Wrestling Sends Five to Finals as Team Holds Lead After Day One
Feb. 26, 2006
PALO ALTO, Calif. - Through one day of competition at the 2006 Pac-10 Wrestling Championships, the Arizona State University wrestling team stands in first place overall as five of its 10 wrestlers advanced to the individual finals at the event being held inside Maples Pavilion in Palo Alto, Calif. In the second session of the tournament, the Sun Devils won eight of 11 bouts, including five of six semifinal bouts, to score 103 points. Cal Poly is second with 90 and is followed by Cal State Bakersfield (74), Boise State (73.5) and Oregon State (70).
In the championship semifinals, No. 2 Brian Stith (157) scored a 7-0 decision over No. 3 Tony Hook of Oregon State to advance where he will meet No. 1 Ben Cherrington of Boise State. Stith is no stranger to being in this position as he upset the No. 1 seeded Matt Gentry of Stanford last year in the finals to win his first title. No. 3 Patrick Pitsch (165) advanced to his first final as he scored a 4-1 decision over No. 2 Ray Blake of Stanford in the semifinals. Pitsch, who finished third one year ago, will face No. 5 Brian Busby of CSUB for the title.
ASU's three heaviest weights all came out on top as well. No. 2 C.B. Dollaway (184) scored a 10-0 major decision over Cal Poly's No. 3 Ryan Halsey in the semifinals to set up a rematch of last year's final against No. 1 Shane Webster of Oregon. No. 1 Ryan Bader (197) won his semifinal, 2-0, over No. 4 Casey Walsh of BSU to set up a familiar meeting in the finals as he will take on CPU's No. 2 Matt Monteiro. Bader and Monteiro have met on several occasions, including two years ago when Monteiro competed for CSUB.
The final Sun Devil finalist will be No. 1 Cain Velasquez (285) who breezed into the bout with an 18-7 major decision over No. 4 Andy Patrick of BSU. Velasquez will meet No. 2 Ty Watterson of Oregon State. The lone semifinalist that did not win was No. 1 Jeremy Mendoza (125), who suffered a 6-2 setback to No. 4 Tanner Gardner of Stanford.
In the consolation draw, No. 4 Pat Payne (149) pinned his way back into the hunt for a place at the national meet as he scored two falls in a row to set up a meeting with No. 3 Jeff Owens of CPU in the consolation semifinals. A win will see him battle for third place while a loss will send him to the battle for fifth. Joining him in the same situation is No. 6 Jason Robbins (141). Robbins scored a 9-2 decision over Jordan Brock of BSU.
Monday's morning session will see the conclusion of the consolation bouts, including bouts for third and fifth places. The finals will begin at 6 p.m. in the final session of the event.