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2012-13 Preview: Oregon State expected to defend Pac-12 championship

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Updated: September 26, 2012

This is part of WIN’s on-going preseason look at all ten NCAA-qualifying conferences/tournaments.

Click here to read WIN’s other conference previews.

PREVIEWING THE 2012-13 PAC 12 CONFERENCE

Qualifying Tournament for the NCAA:

March 2, 2013 @ Arizona State University in Tempe, Ariz.

Last Year’s Pac-12 Championship Finish in Boise, Idaho:

1. Oregon State, 138; 2. Boise State, 129; 3. Stanford, 125; 4. Arizona State, 102.5; 5. Cal Poly, 98; 6. CSU-Bakersfield, 78.5

Last Year’s Pac 12 Performance in the NCAA Tournament:

One year after the Pac 12 sent 34 wrestlers to the 2011 NCAAs, only 25 represented the six conference schools in St. Louis, last March. But quality ruled the three days for those wrestlers as seven earned All-American honors. Oregon State had the most Top-8 performers in fourth-place Clayton Jack (Hwt), fifth-place Mike Mangrum (141) and seventh-place Scott Sakaguchi (149). Meanwhile, Stanford and Cal Poly each featured two All-Americans: the Cardinal’s second-place Nick Amuchastegui (174) and fifth-place Ryan Mango (133), and the Mustangs’ third-place finisher Boris Novachkov and Ryan DesRoches, who finished eighth at 184. Of these All-Americans, only OSU’s Mangrum and Sakaguchi return in 2012-13.

 

WIN’S 2012-13 PAC 12 CONFERENCE TEAM RACE PREDICTION

1. Oregon State — In six years, Jim Zalesky turned the Beavers into the Pac-12 team to beat by leading OSU to three conference championships, including last year when he sent eight wrestlers to the NCAAs. Oregon State finished in tenth, the best finish at OSU since 2001. And Oregon State has made sure the former Hawkeye who won three NCAA titles as a wrestler and three more as a coach will be in Corvallis until at least 2016 after he signed a three-year extension with Oregon State.

Oregon State’s Mike Mangrum (top) led the nation’s 141-pounders with 38 wins last winter and the Beaver defeated Ohio State’s Hunter Stieber for the Las Vegas Open title and the fifth-place match in last year’s NCAA Championships.

And one should rank the Beavers among the nation’s best teams considering five wrestlers return from St. Louis, including a pair of All-Americans in senior Mike Mangrum (5th at 141) and junior Scott Sakaguchi (7th at 149), who became the school’s first All-Americans since 1998. After going 38-5 last year, Mangrum — the native of Auburn, Wash. — has compiled a 94-27 career mark. Sakaguchi, from Clovis, Calif., enjoyed his second NCAA tournament, where he lost to the eventual champ Frank Molinaro in the second round but came back to win three wrestlebacks, including a 4-2 overtime win over Oklahoma State’s Jamal Parks to clinch his first AA honor.

Meanwhile, Zalesky also returns three more national qualifiers in 157-pound junior Roger Pena, 184-pound senior Ty Vinson and 197-pound sophomore Taylor Meeks.

And while two-time All-American Clayton Jack has graduated, the Beavers will have plenty of experience from junior Chad Hanke, who took an Olympic redshirt last season after wrestling two years at 197 pounds, compiling a 52-25 record.

2. Boise State — Two years ago Boise State finished ninth in the 2011 NCAAs — a school-record for the Idaho school. But the Broncos dropped to 51st last year?

Competing with a much younger team then in 2011 when coach Greg Randall featured a senior-dominated team which included All-Americans like Kirk Smith, Andrew Hochstrasser and Adam Hall, Boise State sent just four wrestlers to the 2012 NCAAs. And BSU did not produce an All-American for the first time since 2007.

Last year’s team also did not feature 2011 All-American Jason Chamberlain (third place) who took an Olympic redshirt. But the senior from Springville, Utah, has returned for his final college season with a 77-20 career record and a No. 1 preseason ranking by WIN.

All four of last year’s NCAA competitors return, including seniors Brian Owen (133), George Ivanov (157) and Brent Chriswell (197) in addition to 184-pound junior Jacob Swartz. Ivanov was a transfer from NCAA Div. II Nebraska-Omaha, where he earned All-American honors. Chriswell, who made stops at Purdue and Arizona State before coming to Boise State, finished sixth nationally three years ago before he sat out in 2010 and ’11. In St. Louis at last year’s NCAAs, he went 0-2 to finish the year 14-4.

3. Arizona State — The Sun Devils saw a similar drop last year when they finished 56th in St. Louis, one year after coach Shawn Charles saw his team finish sixth in 2011. Two years ago, a pair of Devils — 125-pound Anthony Robles and 157-pound Bubba Jenkins — won national championships. In 2012, only three ASU wrestlers qualified for St. Louis. And while both Shane McGough (133) and Nathan Hoffer (141) failed to win a match, heavyweight Levi Cooper came within one victory of stepping on the All-American stand when the former transfer from Cal State Bakersfield lost a first-round match but came back to win three consolation bouts before losing in the Round of 12.

4. Stanford — For the first time since 2008, the Cardinal featured multiple All-Americans in 174-pound runner-up Nick Amuchastegui and 125-pound Ryan Mango, who finished fifth at 125 pounds. Unfortunately for coach Jason Borrelli, neither All-American will be available in 2012-13 … as Amuchastegui, a three-time All-American and two-time finalist has graduated and Mango, who finished sixth in 2011, will redshirt this winter. In their absence, a pair of Cardinal wrestlers earned at least 17 wins: 174-pound Spence Patrick and heavyweight Dan Scherer.

5. Cal Poly — Coach Brendan Buckley returns for his second year at the helm … but without two All-Americans in 2012 after Boris Novachkov (third at 141) and Ryan DesRoches (8th at 174) have graduated. But the Mustangs do have a wrestler with recent NCAA experience in sophomore Dominic Kastl, who is dropping down to 157 after going 14-5 at 165 last winter. At the NCAAs, the native of Gilroy, Calif., won two of four matches in St. Louis. Meanwhile, senior heavyweight Atticus Disney, a former three-time Kansas state champion, returns from a redshirt in which he defeated several NCAA participants while competing unattached last winter.

6. CSU Bakersfield — 133-pound Frank Lomas, CSB’s only NCAA qualifier from 2012, has graduated but coach Mike Mendoza has talent on his team. That includes a senior in 125-pound Tyler Iwamura, who was 23-11 last winter, and a redshirt freshman in 174-pound Bryce Hammond, formerly a two-time California state champion from Bakersfield, the same high school as 2012 Olympic champion Jake Varner.

 

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