Wrestling Takes Fifth at Las Vegas Behind Bader's Runner-up Finish
Dec. 6, 2003
LAS VEGAS, Nev. - The No. 17 Arizona State wrestling team completed action at the 2003 Cliff Keen/Las Vegas Invitational Saturday with the Sun Devils capturing fifth place as a team on the strength of seven place winners, including runner-up Ryan Bader (So., Verdi, Nev.) at 197 and fourth place finishers Patrick Williams (Jr., Homestead, Fla.) and Cain Velasquez (So., Yuma, Ariz.) at 149 and heavyweight, respectively. Nebraska ran away with the team title, building 157.5 points to runner-up Michigan's 134.5. Missouri (116), Illinois (110) and ASU (102.5) rounding out the Top 5.
Bader, undefeated on the year leading up to the final of the tournament and seeded No. 4 in the event, took on third seeded Emmitt Willson of Montana State-Northern and fought a close battle. Following a two-all tie following seven minutes of regulation, Willson caught Bader and took him to the mat for the takedown and a 4-2 sudden victory decision. Following the 197 battle, Velasquez, who was seeded sixth, dropped a 3-2 decision to fourth-seeded Cole Konard of Minnesota to determine third place. Velasquez and Konard each had escapes in the match with the Sun Devil big man also earning a penalty point for Konard's two stalling calls. The decisive points came on a first-period takedown by the Golden Gopher grappler.
The final session of the tournament opened for the Sun Devils with Williams, seeded 11th at 149, battling top seed Ryan Churella of Michigan for third place. After a flurry of activity netted just one takedown in the opening stanza in favor of Churella, both men exploded again in the second period with Williams scoring four points on two takedowns. But down the stretch, neither wrestler was able to score, leaving Williams down, 5-4, at the final whistle.
Following the first session of the day, four Sun Devils left the mats after placing in the Top 8 of their respective weight groups. At 125 pounds, No. 11 seed Christian Staylor (Fr., Chesapeake, Va.) won two matches, including a major decision over conference foe Tony Franco of Cal Poly before taking an injury default throughout the remainder of the competition and ending his trip in sixth place. Fellow classmate Brian Stith (Fr., Hampton, Va.), seeded seventh at 157, concluded his first major tournament with seventh place. Stith won his opening match of the day before falling in the consolation semifinals and taking seventh from Justin Gabbard of Air Force, 3-2.
Ron Renzi (Sr., Burke, Va.), following his school-record-tying fastest fall of seven seconds one day earlier, wrestled his way to sixth place at 174 after being seeded eighth. Renzi won his first two matches of the day before dropping his last two bouts of the tournament. For pinning his first three opponents in 2:37, Renzi earned the Most Falls in Least Time Award.
Fellow senior Nick Frost (Tucson, Ariz.), the fifth seed at 184, also opened his day with a win, but that was followed with a loss that sent him to face No. 12 Josh Weitzel of Michigan. In the seventh place bout, Frost built an early advantage before holding on to defeat the Wolverine, 10-7.
Following a week off from competition, the Sun Devils will make a return trip to the state of Nevada when they head to Reno for the Reno Tournament of Champions, Dec. 18.