Four Sun Devil Wrestlers Remain in Contention for Titles in Las Vegas

Dec. 3, 2004

Complete tournament results can be found here.

LAS VEGAS, Nev. - The Arizona State University wrestling team opened competition at the 23rd Annual Cliff Keen/Las Vegas Invitational Friday with four Sun Devils earning berths into the semifinal round of the prestigious event taking place inside the Cashman Center in Las Vegas, Nev. The Sun Devils stand fourth in the 45-team field with 68 points as seven wrestlers remain in contention to place among the Top 8 in the tournament. Michigan leads the team race with 95.5 points while Nebraska (92.5), Hofstra (73.5) and Missouri (63) sit second, third and fifth, respectively.

Following the conclusion of the 694-bout first session, the Sun Devils stood fourth with 64 points while Nebraska (80.5), Michigan (74) and Hofstra (68) all sat in front of ASU in the standings. In all, ASU's wrestlers had compiled a combined record of 19-7 on the strength of six technical falls, two pins and two major decisions.

Patrick Williams (Sr., Homestead, Fla.) at 149, C.B. Dollaway (Jr., Mt. Gilead, Ohio) at 184, Ryan Bader (Jr. Reno, Nev.) at 197 and Cain Velasquez (Jr., Yuma, Ariz.) at heavyweight each remain in the championship bracket and will take to the mats at 10 a.m. local time Saturday to try and secure a berth into the finals. In consolation bouts, Jeremy Mendoza (Jr., Temecula, Calif.) at 125, Brian Stith (So., Hampton, Va.) at 157 and Patrick Pitsch (Fr., Spanaway, Wash.) at 165 all need one win in the 9 a.m. matches to reach the quarterfinals of the back draw where they would guarantee a placement in the Top 8.

Bader, a finalist in this event a year ago and the top seed in the 2004 tournament, used two technical fall wins in the morning session to advance to the quarterfinals where he faced conference-rival and eighth-ranked Leonel Sanchez of Cal State Fullerton. The dual went into overtime tied at two before Bader scored two points on a takedown to move on in the event where he will meet the fourth-seeded Marcus Schontube of Penn in the semifinals.

Two team veterans also had impressive showings on their respective ways to the semifinals. Sun Devil big man Velasquez opened his day in similar fashion to Bader as he also scored two wins by technical fall. In the quarterfinals, Velasquez continued his impressive run as the No. 3 seed in the event downed sixth-seeded Mitch Mandstedt of Nebraska, 10-5. Williams opened his day with a win via fall before taking his next victory by major decision. In the quarterfinals, the third-seeded Williams battled No. 6-seed Matt Kocher of Pittsburgh, going into double-overtime before scoring a hard-fought victory, 3-2.

The final member of the semifinalists is Dollaway, a junior college national champion from Colby College in Kansas. The newest addition to the team displayed great skill in scoring two decisions and a major decision to advance in the tournament. Seeded fifth in the event, Dollaway knocked off the 12th seed before defeating fifth-seeded Ben Wissel of Purdue, 13-8.

Mendoza, who entered the tournament a perfect 7-0 on the year, scored a decision and two technical falls before suffering his first loss in 2004. In the quarterfinals, Mendoza, seeded fourth, met up with fifth-seeded Efren Ceballos of Cal State Bakersfield and took the bout to the wire before falling, 8-6. Stith also met defeat in the quarterfinals, suffering a 3-2 setback to third seed B.J. Wright of Nebraska. Pitsch, who staved off elimination twice on the day, ended the evening for the maroon and gold with a 6-3 tie-breaker decision after scoring two near-fall points in overtime to win the match.

Chris Frieje (Fr., Mesa, Ariz.) went 2-2 on the day at 141 before falling from the event while Curtis Ray (So., Mesa, Ariz.) at 133 and Rick Renzi (Fr., Flagstaff, Ariz.) at 174 both compiled 1-2 records before their eliminations.

Competition resumes Saturday morning at 9 a.m. PST with the remaining consolation bouts, as well as placing matches (first through eighth place). The finals are set for 5 p.m. PST.

