Wrestling Espinoza Selected as Wild Card to NCAA Championships

Feb. 27, 2007

TEMPE, Ariz. - John Espinoza, a senior on the Arizona State University wrestling team, was awarded one of nine wild card selections into the NCAA Wrestling Championships, the Pac-10 Conference announced. In a vote of the 10 conference coaches, Espinoza was selected to join teammates Brian Stith (157), Patrick Pitsch (165), Greg Gifford (184) and Jason Trulson (197) in Auburn Hills, Mich., for the national tournament March 15-17.

Espinoza, competing at 125 pounds, posted a 2-2 record at the Pac-10 Wrestling Championships over the weekend in Bakersfield, Calif., falling to Marcos Orozco of UC Davis in the third-place bout, 8-6. Seeded third in the tournament, Espinoza opened with a 12-10 decision over Brandon Zoeteway (CS Bakersfield) before dropping a 4-2 decision to second-seeded Eric Stevenson (Oregon State) in the semifinals. In the consolation bracket, Espinoza scored a 5-1 decision over Cory Fish (Boise State) to earn a place in the third-place bout with Orozco.

Stith, Pitsch and Gifford each won individual titles in the tournament with both Stith and Pitsch earning their second conference crowns. Trulson placed third in his weight class to earn an automatic berth to the national meet.

Joining Espinoza as the nine wild card selections were Cal State Fullerton's T.J. Dillashaw (133) and Bryan Tice (165), Cal Poly's Dave Roberts (141) and Chase Pami (157), Stanford's Brian Perry (165) and Luke Feist (174), Bakersfield's Colton Nichols (heavyweight) and Boise State's Andy Patrick (heavyweight).

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