Reno Tourney Awaits #11 ASU Wrestling This Week

Dec. 16, 2003

Notes in pdf format

TEMPE, Ariz. - Following a week of finals and two weeks removed from the Cliff Keen/Las Vegas Invitational, the No. 11 Arizona State wrestling team returns to Nevada for the Reno Tournament of Champions. The one-day event will be held Thursday and will feature 20 collegiate teams.

TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS
Five nationally ranked teams (according to the NWCA Coaches Poll - Dec. 10) lead the field of 20 in Reno this week with No. 1 Oklahoma State heading the ledger. Joining the defending national champions in the tournament are No. 14 Arizona State, No. 23 Boise State, No. 24 Cal Poly and No. 25 Fresno State.

RECORD LAST YEAR
At the conclusion of the 2002 Reno Tournament of Champions, former Sun Devil heavyweight All-American and current assistant coach Kellan Fluckiger was recognized for his winning ways. Fluckiger is the only collegiate wrestler to ever win his weight three years in a row, taking the crowns in 2000, 2001 and 2002.

RENO REVISITED
Last year, the Sun Devils accumulated 87.5 points on their way to a third-place finish as Oklahoma State took home the team title with 139 points. Edinboro was second at 89.5.Dana Holland (141) and Kellan Fluckiger (HWT) each won their weight classes while Nick Frost (165) finished runner-up and Ryan Bader (197) captured third.

JAMES BOND SIGHTING?
Following a match for Sun Devil Ron Renzi at the Cliff Keen/Las Vegas Invitational two weeks ago, there was a 007 sighting. No, not Pierce Brosnan, but 007 as in 0:07 or seven seconds. That was all the time Renzi needed to pin his opponent in the second round of the tournament.

At the starting whistle, Renzi shot in and immediately took his opponent, Marshall Marquardt of Dana College, to his back on the mat. From there, the referee jumped to the mat and slapped it, signaling the fall.

Renzi joins Arizona State Hall of Famer Dave Severn as the program's record holder for the fastest fall in ASU history. Severn recorded the mark first when he pinned New Mexico's Mark Erickson in 1976.

RENZI GETS THREE, AWARD
With his record-tying fall in the second round, Ron Renzi extended his streak of pinfall wins to three to open the Las Vegas Invitational. Renzi won his championship pig tail bout with a fall at 0:45 before winning the championship first round match at 1:47. All told, Renzi tallied three falls in 2:44 for the first three matches which is not enough time to total the first period of a single match. Renzi was honored as the tournament's Most Falls in Least Time award winner.

BADER POSTS NEAR PERFECTION
Ryan Bader has climbed the national rankings to as high as No. 3 (InterMat and Amateur Wrestling News- Dec. 16 polls) thanks in part to a 9-1 overall record and two high places at two tough tournaments. Bader opened the season 4-0 and won the Missouri Open before starting the dual season with a victory to move to 5-0. In Las Vegas, Bader advanced to the finals where he dropped his first match of the season, 4-2, in overtime.

STITH STEPPING UP
In his first season of competition with the team, Brian Stith not only is the starter at 157, he also is leading the Sun Devils in overall wins at 10. So far this season, Stith has placed third at the Missouri Open and recently took seventh at the Las Vegas Invite.

WILLIAMS MARCHES THROUGH VEGAS
Seeded 11th in the tournament, Patrick Williams went 4-2 on his way to fourth place. After wins over two unseeded foes, Williams knocked off conference foe and No. 3 seed Matt Cox of Cal Poly, 8-7, to advance to the semifinals. He then was pinned by eventual champion Travis Shufelt of Nebraska, the No. 2 seed in the bracket. Williams defeated the 10th seed in the consolation semifinals before dropping a close, 5-4, decision to No. 1 seed Mark Churella of Michigan.

ARIZONA STATE IN THE RANKINGS
The Sun Devils continued their stay in the Top 20 of the national rankings this week as two ranking services have Arizona State in the Top 15. InterMat has the Sun Devils at No. 11 for the second week in a row following its Dec. 16 rankings while the National Wrestling Coaches Association Coaches' Poll has ASU at No. 14 (Dec. 10).

INDIVIDUAL RANKINGS
Ryan Bader leads the way for the team as he is ranked No. 3 in both Amateur Wrestling News and InterMat.com. In the AWN poll (Dec. 16), both Patrick Williams (149) and Brian Stith (157) are 10th with Cain Velasquez (HWT) and Nick Frost (184) being ranked 11th and 12th, respectively. In the Intermat.com poll (Dec. 16), Stith and Frost are ninth with Williams in 11th and Velasquez in 12th. TheWrestlingMall.com has not released new rankings since Dec. 1.

ONE MORE TIME
The Reno Tournament of Champions will mark the final individual tournament the Sun Devils will compete in until the end of February when Arizona State plays host to the 2004 Pac-10 Championships. Between now and then, the Sun Devils will battle in 16 duals with the possibility of a few more at the Virginia Duals.

RECAP: LAS VEGAS INVITATIONAL
Seven of 10 Sun Devils placed at the 2003 Las Vegas Invitational Dec. 5-6 to help Arizona State build 102.5 points and capture fifth place in the tournament. Nebraska won the team title with 157.5 points. Michigan (134.5), Missouri (116), Illinois (110) and ASU rounded out the Top 5 team placers.

Ryan Bader finished as the runner-up at 197 while Patrick Williams (149) and Cain Velasquez (HWT) each placed fourth. Christian Staylor (125) battled through injury to eventually place sixth in the event while Ron Renzi (174) dropped his final match of the event to also place sixth. Brian Stith (157) and Nick Frost (184) rounded out the place winners for the Sun Devils as each took seventh at their weight classes.

TURNING 400
History was achieved Jan. 5 when Arizona State handed Lock Haven a 21-16 defeat at the Sun Devil Duals to give the program its 400th victory since becoming a varsity program during the 1962-63 academic season. To date, the Sun Devils have won 409 duals for a career mark of 409-223-11. The Sun Devils could reach 425 wins this season. They are scheduled for 15 duals with at least two more at the Virginia Duals.

NEXT TIME ON THE MATS
After the turn of the New Year, the Sun Devils will return to the mats inside Wells Fargo Arena for the 2004 Sun Devil Duals. Arizona State will face Stanford at 10 a.m., Embry-Riddle at Noon and No. 2 Iowa State at 4 p.m.

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