No. 9 ASU Wrestling Plays Host To Cal Poly Friday

Jan. 22, 2003

TEMPE, Ariz.- Ranked No. 9 in the latest national polls and sporting an 8-5 overall record (1-0 Pac-10), the Arizona State wrestling team will put its unblemished conference record on the line Friday at 7 p.m. when Cal Poly (4-5, 2-0 Pac-10) visits Tempe.

Eric Larkin has maintained his perfect record so far this year, returning from the National Duals with a 19-0 mark in 2003. With his wins, he has built a career record of 108-12 and moved higher on several school record lists. His winning percentage of 90 ranks fourth all-time in school history.

Larkin's 108 wins ranks him 12th all-time and just two away from equalling the 11th-ranked grappler on the list: Aaron Simpson. The current ASU assistant accumulated 110 wins in his career from 1995-98.

Larkin also is tied for 17th in career dual win with 42 and is No. 6 with 28 career falls.

Dana Holland returned from Columbus, Ohio, over the weekend accomplishing what no other on the team had: winning five duals at the National Duals. Eric Larkin and KellanFluckiger also were perfect, but each wrestled in just three matches.

Since heading into the Las Vegas Invitational (Dec. 6-7) with a 5-3 record on the year and ranked No. 18 in the nation, Holland has gone 21-2, won the tournament titles at the Las Vegas Invite and the Reno Tournament of Champions and finished second at the highly competitive Midlands. He also has surged toward the top of the rankings, coming in this week at No. 4.

While Eric Larkin has climbed into the all-time records book in four categories, one other Sun Devil is making a charge toward a solid spot on the ledger. Heavyweight Kellan Fluckiger has amassed a career record of 86-43 and sits 25th on the wins list. Fluckiger also needs 14 more wins in this, his senior season, to break the 100-win plateau, joining the 20 other Sun Devil greats to reach the milestone.

On Jan. 5 at the Sun Devil Duals, Arizona State defeated Lock Haven, 21-16, to secure the 400th win in the history of the program.

Since then, ASU has defeated nationally ranked opponents in No. 4 Oklahoma, No. 9 Michigan, No. 17 Missouri and No. 20 Boise State. The Sun Devils all-time record, following the National Duals, is 405-216-13.

On Dec. 18, released the first individual rankings based on the input of collegiate coaches rather than that of the poll administrators. In the fourth installment (Jan. 22), ASU has members ranked in the Top 20 at seven weights. Eric Larkin (149) leads the way at No. 1, followed by No. 4 Kellan Fluckiger (heavyweight), No. 6 Dana Holland (141), No. 8 Curtis Owen (174) and No. 11 Mike Simpson (133). Also making the 'others' area (those receiving votes not in the Top 15) are Nick Frost (No. 17 at 165) and Rocky Smart (No. 20 at 157). For the first time in 2003, propelled by his upsets of No. 14 Tom Grossman of Oklahoma and No. 6 Kyle Smith of Michigan, Ryan Bader (197) earned votes in the poll from the coaches and comes in at No. 21.

The national pollsters have slotted the Sun Devils in similar positions among the Top 25. The NWCA coaches poll, as well as The Wrestling Mall, have the Sun Devils as the No. 9 team in Division I. InterMat has ASU at No. 10. All polls were released Tuesday.

125 - Adam Chavira or Aaron Suzuki
133 - #11 Mike Simpson
141 - #4 Dana Holland or Evan Larkin
149 - #1 Eric Larkin
157 - #12 Rocky Smart, Mike Smith or Patrick Williams
165 - #8 Nick Frost
174 - #8 Curtis Owen
184 - Ron Renzi
197 - Ryan Bader
285 - #4 Kellan Fluckiger

The Mustangs, coached by Lennis Cowell, are 4-5 on the year and hold an unblemished mark of 2-0 in the Pac-10 Conference. CPU is led by No. 11 Vic Moreno at 125 and David Schenk at 197. Moreno is 16-6 on the year while Schenk has posted a 19-5 mark in 2003.

The Sun Devils hold a 26-7-0 advantage in the all-time series with the Mustangs ... ASU has won the last 18 duals in row ... CPU's last win over the Sun Devils was Jan. 11, 1983, in San Luis Obispo with a 31-12 score ...ASU has won the last eight meetings in a row in Tempe ... ASU vs. CPU: in Tempe: 13-2-0 ... in San Luis Obispo: 12-4-0 ... neutral: 1-1-0.

The Sun Devils traveled to Columbus, Ohio, for the 15th NWCA National Duals, walking away with a 3-2 record and seventh place in the prestigious competition. Arizona State defeated No. 17 Missouri, 19-17, in the first round of the tournament, setting a dual with undefeated and No. 1 ranked Oklahoma State.

The Cowboys proved too strong for ASU and handed the Sun Devils their first loss in the event, a 38-3 setback. To remain in the tournament, ASU had to defeat No. 20 Boise State. The Sun Devils slid by their conference foes with a 19-15 decision.

In the consolation quarterfinals, the Sun Devils met No. 3 Minnesota with the Golden Gophers sending ASU to the seventh-place bout on the heels of a 26-12 defeat.

In the final match of the day, the Sun Devils defeated the No. 9 Michigan Wolverines, 27-12, to finish seventh. Oklahoma State went on to win the tournament while Minnesota placed fifth.

Former Sun Devil standout Thom Ortiz, a three-time All-American, national runner-up and three-time conference champion, returns for his second year at the helm of the Arizona State program. After compiling a 9-5 record a year ago, the team went on to place second at the Pac-10 Championships and 12th at the NCAA meet. The fifth head coach in the 41-year history of the program, Ortiz knows what it takes to make the Sun Devils a prominent team. He was a member of ASU squads that won three conference team titles, one NCAA championship and two national runner-up finishes. His career coaching record is 17-10-0 (7-0 Pac-10).

Wells Fargo Arena is the home of Sun Devil wrestling, as well as men's and women's basketball, women's volleyball and women's gymnastics. The arena was completed in 1974 with the ability to seat a capacity of crowd of more than 14,000 and has seen its far share of top competition. The annual Sunkist Kids/ASU International Open has been staged inside WFA and the Sun Devil wrestlers also called the facility home on their way to the 1988 NCAA title. In all, some of the elite teams in the nation have visited the arena. That list includes Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Minnesota, Iowa and Iowa State.

Since the Sun Devils began competing in WFA in the 1974-75 season, ASU holds an all-time mark of 139-48-2 (.745). The Sun Devils also compiled five seasons with a perfect mark at home: 1975-76 (8-0), 1984-85 (8-0), 1987-88 (4-0), 1988-89 (6-0) and 1992-93 (5-0).

Five duals remain on the schedule for the Sun Devils as they prepare for the 2003 Pac-10 Championships, March 2-3, at Boise State. The first two of the remaining contests are on the road with duals against Oregon State (7:30 p.m. Jan. 31) and Oregon (2 p.m. Feb. 2). ASU's last home dual of the year, in which the team will honor its seniors and alumni, will be Feb. 9 against Cal State Bakersfield at 2 p.m.

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