DAVIS, Calif. - The 2010 Pac-10 Conference Wrestling Championships couldn't have turned out much more exciting. Unfortunately for the Boise State wrestlers, most of the excitement was had at their expense.
Boise State fell just short of winning its' third consecutive Pac-10 title, Saturday (Feb. 27) night, as Oregon State (127 points) topped the Broncos (125) by just two points in the final team standings. After sitting in third place throughout most of the weekend, Boise State made a strong push during the final session with two individual championships and two third-place finishes.
The effort would leave the Broncos just short of a dramatic comeback, however, as a loss at 174 pounds would all but seal Boise State's runner-up fate. In the 174-pound title match, Boise State's Nate Lee dropped a heartbreaking 3-2 decision to Colby Covington of Oregon State, which put OSU nearly out of reach.
No. 1 nationally ranked Kirk Smith helped narrow the final margin for the Broncos as he won the 184-pound title with a pin (4:46) against Michael Larson of Cal State Bakersfield. The win marked Smith's second straight conference title. Smith cruised to this year's championship with two wins by fall and one major decision victory. With the win today, Smith remains a perfect 24-0 on the season.
Joining Smith on top of the podium was 157-pounder Adam Hall, who captured his first individual Pac-10 championship with a 5-1 decision over Cal Poly's Chase Pami. Hall's win avenged a loss to Pami in last year's title match. He improves his overall record on the season to 27-2.
The Broncos also concluded Saturday with two third-place finishers, in Jason Chamberlain and Matt Casperson. Chamberlain placed third at 149 pounds with a 12-3 major decision win over Nicholas Jordan of Cal State Fullerton. Casperson earned his third place finish with a 7-3 decision against Oregon State's Chad Hanke.
As a team, Boise State finished the weekend with five wrestlers in the top-three for their respective weight class, including two champions, one runner-up and two third-place finishers.
The Broncos will now turn their attention to the NCAA National Championships, which will be held March 18-20 in Omaha, Neb. Boise State had six wrestlers qualify for nationals following their performance at the Pac-10 Championships. Currently, Jason Chamberlain (149 pounds), Adam Hall (157), Nate Lee (174), Kirk Smith (184), Matt Casperson (197) and Sam Zylstra (HWT) have earned NCAA tournament berths.
The NCAA Division I Wrestling Committee still will select 46 at-large qualifiers, which will be announced on March 10.
Casperson punches NCAA ticket in exciting fashion
Boise State 197-pounder Matt Casperson punched his ticket to the NCAA tournament in exciting fashion late Saturday evening, as he beat Ryan Smith (Cal Poly) in the "true-second" match. Because the Pac-10 was awarded just two automatic qualifiers for 197 pounds, the two had to wrestle-off for the true second place finish.
Casperson didn't need long to deliver, as he up-ended Smith and slammed him down for a pin just 00:50 into the match.
157 - Adam Hall (BSU) def. Chase Pami (Cal Poly) 5-1
174 - Colby Covington (Oregon State) def. Nate Lee (BSU) 3-2
184 - Kirk Smith (BSU) fall Michael Larson (CSU Bakersfield) 4:46
149 - Jason Chamberlain (BSU) def. Nicholas Jordan (CSU Fullerton) 12-3
165 - Kyle Deberry (Arizona State) def. Michael Cuthbertson (BSU) 10-4
197 - Matt Casperson (BSU) def. Chad Hanke (Oregon State) 7-3
125 - Ryan Mango (Stanford) def. Alan Bartelli (BSU) 8-5
141 - Michael Mangrum (Oregon State) def. Levi Jones (BSU) 4-3
149 - Jason Chamberlain (BSU) def. Roger Pena (Oregon State) 6-1
165 - Michael Cuthbertson (BSU) def. Steven Vasquez (Cal Poly) 8-2
197 - Matt Casperson (BSU) fall Abraham Otrambo (UC Davis) 2:56
285 - Kurt Klimek (CSU Fullerton) dec. Sam Zylstra (BSU) 6-5 (2OT)
125 - Frank Lomas (CSU Bakersfield) def. Alan Bartelli (BSU) 5-3
141 - Chris Drouin (ASU) def. Levi Jones (BSU) 9-2
285 - Sam Zylstra (BSU) def. Eric Nye (ASU) 6-5
133 - Ben DeMuelle (BSU) def. Aaron Navarrete (CSU Fullerton) 5-1