Sun Devil Wrestling Leads Pac-10 Championships After First Session

March 2, 2003

TEMPE, Ariz. - The No. 14 Arizona State wrestling team ended the first session of the 2003 Pac-10 Championships in Boise, Idaho, Sunday leading the team race on the strength of No. 1 Eric Larkin (Sr., Tucson, Ariz.). Larkin went 2-0 on the day with pins at 0:42 and 0:44 in the match to help the Sun Devils to 60 points. Second place Boise State has accumulated 55 points in the event as the defending team champion.

Jeremy Mendoza (Fr., Temecula, Calif.) got things going for the Sun Devils with a 3-2 win as he rode his opponent for the entire third period After the scored was tied on a Delaney takedown and two Mendoza escapes, the ASU rookie was on top of his Beaver opponent and held him to the mat for the win. Larkin made short work of his foe at 149, pinning the CS Fullerton wrestler in 42 seconds to advance to the quarterfinals. He pinned his quarterfinal foe in 0:44 to advanec to his fourth semifinal match in as many tournaments. Mendoza, however, was downed 18-9 in the quarterfinals and was sent to the consolation bracket.

Ron Renzi (Jr., Burke, Va.) fell to No. 4 seed Rowdy Lundegreen of Cal State Fullerton in his first match, a 19-5 major decision, and fell to the consolation bracket. Mike Simpson (So., Anaheim, Calif.) got ASU back on track with an upset at 133. He faced the No. 4 seed in Matt Sanchez of Cal State Bakersfield and handed him a trip to the consolation bracket with a 4-3 decision. Simpson was tied and hit a takedown with 30 seconds remaining to go up two. After the ensuing start where Sanchez escaped, Simpson fought off a tough attack to win the match and advance.

No. 3 Rocky Smart (Sr., Pleasant Grove, Utah) opened action at 157 with a 4-1 decision and that was followed by No. 1 Nick Frost (Jr., Tucson, Ariz.) picking up a fall at 6:45 to add bonus points to the team score. No. 1 Curtis Owen (Sr., Coeur D'Alene, Idaho) added more points, and another ASU victory, with a pinfall at 174.

In the heavier weights, No. 2 Ryan Bader (Fr., Verdi, Nev.) opened his tournament with a 10-2 major decision over Flynn Ficker of UC Davis while No. 1 heavyweight Kellan Fluckiger (Sr., Preston, Idaho) scored a major decision of his own over a UC Davis opponent. He won 13-2 in his match with Jason Paul.

Action continues in the tournament today at 6 p.m. with two rounds of consolations and the championships semifinals.

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