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PAC-12 Wrestling Preview 2012-13

PAC12

The Pac-12 may not be the powerhouse conference it once was, but do not underestimate the teams out west. In recent years, the Pac-12 hasn’t had many teams in contention for a team title, but the amount of All-Americans the conference has put out in the past decade is still impressive. The trend should continue in the Pac-12, where current membership now sits at six programs.

Teamwise, Jim Zalesky’s Oregon State Beavers appear to be the frontrunner. The Beavers finished 10th at the NCAA Division I Championships last season and he was rewarded with a three-year contract extension.

While Oregon State appears to be the team to beat in the Pac-12, Boise State has traditionally also been a major factor in duals and tournaments. The Broncos are coming off what should be treated as a disappointing season, but have several standouts coming back. Their younger wrestlers also have a year of Division I mat time under their belts. The Broncos should be improved in 2012-13.

Pac-12 By The Numbers
Teams (6): Arizona State, Boise State, Cal Poly, CSU Bakersfield, Oregon State, Stanford

Returning National Champs: 0
Returning 2011 All-Americans: 2
Returning National Champion: None

Returning Pac-12 Champions (2012)
*weight listed is the weight the won

  • 133 – Brian Owen (BSU)
  • 141 – Michael Mangrum (OSU)
  • 149 – Scott Sakaguchi (OSU)
  • 157 – Roger Pena (OSU)
  • 165 – Dom Kastl (CP)
  • 184 – Jake Swartz (BSU)
  • 197 – Brent Chriswell (BSU)

125 pounds

 

  • Pat Rollins – Oregon State
  • Tyler Iwamura – CSU Bakersfield
  • Dalton Miller – Arizona State
  • Britain Longmire – Cal Poly
  • Evan Silver – Stanford
  • Landon Hartley – Boise State

Rollins of Oregon State is the early favorite based on his second-place finish last year at the Pac-12 tournament. He posted 26 wins last season and earned a berth to the NCAA Championships where he went 2-2. Rollins was only a freshman and should be improved as he enters his sophomore season. Iwamura placed third a year ago and will be looking to make a push for the top spot. He did drop two matches last season to Rollins and was a NCAA qualifier. Dalton Miller enters his second season hoping to improve upon his fourth-place finish a year ago. Miller will have his work cut out for him. He does have a win over Longmire, who placed fifth last season. The one to keep your eye on is Stanford’s Evan Silver. Silver was a top recruit coming out of high school. Silver had a decent year as a redshirt winning 15 matches. He did drop a couple of matches to Iwamura.

TOM’s conference tournament predictions

  1. Pat Rollins – Oregon State
  2. Tyler Iwamura – CSU Bakersfield
  3. Evan Silver – Stanford
  4. Dalton Miller – Arizona State

133 pounds

  • Brian Owen – Boise State
  • Shane McGough – Arizona State
  • Drew Van Anrooy – Oregon State
  • Jose Mendoza – CSU Bakersfield
  • Alex Manley – Stanford
  • Devon Lotito – Cal Poly

Boise State’s Brian Owen only posted a 9-3 mark last season, but he made the most of those 12 bouts. He is the returning conference champion and an NCAA qualifier. He had a few nice wins, most notably over Chattanooga’s Nick Soto and Oregon State’s Garrett Drucker. Look for him to be better then a year ago and be a heavy front-runner to repeat as the conference champion. McGough did punch a ticket to St. Louis last year by placing fourth in the conference. He was just over .500 on the season and will need to improve if he wants to have a shot at Owen. Van Anrooy is coming off a very good redshirt year where he went 14-4. There may not be any eye popping wins in there, but there were a few odd losses. Expect Van Anrooy to be better than last season and consider him a threat to make the Pac-12 tournament finals. Mendoza, Manley and Lotito will have to step up if they want to play spoiler.

TOM’s conference tournament predictions

  1. Brian Owen – Boise State
  2. Drew Van Anrooy – Oregon State
  3. Shane McGough – Arizona State
  4. Alex Manley – Stanford

141 pounds

  • Mike Mangrum – Oregon State
  • Josh Strait – Boise State
  • Brandan Rocha – Cal Poly
  • Timmy Box – Bakersfield
  • Alex Schmersahl – Arizona State
  • Donvan Halpin – Stanford

Returning All-American Michael Mangrum of Oregon State leads the way at 141 pounds. He posted 33 wins last season and ended up placing fifth in the country. He will be looking to improve upon that and find the top of the podium come March. Early last season it seemed people had high hopes for Strait, but those expectations never materialized. Strait had issues beating ranked wrestlers and will need to show some real improvement if wants to make it to the NCAA tournament. Rocha had a similar season to Strait and would also need to show improvement if he is to make any kind of run. Box of Bakersfield may be the wild card in the weight. He was a redshirt last year and had a solid high school career. Keep an eye on him.

