Boise State Cruises to Pac-10 Wrestling Championship

March 2, 2009


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By Tom Sheridan, Special to

FULLERTON, Calif. - Boise State won its second straight Pac-10 Wrestling Championship with a dominant performance that sent seven wrestlers to the 2009 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships in St. Louis. The Broncos claimed six individual Pac-10 championships and one-second place qualifying bid in Monday’s championship round finals at Titan Gym.

In the second day of competition Boise State continued to pile up the points and finished with 172.5. Oregon State finished in second place with a total score of 128. Cal State Bakersfield came in third with 124.5. UC Davis ended with 102.5, Arizona State had 101, Cal Poly scored 89.5, Stanford had 81.5, Cal State Fullerton finished with 72.5 and Portland State ended up with 32.

Cal State Bakersfield earned four births to the NCAA Championships by claiming two individual Pac-10 titles and two second-place finishes. Arizona State will send two wrestlers to the NCAA Championships after winning one individual Pac-10 title and one second-place finish. Cal Poly took home the only other Pac-10 individual title and will be sending two wrestlers to the NCAA Championships. UC Davis and Oregon State will each send two wrestlers to the NCAA Championships while Cal State Fullerton will send one. Stanford and Portland State did not have any wrestlers qualify. A total of 20 automatic bids to the NCAA Championships were awarded to the Pac-10 Conference. The remaining at-large bids to the tournament will be announced March 11.

In the 125-pound bracket Arizona State’s No. 1 seed, Anthony Robles, cruised to a Pac-10 title and an Automatic birth to NCAA Championships with a 17-1 technical fall victory (6:20) over No. 3 seed Brandon Zoeteway from Cal State Bakersfield. 

“I think I wrestled really well…I just wanted to finish strong,” Robles said. “When I came here I had three goals: I wanted to win all my matches, I wanted to score the most points for my team, and I wanted to win OW [Outstanding Wrestler].”

With three victories by fall or technical fall, Robles accomplished his first two goals. Robles completed his third goal at the end of the night when he was named the Outstanding Wrestler of the 2009 Pac-10 Wrestling Championships.

“If he puts his mind to it he can do anything,” Arizona State head coach Thom Ortiz said.

Two other wrestlers also received bids at 125. Zoeteway earned one for finishing second, and Marcos Orozco of UC Davis got one for finishing third. Orozco battled his way through the consolation round and won his match by a 7-3 decision over Boise State’s Brian Owen.

At 133 top-seed Andrew Hochstrasser was the first Boise State wrestler to punch his ticket to the NCAA Championships with a decisive 6-1 win by decision over sixth-seeded Kelly Kubec from Oregon State. Kubec’s second-place finish got him into the NCAA Championships. Kubec was the lowest seed to earn a bid to St. Louis. Cal Poly’s Filip Novachkov claimed third-place and earned his spot into the NCAA’s by taking out Brandon Low from UC Davis with 9-5 decision in sudden victory.

141 was the last weight class to award three automatic bids to the NCAA Championships. Elijah Nacita from Cal State Bakersfield was the first No. 2 seed to upset a No. 1 in Monday’s finals. Nacita won his first Pac-10 title with a 9-8 decision over top-seeded Chris Drouin from Arizona State. 

“That’s a huge win for him and it was a good win for our team,” Cal State Bakersfield head coach T.J. Kerr said. “We put in everything all year for this, we can perform better than people think we can.”

Cal State Fullerton’s lone NCAA qualifier was No. 4 seed Adin Duenas. Duenas won a convincing 7-2 decision over 2008 Pac-10 Champion Cory Fish from Boise State.

“It was a breakthrough match for him,” Cal State Fullerton head coach Dan Hicks said. “He works so hard but he’s always comes up one short, this time he did it.”

In the 149-pound bracket only two automatic births to the NCAA Championships were allotted. Boise State’s Jason Chamberlain made it two in a row for the No. 2 seeds when he upset the top-seed from Oregon State, Heinrich Barnes, with a 6-5 decision in the first tiebreaker. Chamberlain got the automatic bid, but Barnes had to wrestle the winner from the consolation bracket, Barrett Abel from UC Davis, in a match to decide true second. Barnes pulled out the victory over Abel and earned his spot into the NCAA Championships.

“It felt good to come back and win,” Barnes said. “I knew I had to go out there and finish…It will be my first and last time going [to the NCAA’s] so I have to give it my all.”

At 157, Pac-10 defending champion Chase Pami of Cal Poly came into Monday night’s final as an underdog to top-seed Adam Hall from Boise State. He left as a two time defending Pac-10 champion. Pami pulled off the third No. 2 upset in a row when he won a 4-3 decision in the second tiebreaker over Hall.

“Coming in I didn’t really feel like the defending Pac-10 champion,” Pami said. “It’s a big mental barrier for me to break through. He beat me twice already this year, so making it happen was pretty awesome.”

Hall bounced back in the match for true second when he beat consolation bracket winner Lucas Espericueta from Stanford to earn a ticket to the NCAA Championships in St. Louis.

The 165-pound bracket only had one automatic bid qualify for the NCAA Championships. No. 1 seed Tyler Sherfey from Boise State claimed that spot with 4-1 win by decision over Stanford’s No. 2 seed Nick Amuchastegui.

At 174 there was only one automatic qualifying spot as well. Top-seeded Nathan Lee from Boise State defended his Pac-10 championship and punched his ticket to the NCAA Championships with a 5-2 win by decision over the No. 2 seed from Arizona State, Eric Starks. 

“I was a little nervous but I just went out there with the mindset that he had nothing to lose and I had everything to lose,” Lee said. 

In the 184-pound bracket Boise State’s No. 1 seeded Kirk Smith earned the only automatic bid to the NCAA Championships with a tightly contested 2-1 decision over Cal State Bakersfield’s Riley Orozco.

The 197-pounders were allotted two spots to the NCAA Championships. Top-seeded Brent Chriswell from Boise State won his second Pac-10 title – his first came at 184-pounds in 2008 for Arizona State. Chriswell was the first to qualify with a 4-2 decision in the second tiebreaker over second-seeded Brandon Halsey of Cal State Bakersfield. Halsey would not be denied his chance at an NCAA title though, and picked up a win in the match for true second against consolation bracket winner Luke Feist from Stanford.

The heavyweights at 285 also got two automatic bids to the NCAA Championships. No. 1 seed Mitch Monteiro from Cal State Bakersfield squeaked out a 4-3 decision over Oregon State’s No. 2 seed Clayton Jack. 

It felt good, like I got a monkey off my back,” Monteiro said. 

The loss by Jack set up a match for true second with consolation bracket winner, No. 5 seed Ricardo Alcala from UC Davis. Alcala pulled off the upset over Jack and earned his spot in the NCAA Championships.

The Pac-10 qualifiers will compete in 2009 NCAA Division I Championships in St. Louis on March 19.

The qualifiers:
125 - Robles, Brandon Zoetewey of CSUB and Marcos Orozco of UC Davis
133 - Hochstrasser, Kelly Kubec of Oregon State and Filip Novachkov of Cal Poly
141 - Nacita, Chris Drouin of ASU and Adin Duenas of Cal State Fullerton
149 - Chamberlain and Heinrich Barnes of Oregon State
157 - Pami and Adam Hall of Boise State
165 - Sherfey
174 - Lee
184 - Smith
197 - Chriswell and Brandon Halsey of CSUB
285 - Monteiro and Ricardo Alcala of UC Davis

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