Wrestling Sits Fourth with Five Alive in Championships Bracket

March 16, 2006

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. - The 2006 NCAA Wrestling Championships got underway Thursday morning inside the Ford Center in Oklahoma City, Okla., with five of the six members of the Arizona State University program entered into the competition winning their opening bouts including two by fall. Early in the tournament, the Sun Devils have 13 team points are tied with three other teams for fourth place with Oklahoma State leading the way with 17. Hofstra (16) and Oklahoma (13.5) round out the Top 3.

Jeremy Mendoza, seeded seventh at 125 pounds, opened the day with a commanding 5-0 decision over Justin Staylor of Virginia Tech to advance in the tournament. Mendoza, who recorded two takedowns and rode Staylor for much of the bout, now will meet No. 10 Paul Donahoe of Nebraska in the second round.

No. 10 Brian Stith followed with a victory of his own as he defeated Chattanooga's Jacob Yost, 7-1, in the 157 bracket first round. The win for Stith sets up a rematch with conference rival Tony Hook of Oregon State, who Stith has defeated twice this season. After a 7-0 victory in a January dual, Stith then won, 4-0, in the semifinals of the Pac-10 Championships three weeks ago.

The 165 weight class produced the lone loss of the tournament for the Sun Devils in the morning session as No. 10 Patrick Pitsch sustained a 10-4 defeat at the hands of Daniel Thompson of The Citadel. Pitsch falls to the consolation rounds where he must win four bouts in a row in order to become an All-American and will open with Jason Cardillo of Slippery Rock.

In the upper weights, all three Sun Devils were victorious while picking up bonus points for the team score. At 184, No. 10 C.B. Dollaway scored a 14-3 major decision over Rusty Blackmon of Oklahoma State in the opening round for his second defeat of the Cowboy this season. The win now pits Dollaway against No. 7 Kurt Backes of Iowa State, who Dollaway pinned in his first bout back this season after sitting the first half of the year.

No. 8 Ryan Bader opened his final NCAA tournament with pin at 2:18 over Brenden McLean of Air Force to bring about a rematch of his own. In the second round, Bader will meet No. 9 Tyrone Byrd of Illinois, who Bader defeated at the Las Vegas Invitational earlier in the season.

The final Sun Devil to compete was No. 4 Cain Velasquez and he had an easy time in the his opener as he needed just 1:06 to pin Joel Edwards of Penn State. Velasquez now faces Paul Weibel of Lehigh in the second round.

The championships continue Thursday night with the second round of the championship bracket as well as two rounds of consolation bouts. The tournament runs through Saturday night.

2006 NCAA Wrestling Championships
Arizona State Results ONLY

Session I
125 - #7 Jeremy Mendoza (1-0)
Champ First
- #7 Mendoza dec. Justin Staylor (Virginia Tech), 5-0
Champ Second - #7 Mendoza vs. #10 Paul Donahoe (Nebraska)

157 - #10 Brian Stith (1-0)
Champ First
- #10 Stith dec. Jacob Yost (UT-Chattanooga), 7-1
Champ Second - #10 Stith vs. Tony Hook (Oregon State)

165 - #10 Patrick Pitsch (0-1)
Champ First
- Daniel Thompson (The Citadel) dec. #10 Pitsch, 10-4
Conso First - #10 Pitsch vs. Jason Cardillo (Slippery Rock)

184 - #10 C.B. Dollaway (1-0)
Champ First
- #10 Dollaway majors Rusty Blackmon (Oklahoma State), 14-3
Champ Second - #10 Dollaway vs. #7 Kurt Backes (Iowa State)

197 - #8 Ryan Bader (1-0)
Champ First
- #8 Bader pins Brenden McLean (Air Force), 2:18
Champ Second - #8 Bader vs. #9 Tyrone Byrd (Illinois)

285 - #4 Cain Velasquez (1-0)
Champ First
- #4 Velasquez pins Joel Edwards (Penn State), 1:06
Champ Second - #4 Velasquez vs. Paul Weibel (Lehigh)

Team Standings (Following Session I)
1. Oklahoma State [17.0]
2. Hofstra [16.0]
3. Oklahoma [13.5]
4. Arizona State [13.0]
4. Iowa [13.0]
4. Minnesota [13.0]
4. Wisconsin [13.0]

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