Boise State Wins 2008 Pac-10 Wrestling Championship

EUGENE, Ore. The Boise State University wrestling team captured the Pacific-10 Wrestling Championships in Eugene, Ore., with 152.5 points.

“It was an awesome performance all weekend by all 10 of our wrestlers,” said head coach Greg Randall. “We had only one goal coming here and that was the championship and nothing else.”

Cory Fish captured the first individual Pac-10 Championship of his career as he defeated hometown hero Ryan Dunn of Oregon 3-1. Fish recorded a two point takedown at the 0:51 mark in the in the first period and never relinquished the lead. He gave up an escape point in the first period as Dunn narrowed the lead to 2-1 but Fish responded with an escape of his own at the 0:03 mark in the second period and held on for his first conference championship. This was the first conference title for a Boise State wrestler since Ben Cherrington captured the 157-pound title in 2006.

“This is the first title I have ever won in college,” Fish said. “It feels great to win the one that really counts.”

Nate Lee, at 174-pounds, earned the Broncos second individual title of the Pac-10 Championships as he defeated the No. 3 seed Tyler Bernacchi of UC Davis 4-3. The match was tied at 2-2 entering the third period before Lee gave up an escape to go down one. The two wrestlers grappled until the 1:03 mark in the when Lee shot for the leg and connected on a two point takedown to take the 4-3 advantage. Lee was able to thwart Bernacchi final attempts to score and held on for the victory. This was the first conference championship for Lee who took third place at in last year’s conference championship.

“I knew I was going to have a battle on my hands,” said Lee. “I knew my game plan, he knew his game plan, you can’t get shaken you just have to keep wrestling. The way our team has been training the past three weeks I knew I would last longer than him. Our whole team knew they were ready for this tournament and it has shown.”

At 157 pounds, Tyler Sherfey battled No. 1 seed Chase Pami of Cal Poly to overtime but fell in the first overtime period 3-1. Sherfey, the No. 3 seed, knocked off No. 2 seed Josh Zupancic of Stanford in the semi-finals to earn spot in the finals. Sherfey earned a trip to the NCAA Championships with his second place finish. This is the second consecutive season Sherfey has finished in the top three at the Pac-10 Championships at 157-pounds, he took third in 2007.

Freshman and No. 2 seed Kurt Swartz reached the finals of the Pac-10 Championships at 165 pounds where he fell to Patrick Pitsch of Arizona State 6-4. Even with the loss, Swartz captured second place at 165 pounds and a trip to the NCAA Wrestling Championships in St. Louis, Mo., Mar. 20-22.

In the battle of the night, Kirk Smith took on Brent Chriswell of Arizona State for the title at 184 pounds. Chriswell jumped to an early 4-0 lead as he tallied two takedowns in the first period. Entering the second period, Smith found himself down 4-1 but quickly picked up a point as he chose down and escaped to narrow the gap to 4-2. The two grappled back and forth in the second period as each wrestler racked up points but the gap remained at two points, 7-5. Smith started the third period on the offensive in an attempt to get two points to even the match. Smith surrendered an escape to Chriswell so allow himself the opportunity at a takedown and two points. Smith managed to get one in the third period to bring himself within one point at 8-7. Smith then gave up an uncontested escape to Chriswell to go down two points but could not take Chriswell down again to tie the match before time expired. Smith, who is ranked ninth in the country in the 184-pound weight class, will compete in the NCAA Wrestling Championships Mar. 20-22, after earning an automatic bid with his second place finish at the conference meet.

Adam Hall finished second in the 149 pound weight class. Hall won two matches Sunday, Mar. 2, to earn a trip to the finals. Hall had already earned a place at the NCAA Wrestling Championships and decided forfeited to Morgan Atkinson to prepare for the national championships. Hall became the third Boise State freshman, joining Smith and Swartz, to earn second place in their respective weight class.

Levi Jones captured the third place title at 141-pounds as he beat Nexi Delgado of UC Davis 8-5. Jones posted a 3-1 record at the conference championships to earn his third place finish.

Matt Casperson finished third at 197-pounds as he outscored Riley Orozco of Bakersfield 4-2. Casperson fell behind 0-1 before rattling off three straight points to take a 3-1 lead which he would not relinquish.

The final victory of the championships for the Broncos came at the heavyweight division where Nick Smith defeated Charlie Alexander of Oregon 5-2 to capture third place.

Freshman Allen Bartelli won two matches at the Pac-10 Championships to earn a seventh place finish in the 125 pound weight class. He defeated Andre Gonzalez 8-3 for his first victory and then dropped Joseph Lucas of Oregon 2-1 in the seventh place match.

“Winning the Pac-10 Championship has been this team’s goal all year,” said Fish. “It has been a great year for Boise State athletics with the wrestling team capturing a conference title, the men’s and women’s basketball teams earning a share of the conference champions, the tennis teams having a great start to the year and all the success of the gymnastics team.”

The 152.5 points recorded by the Broncos are the third-most in Pac-10 history and completed the largest one-year turnaround in Pac-10 history. The Broncos made up eight places in the standing from their 2007 finish (ninth) and nearly tripled their team score of 58.5 points.

This is fourth Pac-10 wrestling championship in Boise State history with all occurring since 2000. The Broncos also have fourth second place finishes in the same time period.

In total Boise State wrestlers recorded two first place finishes, four second place finishes and three third place finishes en route to the Pac-10 title.

The Broncos will send nine wrestlers to the NCAA Wrestling Championships Mar. 20-22, in St. Louis, Mo.

Team Scores

Boise State                 152.5

Stanford                      106.5

Oregon State              106.0

Arizona State              103.0

Cal State Fullerton      101.5

Cal Poly                       99.5

Cal State Bakersfield  94.5

UC Davis                     79.5

Oregon                        59.0

Portland State             16.0



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