Two Sun Devils Advance to Semifinals at the Midlands Tournament

Dec. 29, 2002

TEMPE, Ariz. - Two Arizona State wrestlers reached the semifinal round of the 40th Midlands Tournament Saturday, one in dominant fashion and the other in the role of a surprising upstart. In all, five current Sun Devils and one former wrestler are in Evanston, Ill., on the campus of Northwestern University, competing in one of the tougher holiday events in the nation each year.

No. 4 Dana Holland (Sr., Glendale Heights, Ill.) has moved through the 141 class with two major decision wins while Mike Simpson (So., Anaheim, Calif.), unranked and unseeded in the event, upended the top seeded wrestler at 133 before two more decisive victories to make the final four. No. 5 Kellan Fluckiger (Sr., Preston, Idaho), at heavyweight, and current ASU assistant coach Aaron Simpson each moved to the quarterfinals before suffering their first loss in the tournament.

Holland opened the event with a major decision over Matt DePolo of Cleveland State, 10-2, before defeating Pennsylvania's Doug McGraw, 9-3. In the quarterfinals, Holland won his 13th match in a row with a 17-6 major decision over Whitey Chlebove of the Sunkist Kids to set up a match with Central Michigan's Derek Phillips, who upset the top seed, in the semifinals.

Mike Simpson's path the to the final four was a bit more difficult than Holland's. After a first round bye, Simpson met No. 1 seed Cliff Moore of Iowa and handed the Hawkeye a 6-5 loss. Simpson followed that performance with a 13-3 major decision over Juston Collins (Lincoln College) before defeating No. 9 Mark Jayne of Illinois, 7-4. Simpson will face his third ranked foe in the semifinals when he meets Michigan's No. 5 Foley Dowd.

Fluckiger won his first match by a 7-0 decision before pinning his second opponent at 4:38. That win set up a rematch of the Las Vegas Invitational in which No. 4 Kevin Hoy (Air Force) pinned Fluckiger to win the title. Unfortunately for the Sun Devil big man, Hoy again won by pinfall, this time at 5:32, sending Fluckiger to the consolation bracket. Aaron Simpson's path also ended in the consolation bracket after suffering a 3-2 defeat to No. 3 Clint Wattenberg of Cornell in the quarterfinal. Simpson won his first match by fall and a decision.

Also competing for the Sun Devils were Jeremy Mendoza (Fr., Temecula, Calif.) at 125 and Patrick Williams (So., Homestead, Fla.) at 149. Mendoza compiled a 1-2 mark in the event while Williams suffered two-consecutive losses to fall from the bracket.

The Sun Devils return to action with four duals next week, starting with the Sun Devil Duals on Jan. 5. ASU will face Lock Haven at Noon, Embry-Riddle at 2 p.m. and two-time defending national champions No. 3 Minnesota at 5:30 p.m. The Sun Devils also will play host to No. 4 Oklahoma at 7 p.m. on Jan. 8.

2002 Midlands (Evanston, Ill./Northwestern Univ.)
Number listed before wrestler is tournament seed

125 - Jeremy Mendoza (1-2, DNP)
Champ 1st - Bye
Champ 2nd - lost decision to #3 A.J. Grant (Michigan), 10-3
Conso 2nd - Bye
Conso 3rd - won decision over Matt Morkel (Iowa), 9-4
Conso 4th - lost decision to Jack Anaya (CS Bakersfield), 7-4

133 - Mike Simpson (3-0)
Champ 1st - Bye
Champ 2nd - won decision over #1 Cliff Moore (Iowa), 6-5
Champ 3rd - won major decision over Juston Collins (Lincoln), 13-3
Quarterfinal - won decision over #9 Mark Jayne (Illinois), 7-4
Semifinal - vs. #5 Foley Dowd (Michigan)

141 - #4 Dana Holland (3-0)
Champ 1st - Bye
Champ 2nd - won major decision over Matt DePolo (Cleveland St.), 10-2
Champ 3rd - won decision over Doug McGraw (Penn), 9-3
Quarterfinal - won major decision over Whitey Chlebove (Sunkist Kids), 17-6
Semifinal - vs. Derek Phillips (Central Michigan)

149 - Patrick Williams (0-2, DNP)
Champ 1st - lost decision to #10 Dustin Manotti (Cornell), 10-4
Conso 1st - won major decision over Jacob Harris (Tenn-Chatt.), 19-7
Conso 2nd - lost fall to #8 Josh Daugherty (Ohio State), 1:17

184 - Aaron Simpson (2-1)
Competing for Sunkist Kids
Champ 1st - Bye
Champ 2nd - won fall over Nick Stepanovich (Ohio State), 4:49
Champ 3rd - won decision over #6 Jason Potter (Illinois), 3-1
Quarterfinal - lost decision to #3 Clint Wattenberg (Cornell), 3-2
Conso 6th - #4 Ben Heizer (Northern Illinois)

285 - #5 Kellan Fluckiger (2-1)
Champ 1st - Bye
Champ 2nd - won decision over Tony Grygorzyk (Michigan), 7-0
Champ 3rd - won technical fall over Dan Garay (Hofstra), 4:38
Quarterfinal - lost fall to #4 Kevin Hoy (Air Force), 5:32
Conso 6th - Henry Lossen (Michigan St.)

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