Corvallis, OR for the Pac-10 wrestling tournament

Last weekend I was fortunate enough to attend the PAC-10 wrestling tournament in Corvallis, OR, on the campus of the Oregon State University*. This was my first PAC-10 tournament since moving to Seattle nearly six years ago, and it was a bit of a shock how small the crowd and number of teams were. After all, this is the stepping off point for a DI wrestler before the NCAA tournament in Philly, so I expected packed bleachers ready to see some fireworks. Well the fireworks happened, but with diminished enthusiasm except from the largely OSU home crowd.

*Note: If you're not interested in serious NCAA wrestling nerdery, you may wish to just skip to another post. I don't follow "real" sports, so this is the time of year when academic life is easily distracted by watching people try to break one another for sport. You've been warned.

The PAC-10 isn't a true conference as it pertains to wrestling, with a mish-mash of west coast schools that still offer the program. The "true" PAC-10 teams include Stanford, Oregon State and Arizona State, while Cal State Bakersfield, Cal State Fullerton and Cal Poly mix up it with Boise State to round out the league. The tournament has been significantly reduced in size since Portland State dropped their program last year, preceded by the University of Oregon and Fresno State. UC Davis announced that wrestling would drop last year, and quickly did so while Fullerton is set to drop this year. The number of tournament participants aside, and as I said earlier, this year's tournament did not disappoint with a number of great match-ups and an interesting team race between BSU and OSU.

Novachkov, doing work.

My good friend Joe Bennett agreed to tag along and we made a day out of driving down to Corvallis from Portland, my port of entry to Oregon via the good folks at Amtrak. We arrived to hear Boris Novachkov (Cal Poly, 141lbs, 5th ranked) being announced as the winner of his first bout, a performance he would repeat all day including a slick decision in the finals over a very talented Levi Jones (Boise State, 18th ranked). After settling into Gill Coliseum, we were treated to Jones' match that earned him a finals bid, a solid decision over OSU's Michael Mangrum (13th ranked). The preliminary rounds also showed a non-impressive upset of Boise State's obviously injured Kirk Smith by an Oregon State wrestler. Smith appeared in very poor health, and dropped a lackluster decision before defaulting out of the tournament. The home fans went nuts during the bout, apparently unaware that defeating an injured one-seed is not the same as defeating a one-seed. Good riddance to the knuckleheads who saw fit to spew nonsense throughout the bout. Any classless home screamers from OSU can let me know how many bouts the OSU wrestler wins in Philly, okay?

The finals, like any tournament were killer. With six finalists each and a half point separating BSU and OSU, the stakes were high, especially in the three head-to-head match-ups between the two teams. Starting at 197, both OSU and BSU dropped consolation bouts, while Stanford's Zach Giesen (12th ranked) rolled in the championship bout over his ASU opponent. Heavyweight brought OSU's 20th-ranked Clayton Foster a close 6-4 decision over BSU's JT Felix. At 125, Anthony Robles sewed up a closer-than anticipated major decision over OSU's Jason Lara. Although he gave up a late throw-by takedown, Robles dominant top performance in the first period and nearly four minutes of riding time, was solid to say the least. Like every match he has ever wrestled, it's magnified by the fact that he only has one leg.

133 had the first of the many BSU studs wrapping up decisions, this time with 2nd-ranked Andrew Hochstrasser winning a convincing decision over OSU's Drucker. At 141 the aforementioned Boris Novachkov won by a decision over Levi Jones, keeping BSU from sewing up more points for their title effort. Jason Chamberlain and Adam Hall both put on impressive performances, winning tight matches against OSU frshman Scott Sakaguchi and Arizona State's Bubba Jenkins. In the case of Hall and Jenkins, this was the third match in a rubber series with Jenkins owning an impressive major at the NWCA All-Star classic:

Visit for more videos

Be sure to peep the sick cement mixer at the 2 minute mark. Hall however closed the distance at the RENO tourney:

This time it was Hall's tank that seemed to never run out in a 1-1, 11-period ride-out victory. Bot wrestlers seemed ready to roll, although Hall was a bit more consistent throughout the day.

At 165, BSU's talented freshman Kurt Swartz won a decision to advance his team's cause and on to Philadelphia for the national tournament. Colby Covington, a big version of Adam Hall but in OSU gear, put a hurt on Nick Amuchastegui winning the last OSU title of the night. The finals concluded with a match between OSU's Brice Arrand, the flukemaster who won over a hobbling Smith, and ASU's Jake Meredith. Meredith dropped Arand hardstyle and earned the league's only pre-qualifying spot for the 184 pound weight class. Hopefully Smith will be healthy and get his wildcard into nationals, but time will tell shortly. Meredith not only qualified for the big dance, but also became BSU's favorite guy as he allowed the Broncos to take home another Pac-10 title over OSU, 147-137.5.

Joe Bennett and I hustled home up the I-5, stopping only for junk food and to prank call the talented Lou Barbario. Waiting tables at Kleifeld's Lou, serving beers at the Wee-Bit. You know the voicemail. Many a Ming and Ping song was enjoyed en route and I walked away reloaded for the ecological research hustle. Thanks to all of the Pac-10 competitors for putting on a show and good luck in Philadelphia to those moving on.

Greatest Hits