CORVALLIS, Ore. - The Boise State wrestling team captured the sixth Pac-10 Conference team title in program history, Sunday (Feb. 27) night, thanks to four individual champions and two runner-up finishes in the seven team tournament held at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Ore.
The Broncos held off Oregon State at the top of the team standings as Boise State finished the tournament with 147.0 total points. The Beavers fought to a close second with 137.5 points.
"It feels great to bring [the title] back," head coach Greg Randall said Sunday night. "Oregon State took it from us last year, so it is nice to come up here and take it back. For the program it means we are continually moving on, able to contend for a Pac-10 Championship every year."
Sunday proved to be a drama filled day for both Boise State and Oregon State, as the teams went back and forth in the team standings throughout the final session. The Broncos had built a slight advantage heading into the championship session, leading Oregon State (125.5 points) with 126.0 points. Just two matches into the final session Oregon State overtook Boise State however, as the Beavers moved in front with 129.5 points while the Broncos remained at 126.0.
With their team needing an answer more than ever, Andrew Hochstrasser, Jason Chamberlain, Adam Hall and Kurt Swartz responded winning four titles in five matches to secure the top spot in the final standings.
"They knew what they had to do. They knew their back was against the wall. They were winning for themselves, but they knew if they did that the team title would take care of itself."
Hochstrasser struck first for Boise State as he wrestled to the second individual Pac-10 title of his career at 133 pounds. Hochstrasser met Garrett Drucker of Oregon State on Sunday night, who he had already beat twice during the regular season. Hochstrasser showed why he is the nation's current No. 2 ranked wrestler at 133 pounds, scoring three take downs and one near fall en route to an 11-0 major decision. Hochstrasser won his first individual conference title as a redshirt sophomore in 2009.
Chamberlain helped extend Boise State's team lead two matches later at 149 pounds, as he beat Scott Sakaguchi of Oregon State by 5-2 decision to win the second Pac-10 title of his career as well. Chamberlain gained an early 3-0 advantage over Sakaguchi, but a pair of escapes put the match back within reach early in the final period. Chamberlain would clinch his fifth win of the season over Sakaguchi with a takedown near the end of regulation (00:15) to give the Broncos their second individual title of the night. Chamberlain won his first Pac-10 championship as a freshman in 2009, and placed third at the conference tournament in 2010.
Adam Hall gave Boise State's fan base its most thrilling match of the day next at 157 pounds as he looked to defend his 2010 Pac-10 title against Bubba Jenkins of Arizona State. Jenkins beat Hall earlier this season, 12-4, in an exhibition match that did not count toward their official records. Just a month later Hall exacted his revenge with a 2-1 win in overtime at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invite.
On Sunday it was Hall that would find a way to grind out a triple overtime slugfest that finally ended as Hall finished the third OT with a 00:07 riding time advantage. By rule, a riding time advantage after triple overtime is an automatic point. As the two wrestlers sat in a 2-2 deadlock, the riding advantage point helped Hall remain a perfect 23-0 on the season.
"Hochstrasser, Chamberlain and Hall have had a target on them all year long. They showed today why they are some of the best wrestlers to ever put on a Boise State uniform."
Swartz capped Boise State's run in the team standings next at 165 pounds where he scored a 4-0 decision over Trevor Hall of Cal State Bakersfield. Swartz, a redshirt senior, wrestled to his first Pac-10 Conference title after scoring a takedown and a reversal in the first two periods. He held off Hall for a scoreless third period to clinch the win.
Swartz's victory gave Boise State a 12.5 point lead over Oregon State with just two matches remaining, and because the Beavers could only score up to 12 points left in the tournament his win clinched team title. The win also secured an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament for Swartz, as the Pac-10 was only allocated one spot at 165 pounds.
"Swartz did a great job. He had to win this tournament to even qualify for the NCAA tournament. He knew that coming in and got it done."
Swartz is joined by six other Broncos who also wrestled to automatic NCAA tournament bids on Sunday. Aside from Hochstrasser, Chamberlain, Hall and Swartz, Alan Bartelli, Levi Jones and J.T. Felix also clinched NCAA bids. Bartelli did so with a third-place finish at 125 pounds, while Jones earned his spot with a runner-up finish at 141. Felix also clinched with a second-place finish at heavyweight.
After Boise State and Oregon State, the final team standings were; Arizona State (117.0 points), Stanford (114.0), Cal State Bakersfield (97.0), Cal Poly (96.5) and Cal State Fullerton (61.5).
This marks the fourth conference team title for head coach Greg Randall. He also led the Broncos to the Pac-10 championship in 2004, 2008 and 2009. Boise State won Pac-10 titles under former head coach Mike Young in 2000 and 2002.
Next on the schedule for Boise State is a three week lay-off before heading to Philadelphia, Pa. for the 2011 NCAA Championships, March 17-19. The Broncos will have to wait a little over a week to find out how many at-large bids they will receive to nationals.
Fans that would like to purchase a piece of Pac-10 Championship history can visit http://shop.pac-10.com/COLLEGE_Pac-10_Gear/browse/FeaturedProduct/623278 to buy an official Boise State Pac-10 Wrestling Champion t-shirt.