Wrestling Plays Host to Oregon State, Oregon
Jan. 18, 2006
TEMPE, Ariz. - Following a tough five-bout weekend at the 2006 NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals last weekend, the No. 13 Arizona State University wrestling team returns home and to conference competition as the Sun Devils play host to Oregon State and Oregon this weekend at Wells Fargo Arena. The Sun Devils (7-6, 2-0 Pac-10), who finished seventh at the National Duals, face the Beavers at 7 p.m. Friday night before closing out the weekend with the Ducks in a 7 p.m. contest Sunday night.
During the 2004-05 season, the Sun Devils posted a perfect 8-0 record against Pac-10 foes. So far this season, Arizona State has won both of its conference clashes to bring that streak to 10 in a row entering duals with Oregon State and Oregon. In the five seasons Thom Ortiz has been at the helm of the ASU program, the Sun Devils have gone 27-2 against Pac-10 foes with their lone losses coming at the hands of Oregon State in 2003 (18-16 in Corvallis) and Cal State Bakersfield (20-17 in Bakersfield). Overall, ASU is 16-0 at home against Pac-10 foes with Ortiz as its coach, including a 25-18 defeat of UC Davis earlier this year.
Arizona State, who entered the 2006 NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals unseeded and ranked No. 18 in the national polls, went 3-2 at the national event and finished seventh overall. The Sun Devils twice upset No. 9 Missouri, the tournament's eighth-seeded team, and also knocked off No. 13 Northwestern in the consolation rounds. ASU's losses came at the hands of top-ranked and top-seeded Oklahoma State and fifth-ranked and fourth-seeded Michigan.
FACING THE BEST
So far this season, the Sun Devils are 7-6 overall with all six losses coming at the hands of teams ranked among the Top 8 teams in the nation. Arizona State has lost duals to No. 1 Oklahoma State, No. 2 Minnesota, No. 5 Iowa, No. 5 Michigan, No. 7 Iowa State and No. 8 Lehigh. Only Lehigh (No. 12 this week) has fallen out of the Top 10 since taking on ASU.
With his team's 21-21 defeat (on criteria) of No. 9 Missouri in the seventh-place dual Sunday at the 2006 NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals, Head Coach Thom Ortiz collected the 50th victory in his coaching career, raising his record 50-32-1 all-time as a head coach on the collegiate level. So far this season, Ortiz' Sun Devils are 7-6 overall and 2-0 in the Pac-10.
Each week throughout the 2005-06 season, Sun Devil Assistant Coach Aaron Simpson will provide an inside look at the team as he submits journal entries to thesundevils.com. Visit the wrestling page on the official athletic web site of Arizona State Athletics to see what Coach Simpson has to say about a previous meet, the team's preparations and other interesting facts and stories about the Sun Devils.
Along with the weekly journal, the coaching staff will select a wrestler of the match. This week, Ryan Bader was selected for the honor following a 4-1 weekend at the National Duals. Bader, who was ranked No. 14 in the nation 197, dominated No. 10 Matt Delguyd of Northwestern, 6-0, during the weekend while also helping the team finish seventh as his wrestling helped force, then break, a tie with No. 9 Missouri. In that bout, Bader needed to pin his foe to give the team a chance for the win and did just that as he stuck his opponent with one second remaining in the second period. With the team scored tied at 21, the seventh criteria was needed to break the tie. That tie breaking scenario was most near fall points and Bader's two near fall points were the only ones recorded during the entire dual. Bader is now up to 106 career victories and will look to continue his climb this weekend.
TEN IN A ROW
In its first of two duals Sunday at the Sun Devil Duals, Arizona State took on Pac-10 foe UC Davis and scored a 25-18 victory over the Aggies to not only stretch its record to 2-0 on the season in the conference, but also gave ASU its 10th victory in a row over Pac-10 teams. The Sun Devils' last loss came in the final dual of the 2004 season when they absorbed a 20-17 setback on the road to Cal State Bakersfield. The loss snapped a nine-dual winning streak as well, giving ASU victories in 19 of its last 20 and 26 of 28 under Head Coach Thom Ortiz.
Heading into his senior season, Ryan Bader stood 88-34 in his career with the Sun Devils. So far this season, Bader has compiled an 18-3 record to bring his career mark to 106-37, making him the 21st Sun Devil to reach 100 wins in a career. Bader captured victory No. 100 with a 6-1 decision over Mitch Kuhlman at Minnesota. Bader went 4-1 at the National Duals to add to his total and stands 14th on the all-time lists. He is one win shy of tying Matt Suter (107) for 13th place and needs just four more victories this season to tie the 12th-place holder, current assistant coach Aaron Simpson. Speaking of coaches, Bader is 12 wins away from tying Head Coach Thom Ortiz for No. 8 on the all-time list and 17 wins shy of equalling the sixth-most wins in a career held by current assistant Eric Larkin and Casey Strand.
