class that already included 157-pounder Tony Hook (Sandpoint, Idaho/Sandpoint HS), 133-pounder Bryan Medelez, (Hermiston, Ore./Hermiston HS), 125-pounder Bobby Pfennings (Great Falls, Mont./C.M. Russell HS), heavyweight Jamie Rakevich (Elma, Wash./Elma HS) and heavyweight Ty Watterson (Enumclaw, Wash./Enumclaw HS).

Ellis spent a redshirt season and his freshman season at Oklahoma State; he'll have three years to complete his three remaining seasons of eligibility. He was 10-8 last season at 157 pounds, and during his redshirt season he was 9-3 in open competition.

Ellis earned high school All-America honors at Prosser, placing third in the high school national meet. He had a 136-11 career record, winning the state title at 171 pounds as a senior and 168 pounds as a junior after being the 168-pounder runner-up as a sophomore. He was also a three-time league champion and a state Freestyle champion.

'He's a great technician,' Wells said of Ellis. 'He's highly-motivated and excited about being close to home again. He's a great addition to strengthen the competitive ranks in the middle weights for us.'

Ellis will major in Liberal Studies and is considering a teaching career.

'Oregon State was closer to home,' Ellis said. 'And I was looking for a place I could wrestle at 165, and it was a better situation for me.'

Larson won the state title at 160 pounds last season, going 43-0 with 30 pins; as a junior, he won the state title at 152 pounds as Hermiston won the team state championship. Larson won a pair of league titles and placed sixth in the state at 135 pounds as a freshman en route to a 120-21 career record. He took seventh place in the high school nationals after his senior season.

'He's got a great work ethic,' Wells said of Larson. 'He's from a solid program and he's been a big factor in Hermiston's success the last few years. He's a leader and a great student; he'll come in and contend for a starting position right away.'

Larson is considering studying Fish and Wildlife at OSU.

'It had what I was looking for in wrestling and in school,' Larson said. 'And the other guys I know there will be a good support group.'

Larson will join former Hermiston wrestlers Medelez, Jed Lowe and Orlando Perez on the Beaver roster.

Stevenson was a three-time state champion for Newberg, compiling a 157-5 record with 84 pins. He won won the title at 119 pounds this past season with a 43-1 record after taking the crown at 112 as a junior and 103 as a sophomore; he also placed third at 103 as a freshman and was a four-time league champion.

Stevenson also earned double All-America honors the past two seasons at Junior Nationals by placing in both Freestyle and Greco-Roman styles, and as a sophomore he was a national champion in Greco-Roman.

'He lost close decisions to both champions (in Freestyle and Greco-Roman),' Wells said of Stevenson. 'He was the only guy to place in both divisions in that weight class. He's a tough competitor, a warrior. He just doesn't make the same mistake twice. He's got a great work ethic and he's a hard-nosed competitor.'

Stevenson was also the Oregon recipient of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame's Dave Schultz High School Excellence Award.

'Oregon State had a lot of things planned for me academically, and they're an up-and-coming team that's getting a lot tougher,' Stevenson said. 'I think the coaches there can build a team that can win a national title.'

Stevenson will join fellow Newberg alums Jordan Barich, Andy Bowlby, Tim Norman and Anthony Weber in Oregon State's program.

'There was a little incentive there, too,' Stevenson said.

OREGON STATE WRESTLING SIGNINGS - Spring/Summer, 2002Matt Ellis - 165/174 pounds - Prosser, Wash. (Prosser HS/Oklahoma State U.)2-time state champion, 3-time league champion; third at high school nationals;state freestyle championTony Hook - 157 pounds - Sandpoint, Idaho (Sandpoint HS)3-time state champion, 4-time league championJeremy Larson - 157/165 pounds - Hermiston, Ore. (Hermiston HS)2-time state champion, 2-time league champion; seventh at high school nationalsBryan Medelez - 133 pounds - Hermiston, Ore. (Hermiston HS)1-time state champion, 1-time league champion; regional Freestyle championBobby Pfennings - 125 pounds - Great Falls, Mont. (C.M. Russell HS)1-time state champion, 3-time league championJamie Rakevich - Heavyweight - Elma, Wash. (Elma HS)2-time state champion, 3-time league champion; third at high school nationals;academic All-AmericanEric Stevenson - 125 pounds - Newberg, Ore. (Newberg HS)3-time state champion; 4-time league champion; third in Junior Nationalsboth Freestyle and Greco-RomanTy Watterson - Heavyweight - Enumclaw, Wash. (Enumclaw HS)1-time state champion; 2-time league champion; high school nationals champion
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