TOM’s conference tournament predictions

  1. Mike Mangrum – Oregon State
  2. Josh Strait – Boise State
  3. Brandan Rocha – Cal Poly
  4. Timmy Box – Bakersfield

149 pounds

  • Jason Chamberlain – Boise State
  • Scott Sakaguchi – Oregon State
  • Nathan Hoffer – Arizona State
  • Timmy Boone – Stanford
  • Damien Arredondo – Cal Poly
  • Dalton Kelly – CSU Bakersfield

This will be one of the deeper weights in the conference as you have two returning All-Americans. Chamberlain returns to the Boise State line-up after taking the year off where he had success in freestyle. He was third in the country two seasons ago and should be considered an NCAA title contender. He will need to get past another All-American in Scott Sakaguchi of Oregon State. Sakaguchi is coming off a break-out season which saw him earn a seventh-place finish at the 2012 NCAA Division I Championships to go along his 38 wins. Hoffer of Arizona State will look to play spoiler. Hoffer is moving up a weight, so we need to wait and see how he handles that. He put together a real strong second half of last season, earning wins over several nationally-ranked opponents. Hoffer was also a national qualifier last year at 141 pounds. Stanford’s Boone was the runner-up at this weight last year. Don’t look to hard at his conference placement, since he posted a losing record last season and dropped five of his last seven matches.

TOM’s conference tournament predictions

  1. Jason Chamberlain – Boise State
  2. Scott Sakaguchi – Oregon State
  3. Nathan Hoffer – Arizona State
  4. Dalton Kelly – CSU Bakersfield

157 pounds

  • RJ Pena – Oregon State
  • Georgi Ivanov – Boise State
  • Adam Fierro – Bakersfield
  • Kyle Meyer – Stanford
  • Kyle Chene – Cal Poly
  • P.J. Starnes – Arizona State

Oregon State’s Pena is our early favorite at this weight. Pena is the returning champ and an NCAA qualifier. He posted a 2-2 record last season in St. Louis and had 30 wins on the season. He closed out the season winning seven of ten bouts. During that run, he split with our current second choice at this weight Ivanov. Ivanov also had a solid season for Boise State after transferring from Nebraska-Omaha, where he previously won an NCAA Division II championship. He posted a 22-8 record and earned a berth to nationals. We expect that these two will be battling it out for top honors. Fierro had a solid season in 2012 and with some improvement he should lead the rest of the pack. Meyer of Stanford was fourth two seasons ago and may be one who could make some noise.

TOM’s conference tournament predictions

  • RJ Pena – Oregon State
  • Georgi Ivanov – Boise State
  • Kyle Meyer – Stanford
  • Adam Fierro – CSU Bakersfield

165 pounds

  • Michaell Cuthbertson – Boise State
  • Bret Baumbach – Stanford
  • Alex Elder – Oregon State
  • Andrew Balch – CSU Bakersfield
  • Paul Woodman – Cal Poly
  • Parker Madl – Arizona State

This may be the most wide-open weight in the conference. Cuthbertson will be your early favorite despite posting only a 9-7 record last year. He does have a win over Baumbach from Stanford, who was the runner-up last season. Baumbach posted an 11-10 record last season. Clearly you can see why we said the weight is wide open. The one person who may be able to take control of the weight is Elder from Oregon State, a multiple-time state high school champion and former Dave Schultz High School Excellence Award winner from Oregon. Elder went 16-6 last season in open competition and with a step forward he may be able to find the top of the podium. Freshman Parker Madl of Arizona State could have some impact on the weight.

