Back-to-Back: Wrestling Claims 16th Pac-10 Wrestling Championship
Feb. 27, 2006
PALO ALTO, Calif. - The team title came down to the second-to-last bout of the tournament, but a huge victory by Ryan Bader at 197 pounds secured the Pac-10 Championships for the Arizona State University wrestling team Monday night inside Maples Pavilion in Palo Alto, Calif. The Sun Devils concluded the tournament with three individual champions and 118.0 points to secure their 16th Pac-10 title and the second in as many years with Cal Poly placing second with 115.0 points. The crown tied ASU with Oregon State for the most Pac-10 wrestling crowns in conference history with 16 all-time.
In the first bout of the evening featuring a Sun Devil wrestler, No. 2 Brian Stith (157) took on No. 1 Ben Cherrington of Boise State. After a scoreless first period, Stith started the second down and escaped after a scramble that almost scored him a reversal. With the score 1-0 in Stith's favor, Cherrington chose down to start the third and escaped quickly to knot the score. In a controversial finish, both men scrambled before Stith was called pinned at 5:21. The loss for Stith was just his third on the season and snapped a five-bout win streak in the conference tournament.
At 165, No. 3 Patrick Pitsch took and early 2-0 lead with a takedown less than one minute into the bout and added another one minute later. His foe, No. 5 Brian Busby of CS Bakersfield escaped both takedowns and saw the first end with Pitsch leading, 6-2, following a takedown with five seconds remaining. Both men started neutral with neither scoring in the second before Busby chose top to start the third, sending Pitsch to the mat. In the final period, Pitsch was held on his back for three near falls to cut the his lead to 6-5, but Pitsch would escape with one minute remaining for a 7-5 lead and the eventual final score. Pitsch claimed his first conference title and the first for ASU at the weight class since 2003 when Nick Frost won his first of two crowns (he would go on to win the 184 title the following year).
The 184 bout brought about a rematch of the final at the 2005 event that saw No. 1 Shane Webster of Oregon win over No. 2 C.B. Dollaway in a 15-5 major decision. This year, it looked to be more the same as Dollaway found himself down 8-3 at the end of the first period and trailing 18-7 at the end of two. In the final period, Dollaway started on top and picked up two near fall points to cut the lead to 18-9, but Webster added more points to win a 24-11 major decision.
With the team title on the line, No. 1 Bader met up with No. 2 Matt Monteiro of Cal Poly in the seventh installment of this close rivalry at 197 with neither man scoring in the first period. With the winner claiming the team title for his squad, the second opened with Bader down before he earned an escape 16 seconds in. With no other scores in the period, the third started with Bader up 1-0 and both in the neutral start. In the third, both men looked for offense, but Bader scored the takedown with 30 seconds remaining to win, 3-0, and secure the team title for ASU. His win gave him 116 for his career and marked the third time he has captured the 197 class in the Pac-10.
The final bout of the tournament saw No. 1 Cain Velasquez take on No. 2 Ty Watterson of Oregon State with the two big men exchanging strong pushes in the opening period with no scoring recorded. In the second, Velasquez opened on the top position and rode Watterson for the entire two minutes to keep the score at 0-0. In the third, Velasquez started in the down position and escaped 11 seconds into the stanza for a 1-0 lead. Following a stalling penalty point, Velasquez scored a takedown for the 4-0 lead and, after an escape by Watterson, won 5-1 with the riding time point.
The team race saw the finals open with the Sun Devils trailing by 1.5 points (113.5-112.0). With a win a 125, the Mustangs moved ahead by 3.5 points, but could not add more at 141. Then, Stith took the mat to start two straight ASU bouts, but lost and did not earn any points for the team. Pitsch followed with a 7-5 victory to claim two team points and bring down the Mustangs' lead to 1.5 again. Following no additional team points in Dollaway's loss, Bader came through huge for the team as his two team points put the Sun Devils on top of CPU, 115.5 to 115.0, and gave ASU its 16th Pac-10 title. The final bout of the evening feature Velasquez, but no Mustang foe, so CPU could not overtake the Sun Devils.
Next up for the Sun Devils is the 2006 NCAA Wrestling Championships, slated for March 16-18 in Oklahoma City, Okla. All five finalists will join Jeremy Mendoza (125) in the national tournament.
2006 Pac-10 Wrestling Championships
Arizona State Results ONLY
157 - #2 Brian Stith (2-1, Second Place)
Championship Bout - #1 Ben Cherrington (Boise State) pinned #2 Stith, 5:21
165 - #3 Patrick Pitsch (3-0, 2006 Pac-10 Champion)
Championships Bout - #3 Pitsch dec. #5 Brian Busby (CS Bakersfield), 7-5
184 - #2 C.B. Dollaway (3-1, Second Place)
Championship Bout - #1 Shane Webster (Oregon) majors #2 Dollaway, 24-11
197 - #1 Ryan Bader (3-0, 2006 Pac-10 Champion)
Championship Bout - #1 Bader dec. #2 Matt Monteiro (Cal Poly), 3-0
285 - #1 Cain Velasquez (4-0, 2006 Pac-10 Champion)
Championships Bout - #1 Velasquez dec. #2 Ty Watterson (Oregon State), 5-1
Final Team Standings
1. Arizona State - 118.0 points
2. Cal Poly - 115.0 points
3. Boise State - 97.0 points
4. Oregon State - 93.0 points
5. CS Bakersfield - 85.0 points
6. UC Davis - 78.5 points
7. Stanford - 54.5 points
8. Oregon - 49.0 points
9. CS Fullerton - 41.5 points
10. Portland State - 1.0 point