2004 Cliff Keen/Las Vegas InvitationalArizona State ResultsNumber preceeding wrestler is touranment seed125 - #4 Jeremy Mendoza (3-1)Champ Pigtail 	Mendoza dec. Brandon Strong (Air Force), 8-3Champ First	Mendoza tech fall Pancho Manrique (UC Davis), 18-2 (5:12)Champ Second	Mendoza tech fall Nate Engel (Missouri Valley St), 15-0 (7:00)Quarterfinal	#5 Efren Ceballos (CS Bakersfield) dec. Mendoza, 8-6Conso Fifth	vs. Robert Preston (Harvard)

133 - Curtis Ray (1-2, did not place)Champ First Ray fall Brian Tsutsumi (Dana), 1:48Champ Second #2 Chris Fleeger (Purdue) major Ray, 9-0Conso Second Dave Emison (George Mason) tech fall Ray, 21-6

141 - Chris Frieje (2-2, did not place)Champ First Carter Downing (Wyoming) dec. Frieje, 6-4Conso First Frieje dec. Jay Chichester (George Mason), 9-7 svConso Second Frieje dec. Andre Vandervelde (Augustana), 7-5Conso Third #8 Rene Hernandez (Purdue) dec. Frieje, 10-4

149 - #3 Patrick Williams (3-0)Champ First Williams fall Dominic Denunzio (Harvard), 2:56Champ Second Williams major Ricky Turk (Columbia), 12-4Quarterfinal Williams dec. #6 Matt Kocher (Pittsburgh), 3-2 tbSemifinal vs. #2 Jon Masa (Hofstra)

157 - #6 Brian Stith (2-1)Champ First Stith dec. Darion Terry (Missouri Valley), 2-0Champ Second Stith dec. #11 Chat Roush (Eastern Michigan), 7-6Quarterfinal #3 B.J. Wright (Nebraska) dec. Stith, 3-2Conso Fifth vs. Brock Wittmeyer (Pennsylvania)

165 - #9 Patrick Pitsch (3-1)Champ First Pitsch dec. Quinn Donnell (Western State), 6-3Champ Second #8 Matt Palmer (Columbia) dec. Pitsch, 3-2Conso Third Pitsch dec. Charles Jones (UNC Greensboro), 8-4Conso Fourth Pitsch dec. #5 Zac Fryling (West Virginia), 6-3 tbConso Fifth vs. #7 Justin Nestor (Pittsburgh)

174 - Rick Renzi (1-2, did not place)Champ Pigtail Renzi dec. Jacob Lillich (Air Force), 9-3Champ First #6 Kelly Flaherty (Wisconsin) tech fall Renzi, 19-2Conso First Matt Trout (Western State) dec. Renzi, 8-4

184 - #5 C.B. Dollaway (3-0)Champ First Dollaway dec. Samuel Wedland (Wyoming), 7-2Champ Second Dollaway major #12 Keith Clifton (Citadel), 11-2Quarterfinal Dollaway dec. #4 Ben Wissel (Purdue), 13-8Semifinal vs. #1 Matt Pell (Missouri)

197 - #1 Ryan Bader (3-0)Champ First Bader tech fall Travis Gardner (Oregon State), 21-6Champ Second Bader tech fall Blair Alderman (Dana), 18-0 (1:38)Quarterfinal Bader dec. #8 Landon Seefeldt (CS Fullerton), 4-2 svSemifinal vs. #4 Marcus Schontube (Pennsylvania)

Heavyweight - #3 Cain Velasquez (3-0)Champ First Velasquez tech fall Koel Davia (Edinboro), 19-4Champ Second Velasquez tech fall Kurt Skarstedt (Air Force), 20-5Quarterfinal Velasquez dec. #6 Mitch Manstedt (Nebraska), 10-5Semifinal vs. #2 Greg Wagner (Michigan)

Top 10 Team ScoresThrough Completion of Session II (8:00 p.m. PST)1. Michigan 95.52. Nebraska 92.53. Hofstra 73.54. Arizona State 68.05. Missouri 63.06. Cornell 50.07. Edinboro 49.58. Penn 45.59. Purdue 44.010. CS Bakersfield 40.5