TOM’s conference tournament predictions

  1. Alex Elder – Oregon State
  2. Micheal Cuthbertson – Boise State
  3. Parker Madl – Arizona State
  4. Bret Baumbach – Stanford

174 pounds

  • Dom Kastl – Cal Poly
  • Scotty Bacon – Boise State
  • Bryce Hammond – CSU Bakersfield
  • John Tuck – Oregon State
  • Blake Stauffer – Arizona State
  • Tommy Kimbrell – Stanford

A relative mystery last season for much of the country, Kastl returns as a Pac-12 conference champion, but will move up to 174 pounds this season. Kastl is a guy who we believe will have a breakout type of season. Last year, he was 14-5 and went 2-2 in St. Louis, including a first-round upset over Cody Yohn of Minnesota. It was one of several wins he picked up last season over ranked foes. Bacon was fourth in the conference a year ago at 174 in a weight which was pretty deep. He didn’t have a stellar regular season, going just 10-12, but he did have a notable in-conference win over Tuck of Oregon State. Tuck went 19-16 last season. Bryce Hammond is one of CSU Bakersfield’s rising stars. Nationally recruited out of high school, he stayed in California to wrestle for coach Mike Mendoza. Despite a 9-5 record last season as a redshirt, all five of those losses were to quality opponents. He is definitely a contender.

TOM’s conference tournament predictions

  1. Dom Kastl – Cal Poly
  2. Bryce Hammond – Bakersfield
  3. Scotty Bacon – Boise State
  4. John Tuck – Oregon State

184 pounds

  • Jake Swartz – Boise State
  • Ty Vinson – Oregon State
  • Kevin Radford – Arizona State
  • Reuben Franklin – Bakersfield
  • Alan Yen – Stanford
  • Sean Dougherty – Cal Poly

Washington native Swartz is the returning Pac-12 champion at 184 pounds and is coming off a season which saw him win three matches in St. Louis at the Division I championships. Two of his wins last season were over Vinson of Oregon State, who finished third at the conference tournament. Vinson moved up to 184 at midseason and performed better at the weight. If he’s added strength, he could threaten Swartz for the conference title. Arizona State’s Kevin Radford was an NCAA qualifier last season, finishing 20-14.

Swartz is your returning champion at the weight. He is coming off a strong season that saw him go 3-2 at the national championships. He posted several wins over ranked opponents and took two from Vinson of Oregon State. Vinson was third at this weight a season ago. He is coming off a decent year where he split time down at 174 pounds. His record there was much better then when he moved to 184 pounds. If he has added some strength to better compete at this weight he may be a factor. Arizona State’s Radford was fourth at the weight. He posted a 20-14 record last season.

TOM’s conference tournament predictions

  1. Jake Swartz – Boise State
  2. Ty Vinson – Oregon State
  3. Kevin Radford – Arizona State
  4. Alan Yen – Stanford

197 pounds

  • Brent Chriswell – Boise State
  • Taylor Meeks – Oregon State
  • Jake Meredith – Arizona State
  • Drew Meulman – Cal Poly
  • Mike Sojka – Stanford
  • Frankie Hurtado – CSU Bakersfield

All-American Chriswell anchors a fairly decent weight and is the favorite to repeat as Pac-12 champion. Last year, he topped Oregon State’s Meeks in the finals. Meeks also had a solid year, which put him on the radar at the weight class nationally. An added year of experience should make Meeks not only a contender for the conference title, but for NCAA honors as well. Arizona State’s Meredith qualified for the NCAA championships in 2011 and will be back in the mix for the Sun Devils this season. He was 7-3 in limited action last season. Stanford’s Sokja went 16-10 last year as a true freshman and could be the dark horse of the group.

TOM’s conference tournament predictions

  1. Brent Chriswell – Boise State
  2. Taylor Meeks – Oregon State
  3. Jake Meredith – Arizona State
  4. Mike Sojka – Stanford

285 pounds

  • Chad Hanke – Oregon State
  • Levi Cooper – Arizona State
  • Dan Scherer – Stanford
  • J.T Felix – Boise State
  • Atticus Disney – Cal Poly
  • Sam Cervantes – CSU Bakersfield

Oregon State’s Hanke is our early favorite at 285, despite the presence of Arizona State’s Cooper, who was an All-American in 2011. Hanke had a sound redshirt season a year ago and if he wrestles the way he did in open competition last year, he will be tough to beat. Cooper’s ability makes him a threat to Hanke in conference. It will be a wait-and-see for Cooper, who wrestles everyone close. Scherer was third in the conference last year and lost two close ones to Cooper. If he improves, he could reach the finals. Felix should be improved and should carve out a solid season.

TOM’s conference tournament predictions

  1. Chad Hanke – Oregon State
  2. Levi Cooper – Arizona State
  3. Dan Scherer – Stanford
  4. J.T Felix – Boise State

Look for our team-by-team breakdown in the November issue of Amateur Wrestling News!