Ryan Bader's chase for 100 victories is not the only place in the record books he is nearing in on. Following last week's dual action, Bader is 11-2 and has improved his career dual record to 48-20 overall. His win total ties him for the 13th-most in program history with Eric Larkin (48-6) and Tom Kolopus (48-10-1). Bader is three wins away from cracking the Top 10 and, with eight duals remaining this year, could reach as high as No. 7 on the list. Joining him in this chase is another senior, Jeremy Mendoza. After going 12-1 in duals so far this season, Mendoza improved to 38-16 overall in his dual meet career and is three wins away from tying John Ginther (41-10-3) for 20th on the all-time list. With eight duals remaining on the schedule, Mendoza could finish as high as 16th on the list with 46 dual wins. If he goes 8-0 in those duals, he would have 20 on the season, tying him with seven other Sun Devils for the fourth-most in single-season history.
MENDOZA ON A TEAR
Jeremy Mendoza, a senior walk-on starter from Temecula, Calif., has made the most of his senior season so far as he has climbed to No. 7 in the national rankings with a 24-2 record and the championship title at the 2005 Reno Tournament of Champions. Mendoza also has built a 12-1 record in dual competition this season. His lone loss outside of dual competition came in the finals of the Las Vegas Invitational to Cornell's Troy Nickerson, currently ranked No. 5 in the nation while he lost his first dual bout, falling 8-2 to No. 8 Coleman Scott of Oklahoma State. Mendoza entered the season with a career mark of 52-39 and is now 76-41 in his career.
C.B. Dollaway made his return to the starting spot at 184 at Minnesota two weeks ago and, following the first three duals of the National Duals, stood 6-0. From there, Dollaway dropped his last two bouts to slip to 6-2 on the season, but remained No. 8 in the latest national rankings. Dollaway opened his season by upsetting No. 11 Roger Kish of Minnesota with a controlled 3-0 decision. Then, at the Sun Devil Duals, Dollaway opened the day with an 8-2 decision over Tyler Bernacchi, the third-ranked wrestler in the Pac-10, before closing out his opening weekend with a pin of No. 6 Kurt Backes of Iowa State at 1:06. The No. 2-ranked wrestler in the Pac-10, Dollaway holds a 4-2 record against Top 20 foes this season with pins of two Top 10 opponents.
Before the turn of the New Year last season, Cain Velasquez had built a 14-3 overall record with two of his losses coming to Greg Wagner of Michigan at the Las Vegas Invitational and Steve Mocco of Oklahoma State in the final of the Reno Tournament. After that loss to Mocco, Velasquez would run off 18 victories in a row to win the Pac-10 title before finishing fourth at the NCAA Championships. This season, Velasquez holds a 22-5 record with his losses coming at the hands of Wagner in Las Vegas and the National Duals, Mocco in the finals of the Reno event and the National Duals and Cole Konrad of Minnesota. For his career, Velasquez is 72-15 with 12 of those losses coming against the Top 3 wrestlers this year (five to Wagner, four to Konrad and three to Mocco).
Jeremy Mendoza (125) and Brian Stith (157) won the second and third, respectively, individual crowns this season for the Sun Devils by taking first place at the Reno Tournament of Champions. The duo joins Cain Velasquez (285) as the only individual champions on the year after the Sun Devil big man won the season-opening East Stroudsburg Open.
In their final campaigns for the Sun Devils, four seniors have fared quite well on the mats this season as the quartet has combined for a 70-12 overall record. Jeremy Mendoza leads the way with a 24-2 mark while Cain Velasquez stands 22-5. Ryan Bader is 18-3 with C.B. Dollaway, who just returned to the starting line up two weeks ago, is 6-2.
So far this season, four Sun Devils have won 17 or matches and absorbed no more than five losses. Those wrestlers are Jeremy Mendoza at 125 (24-2), Brian Stith at 157 (17-2), Ryan Bader at 197 (18-3) and Cain Velasquez at heavyweight (22-5).
SCOUTING: OREGON STATE
The Beavers are 6-1-1 overall on the season and are 3-0 in Pac-10 competition this season with conference wins over Oregon, Cal Poly and Cal State Fullerton. The fourth-ranked team in the Pac-10, six wrestlers are among the Top 6 in the conference, led by No. 1 Jeremy Larson at 174. Two Beavers are ranked in the national Top 20, including No. 16 Tony Hook at 157 and No. 17 Ty Watterson at heavyweight.
SUN DEVILS VS. BEAVERS
Arizona State leads the all-time series, 17-11, and has won two in a row overall, including a 29-9 decision last year in Corvallis. The last time the Beavers won was an 18-16 decision in Corvallis during the 2002-03 season that snapped a 16-win streak against Pac-10 foes for the Sun Devils.
