WRESTLING JOURNAL #14: This Week in ASU Wrestling with Aaron Simpson

March 14, 2006

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3/14/06 - Tournament Time!
It is time. The seeds are set, the brackets drawn and now, the only thing to do, is just wrestle! 'One at a time' is how you must approach this tournament, or any tournament for that matter, but this one is special. How many times do you see the number one seed get knocked off in the first round? How many top-ranked wrestlers go into this tournament the favorite, yet fail to even place? It happens every year. Somebody is overlooked, somebody is not focused and then BAM, there is an upset in the making!

Believe me, our guys have been preached to go and win that first match, get themselves into the tournament, take care of the things they can control and cut out distractions. We have some very good draws and are seeded quite well. Jeremy Mendoza drew a match of irony as he will wrestle Justin Staylor from Virginia Tech. If the name Staylor sounds familiar, it is because Justin is the younger brother to Christian, who once wrestled for us. Jeremy and Christian were workout partners for a couple of years and still remain good friends. Looks like Jeremy is going to have to beat up Christian's little brother! I like it!

The seeds were nice to Brian Stith. He was seeded 10, which in my opinion is about nine places too low. Brian will begin the tournament by wrestling Jake Yost of Tennessee Chattanooga in the first round. UTC has some good coaching with the likes of Joe Seay, Sammy Henson and Chris Bono and we expect a very tough match out of Yost, but Brian is ready.

Patrick Pitsch has an opponent from The Citadel, who we know nothing about. This isn't something to worry about as Pat is ready to battle. He always flips the switch when something is on the line. He will not look past this kid.

Now we get into the big guys. C.B. Dollaway drew Rusty Blackmon from Oklahoma State in his first match and also comes in as the 10 seed. C.B. wrestled Blackmon earlier in the year at the National Duals and came away with a victory, but had to really wrestle hard to get the win. We have video on it and have studied it. We expect C.B. to compete hard and take it to the Cowboy.

Ryan Bader received a eighth seed in his final NCAA tournament. Bader has been here three times before, placing as high as fourth two years ago and barely losing to eventual national champion Damian Hahn of Minnesota by one point. Bader will wrestle Air Force's Brenden McLean in the first round who is another opponent we know nothing about. Bader will just have to go out and do what he does best ...WIN!

Finally, Cain Velasquez was given the fourth seed. He has been ranked fourth in the country since the beginning of the year. He will wrestle Penn State's Joel Edwards in the first round. Cain wrestled and beat Edwards earlier in the year at the Reno Tournament of Champions. We also have watched the video of this match, just to make sure we have him scouted well. At this point, you must leave no stone unturned. Cain will approach this match like he does every match and that is to dominate. Cain just loves to wrestle and hates to lose.

Like I have stated in past journals, this is the greatest tournament ever. We are excited to compete and cannot wait until Thursday morning! Stay tuned and GO DEVILS!

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