Matt Ellis Takes The Fifth

Dec. 30, 2003Oregon State 165-pounder Matt Ellis knocked off two nationally-ranked wrestlers and received a medical forfeit over another on Tuesday to earn fifth place at the Midlands Open at Welsh-Ryan Arena. OSU 174-pounder Jed Pennell wound up one win short of placing in the tournament, which includes not only many of the nation's top collegiate wrestlers but also many post-collegians now involved in national and international competition.

Oregon State placed 16th in the 61-team field, improving on the Beavers' 25th-place finish of a year ago.

'We tried to emphasize all along in this tournament that every match, it was important to get out and see what these guys could do because we'll see a lot of them at nationals,' OSU head coach Joe Wells said. 'I liked our approach and our attitude, how we went about things. We initiated more things and were more aggressive.'

Ellis, the top-ranked 165-pounder in the Pacific-10, received a medical forfeit in the fifth-place final over 19th-ranked Heston Johnson of Northern Iowa. Johnson, who had an injured knee, had edged Ellis 3-1 in overtime in the first round of the tournament.

Ellis then reeled off five straight wins in the wrestleback bracket. He began Tuesday's action with a 6-1 decision over 17th-ranked Zachariah Doll of Pittsburgh; he took down Doll in the first period and rode him out, then scored a reversal in the second period and rode Doll out again before capping the win with a third-period takedown.

Ellis was then matched up against 10th-ranked J.J. Holmes of Eastern Michigan and he earned a 6-5 win. Ellis scored an early takedown, then stayed in the lead by one or two points throughout the match.

'He had to throw Matt and put him on his back, and Matt played it cagey,' Wells said. 'He did the smart things and managed the match well.'

Ellis' streak ended with a 6-0 decision at the hands of 16th-ranked Nick Passolano of Iowa State in the wrestleback semifinals. The medical forfeit over Johnson gave Ellis fifth place, the highest for a Beaver at the Midlands Open since Jason Cooley was fifth at heavyweight in the 2001-02 event.

Pennell, the Pac-10's top-ranked 174-pounder, was beaten in his first match Tuesday by 12th-ranked Andrew Roy of Rutgers by a 14-8 score.

'Jed gave away eight points on two moves; he didn't react to what the other guy was doing,' Wells said. 'Jed's straddling trying to put the pressure on a guy and being extremely aggressive, but doing it under control. Sometimes he's not under control and he puts himself in a bad position.'

OSU (1-3 overall, 1-0 Pac-10) returns to action Jan. 9 at the Oregon Wrestling Classic Duals in Redmond, where the Beavers will face Army, Air Force, Cal State-Fullerton and Southern Oregon. The Beavers return to Gill Coliseum on Jan. 11 for a non-conference dual against Northern Colorado at 2 p.m.

OREGON STATE AT MIDLANDS OPEN

(Current Amateur Wrestling News national rankings in parentheses)

TOP 20 TEAM SCORES OF 61-1. Illinois 107.5; 2. Iowa State 102; 3. Penn State 92; 4. Hofstra 87.5; 5. Iowa 80.5; 6. Central Michigan 79; 7. Northern Iowa 75; 8. Cal State-Bakersfield 72; 9. Ohio State 64; 10. Cornell 62.5; 11. West Virginia 57.5; 12. Pennsylvania 53.5; 13. Sunkist WC 44.5; 14. Michigan Sate 37.5; 15. Montana State-Northern 33; 16. Oregon State 32; 17. Northwestern 31.5; 18. Northern Illinois 30.5; 19. (tie) Dave Schultz WC, Stanford 24.

133, TIM NORMAN-Major dec. by Pat Dowty, Eastern Illinois, 11-3 in first round; advanced via disqualification in wrestleback first round (Charles Lloyd, Lassen CC, disqualified from tournament for flagrant misconduct in first round); pinned by Jason Borrelli, unattached, 2:53 in wrestleback second round.

149, TONY HOOK-Dec. Matt Lambach, Penn, 10-5 in preliminary round; dec. by Jon Rodriguez, unattached, 10-5 in first round; major dec. Chris Jordan, Eastern Illinois, 16-6 in wrestleback first round; pinned Andy Keller, Central Michigan, 3:31 in wrestleback second round; dec. by Jeff Harrison, Northern Iowa, 1-0 in wrestleback third round.

149, ORLANDO PEREZ-Pinned Mike Allen, Ohio, 2:40 in preliminary round; major dec. by (6) Ty Eustice, Iowa, 14-6 in first round; dec. by Josh Ballard, Northwestern, 5-3 in wrestleback preliminary round.

157, BRIAN DUHRKOOP-Dec. over Jason Effner, Cleveland State, 6-2 in first round; tech. fall by Chris Bono, Sunkist Kids WC, 5:20, in second round; dec. by Nick Baima, Northern Iowa, 5-2 in wrestleback third round.

157, ANTHONY WEBER-Dec. by Travis Koppenhafer, Adams, 11-4 in first round; dec. over Joe Uker, Iowa, 8-3 in wrestleback first round; dec. by Nick Baima, Northern Iowa, 9-4 in wrestleback second round.

165, MATT ELLIS-Dec. by (19) Heston Johnson, Northern Iowa, 3-1 (OT) in first round; pinned DeRay Davis, Kennedy-King JC, 3:44 in wrestleback first round; dec. over Frank Beasley, Lincoln JC, 10-4 in wrestleback second round; dec. over Jason Gilligan, Lock Haven, 4-3 in wrestleback third round; dec. over (17) Zachariah Doll, Pittsburgh, 6-1 in wrestleback fourth round; dec. over (10) J.J. Holmes, Eastern Michigan, 6-5 in wrestleback quarterfinals; dec. by (16) Nick Passolano, Iowa State, 6-0 in wrestleback semifinals; med. fft. over (19) Heston Johnson, Northern Iowa, in fifth-place final.

174, (17) JED PENNELL-Dec. over Jesse Juarez, Montana State-Northern, 2-0 in first round; dec. by (13) Matt Herrington, Penn, 12-8 in second round; major dec. over Grant Turner, Iowa State, 9-0 in wrestleback third round; dec. over Kenny Robertson, Eastern Illinois, 4-2 in wrestleback fourth round; dec. by (12) Andrew Roy, Rutgers, 14-8 in wrestleback fifth round.

184, DAN PITSCH-Dec. by Eric Bradley, Penn State, 5-4 in first round; dec. by Rudy Medina, Rutgers, 11-9 in wrestleback first round.

197, JED LOWE-Dec. by Greg Reardon, Northern Illinois, 3-2 in preliminary round; dec. over Nick Thomas, Penn, 1-0 in wrestleback preliminary round; dec. by Joel Edwards, Penn State, 7-3 in wrestleback first round.

HWT, JAMIE RAKEVICH-Dec. by Mitch Clark, Ohio International WC, 9-5 in preliminary round; dec. by Matt Fletcher, Illinois, 4-3 in wrestleback preliminary round.

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