Two duals stand out in the Arizona State-Oregon State meeting this weekend as both bouts will feature Top 20 foes squaring off. The first bout will see No. 8 Brian Stith, the top-ranked wrestler in the Pac-10, take on No. 16 Tony Hook, the No. 3 conference wrestler at 157. The second meeting is the only 1 vs. 2 bout as No. 4 Cain Velasquez (first) faces No. 17 Ty Waterson (second) in the heavyweight division.
Friday night's meeting between Arizona State and Oregon State will see several fans in the stands supporting both teams as the Pitsch family will one wrestler competing for the Sun Devils and another son competing for the Beavers. Patrick Pitsch is in his second season as a starter for ASU at 165 pounds and is ranked No. 12 in the national this week while his older brother Dan competes for OSU at 197 pounds.
The Ducks enter the weekend with a 3-3 overall record and stand 1-2 in the Pac-10. Ranked sixth in the conference, Oregon has defeated Cal State Fullerton, Portland State and Utah Valley State so far this season. The Ducks have six wrestlers ranked in the latest Pac-10 Top 6, including top-ranked Joey Bracamonte at 165 and top-ranked Shane Webster at 184. Both men also are ranked in the national Top 20, entering the weekend ranked sixth and 11th, respectively.
SUN DEVILS VS. DUCKS
Arizona State holds a commanding 20-2 all-time record in the series with Oregon and has won 19 in a row dating back to the 1975-76 season. The last time the Ducks defeated the Sun Devils came on December 9, 1974, when they came to Tempe and scored a 28-10 decision. ASU won, 23-15, last year in a dual held in Eugene and won the last meeting in Tempe, 24-11, on February 11, 2004.
No. 1 and No. 2 will meet on two occasions Sunday night with the Ducks having both of the top-ranked men in those meetings on their roster. The first bout will be at 165 where No. 2 Patrick Pitsch, the No. 12-ranked wrestler in the nation, faces No. 1 and sixth-ranked Joey Bracamonte. The second meeting will see No. 2 C.B. Dollaway, who is ranked eighth this week nationally, and No. 1 Shane Webster (No. 11 nationally) clash in a rematch of the Pac-10 final one year ago that Webster won.
Stanford, the host of the 2006 Pac-10 Championships, released updated rankings for the conference January 10 with seven Sun Devils holding positions in the Top 6 and the team moving ahead of Cal Poly for first in the team rankings. Jeremy Mendoza (125) Pat Payne (149), Brian Stith (157), Ryan Bader (197) and Cain Velasquez (285) are each ranked No. 1 in their respective weight classes while Patrick Pitsch (165) and C.B. Dollaway (184) each sit second.
Arizona State won the 2005 Pac-10 Wrestling Championships to not only capture its second crown in three years, but also the 15th in the history of the program. Brian Stith (157) upset Matt Gentry of Stanford, the defending Pac-10 and NCAA champion, to win his weight class and earn Outstanding Wrestler of the Championships. Cain Velasquez (heavyweight) also secured a title, the first of his career, before being named as the Pac-10 Wrestler of the Year. C.B. Dollaway (184) and Ryan Bader (197) each advanced to the finals of their respective weight classes before placing second. Thom Ortiz was selected Coach of the Year after leading the team to its 15th Pac-10 title.
Arizona State has three All-Americans returning to its lineup this season, including a pair of first-time honorees from a year ago. Last year, Brian Stith earned his first national accolade by placing sixth at 157 pounds while Cain Velasquez took fifth in the heavyweight division to earn his first honor. Ryan Bader is the Sun Devils' third All-American returning after earning the acclaim in his sophomore campaign of 2003-04.
RICHES WRESTLING COMPLEX
On Saturday, January 7, the Sun Devils dedicated their new training facility in a joint celebration with the gymnastic team. The Riches Wrestling Complex, the John Spini Women's Gymnastics Training Center and the Cavanagh/Dickey Olympic Sports Plaza were dedicated and showcased as fans and over 200 supporters toured two of the premier training centers in the nation while both teams showcased their teams by holding practices. The facilities are located off Sixth Street behind the Kajikawa Football Practice Fields and beyond the outfield wall at Farrington Softball Stadium.
WELLS FARGO ARENA
Wells Fargo Arena, which opened in 1974, is a 14,198-seat facility that plays host to Sun Devil wrestling and other ASU varsity teams, including men's and women's basketball, gymnastics and volleyball. In the time the wrestling program has called WFA home, the team has captured one national title, two runner-up finishes and 16 conference crowns, including 15 as members of the Pac-10. Individually, five Sun Devils earned national titles while 55 different athletes captured 103 conference crowns and 66 individuals combined to secure 94 All-America honors.
NEXT TIME OUT
The Sun Devils return to the road next weekend for a trio of Pac-10 duals as they head to California for three of their final four road contests in 2006. The weekend opens with Arizona Sate meeting No. 20 Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo for a 7 p.m. dual and Jan. 27. Then, on Jan. 29, ASU faces Cal State Bakersfield at noon in Bakersfield before heading to Fullerton to face Cal State Fullerton at 6 p.m.