STANFORD – Orange and black filled the stands Sunday at Maples Pavilion as No. 18 Oregon State earned its third straight Pac-12 conference championship. The championship was secured with seven wins and a team total of 155.5 points.
The victory marked was the first time a Pac-12 team has earned three consecutive conference titles since Arizona State won six championships in a row from 1985-91. The Beavers qualified eight wrestlers for the NCAA tournament on their way to the meet title.
Oregon State couldn’t be touched as host No. 23 Stanford Cardinal trailed for a second place team finish with 134.0 points, followed by Boise State for third with 128.5.
Final Team Standings
The final round started with a tight win from Stanford’s Evan Silver. Silver lit up Maples Pavilion with an 8-6 victory over Boise State’s Rami Haddadin for the first Cardinal win of the night. The sophomore was the runner-up at the Pac-12 championships last year and will continue his winning streak at the NCAA tournament for his second career appearance.
Comeback kid of 125 lbs. was Oregon State’s Pat Rollins who earned a third place finish over Arizona State’s Ares Carpio. Rollins lost his starting spot on the Oregon State roster last season after having a breakout freshman year, but fought his way back to secure his position this year.
Two-time All-American Ryan Mango showed his strength in front of a home crowd with a 5-2 victory at 133 lbs. over defending Pac-12 champion Devon Lotito. After redshirting last season, Mango entered his senior season ranked No. 1 for the first half of the season. He is currently ranked No. 9 nationally and looking for his first national title.
Oregon State had some teammates step up tonight with two shocking third place finishes from Pat Rollins and Joey Palmer at 125 lbs. and 133 lbs. Palmer’s third place finish earned him his first automatic berth to the NCAA tournament.
Coming off of a successful redshirt season, Joey Delgado of Oregon State defeated CSUB’s Ian Nickell 10-5 to claim the 141-lb. championship. After compiling a 13-3 record in the 2012-13 season while competing unattached, Delgado caps off the 2013-14 season with an automatic berth to the NCAA tournament, the first time for the redshirt freshman. Ian Nickell entered the final match after suffering an ankle injury in session 1, but earned his highest conference championship finish at 141-lb. runner-up.
After the No. 2 seed Dalton Kelly was upset in the first match in session 1, Oregon State All-American Scott Sakaguchi took down Boise State’s Chris Castillo for the win at 149-lb. Castillo was looking to earn repeat wins over Sakaguchi, as the Bronco beat the All-American in November when he was ranked No. 3 in the country, but Sakaguchi escaped and got a takedown for the victory and automatic NCAA berth.
R.J. Pena dominated the mat as the Oregon State Beaver took down Joel Smith of Arizona State 8-0 for the 157-lb. championship. Pena was the Pac-12 champion in 2012 and placed fifth at NCAAs in 2013 for his first All-American honor. Pena has consistently secured a top 15 ranking so far this season, ranking as high as No. 3. Joel Smith is enjoying a breakout season as the redshirt junior holds three of the fastest pins on the Sun Devil roster this season.
Stanford’s Jim Wilson pulled a huge reversal over Arizona State’s Nick Rex to secure the victory at 165 lb. The redshirt freshman, who never won a state title in high school, had a 15-3 record while competing unattached last year. His 33 wins for the Stanford Cardinal currently puts him third all-time for career wins as a freshman on the school all-time list.
The defending Pac-12 champion continued to reign as Bryce Hammond of CSU Bakersfield secured another conference title at 174 lbs. against Oregon State’s Joe Latham. Hammond came onto the mat firing as the redshirt sophomore got a pin over Latham in the first period for the first Pac-12 title of the night for CSU Bakersfield. Latham earned a top three podium spot after not starting in the 2012-13 season.
Kyle Meyer of Stanford secured his first NCAA berth at 174 lbs. with a third place victory over Boise State’s Austin Dewey (9-3) in a match that had the entire arena on the edge of their seats.
In an impressive conference performance, Boise State’s Jake Swartz earned his third Pac-12 title at 184 lbs. over Arizona State standout Blake Stauffer. Swartz earned the victory in a tight match-up that ended with a game-changing escape for the 3-1 win. Although Swartz was ranked second in the tournament seeding, the Bronco silenced the doubters with and is looking to his first All-American honor after coming up short last season.
In an overtime thriller, Oregon State’s Taylor Meeks and Stanford’s Dan Scherer got the crowd on their feet for the upset of the night. The crowd erupted as the two wrestlers entered overtime tied at 2-2. Within seconds, Scherer earned his first Pac-12 title with a hard-fought takedown over the returning All-American and 2013 Pac-12 champion. Scherer moved down in weight class this season after competing at heavyweight for two years. Looks like the decision has paid off.
Boise State’s J.T. Felix rounded out the meet with a 7-1 victory over freshman phenom Amarveer Dhesi at heavyweight. Felix was the runner-up at the Pac-12 championships in 2013 and 2011 and qualified for the NCAA tournament in both seasons. Dhesi is currently ranked No. 17 nationally and is poised to compete for a spot on the Canadian national team in 2016.