photo courtesy of Tony Rotundo; WrestlersAreWarriors.com
A new feature that we have had on TOM is the “All-2000’s Team” for a respective school. We will go weight-by-weight to feature the best lineup that a team could put together comprised of wrestlers that were in action from the year 2000 to now. Their career could have started in the 1990’s; they just need to have one year of competition in the 2000’s. Each wrestler that is mentioned must have competed for one postseason at their weight class (even if it wasn’t the weight they were most known for).
125 – Ronnie Bresser (Klamath Falls, OR) 2014-Present
Three-time NCAA Qualifier, 2018 NCAA seventh-place finisher, 2016 NCAA Round of 12 finisher, Two-time Pac 12 Champion, Three-time Pac-12 finalist
After two years of close calls at the NCAA Championships, Ronnie Bresser finally broke through in 2018 and earned a spot on the NCAA podium. Bresser would need an 8-6 win in sudden victory over Luke Welch (Purdue) to secure All-American honors. In his first three trips to the NCAA Championships, he has been seeded no lower than 11th.
Second Team: Nathan Navarro
133 – Joey Palmer (Covington, WA) 2013-17
Three-time NCAA Qualifier, 2017 NCAA Round of 12 finisher, 2017 Pac-12 Champion
Joey Palmer saved his best season in an Oregon State singlet for his last. As a senior in 2017, Palmer captured his only Pac-12 Championship and went on to advance to the Round of 12 at the NCAA Championships before his elimination. Along the way, he knocked off 10th seeded John Erneste (Missouri) and 15th seeded Jamal Morris (NC State).
Second Team: Garrett Drucker
141 – Michael Mangrum (Auburn, WA) 2009-13
Four-time NCAA Qualifier, 2012 NCAA fifth-place finisher, Three-time NCAA Round of 12 finisher, Two-time Pac-12 Champion
The 135 wins that Michael Mangrum accumulated over his four-year career have placed him fifth on the Beavers all-time wins list, one ahead of the legendary Les Gutches. Mangrum has the distinction of wrestling in the Round of 12 in all four of his trips to the NCAA Championship. The year he emerged to become an All-American, Michael defeated freshman Mitchell Port (Edinboro) in the bloodround and then Hunter Stieber (Ohio State) for fifth-place.
Second Team: Shane Cunanan
149 – Scott Sakaguchi (Clovis, CA) 2010-14
Four-time NCAA Qualifier, Two-time All-American (2013-5th; 2012-7th), 2014 NCAA Round of 12 finisher, Two-time Pac-12 Champion, Four-time Pac-12 finalist
Just behind Mangrum and Gutches on OSU’s career wins list is two-time All-American Scott Sakaguchi, with 129. The first time Sakaguchi made the podium while being unseeded, he needed to upset second-ranked Jamal Parks (Oklahoma State) in the Round of 12. The next year in that same round, he faced and defeated the third seed Donnie Vinson (Binghamton).
Second Team: Heinrich Barnes
157 – Eric Jorgensen (La Grande, OR) 1997-01
Four-time NCAA Qualifier, 2001 NCAA fifth-place finisher, 2001 Pac-10 Champion, Two-time Pac 10 finalist
It was a tough choice between Eric Jorgensen and RJ Pena as both had similar careers. Jorgensen gets the nod on the strength of his sixth and fourth seeds at nationals, during his final two years, indicating he may have been slightly more consistent during the regular season. Jorgensen’s last collegiate bout, for fifth-place at nationals, came over conference rival Kirk White (Boise State), the 1999 NCAA Champion. Eric finished his career with three straight wins over White.
Second Team: RJ Pena
165 – Matt Ellis (Prosser, WA) 2001-05
Three-time NCAA Qualifier, 2004 Pac-10 Champion, Two-time Pac-10 finalist
Matt Ellis is the only Beaver wrestler at 165 that qualified for nationals three times during this era. Ellis twice made the conference finals and came out on top of the Pac-10 in 2004. His deepest run at the NCAA Championships happened in 2005 when he went 2-2.
Second Team: Seth Thomas
174 – Nathan Coy (Oregon City, OR) 1999-02
Three-time NCAA Qualifier, 2002 NCAA fourth-place finisher, 2001 NCAA Round of 12 finisher, Two-time Pac-10 Champion, Three-time Pac-10 finalist
Another tough call was at 174 between Coy and current UFC star Colby Covington. Coy’s fourth-place finish at the 2002 NCAA Championships is slightly higher than Covington’s fifth. He also had a pair of Pac-10 titles in a time where the conference was much larger and deeper. Nathan was the last All-American for long-time Beaver Head Coach Joe Wells.
Second Team: Colby Covington
184 – Corey Griego (Apple Valley, CA) 2015-Present
Three-time NCAA Qualifier, Two-time Pac-12 Champion, Three-time Pac-12 finalist
With a year of eligibility still remaining Corey Griego has already accumulated a pair of Pac-12 titles and has been seeded 11th and 14th in his two most recent trips to the NCAA Championships. Corey spent his freshman season at 184 before moving up to 197 for the remainders of his career. Last season, Griego placed at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational for the first time, taking fifth.
Second Team: Ty Vinson
197 – Taylor Meeks (Orting, WA) 2011-15
Four-time NCAA Qualifier, 2013 NCAA fourth-place finisher, 2015 NCAA Round of 12 finisher, 2013 Pac-12 Champion, Four-time Pac-12 finalist
Taylor Meeks spent the first three years of his career at 197, then dropped to 184 lbs as a senior. The final three years of his career saw him become one of the top wrestlers in his weight class and he twice earned a fifth-seed at nationals. During the 2013 season, he advanced to the NCAA semifinals, before dropping a two-point decision to Dustin Kilgore (Kent State). Meeks was selected to compete and was victorious over three-time All-American Scott Schiller (Minnesota) at the 2013 NWCA All-Star Match.
Second Team: Cody Crawford
285 – Amarveer Dhesi (Surrey, BC) 2013-Present
Three-time NCAA Qualifier, Two-time All-American (2018-3rd; 2016-5th), Two-time Pac-12 Champion, Three-time Pac-12 finalist
Heavyweight has been the most consistent weight class for Oregon State over the last 18 years, so it really says something about Dhesi getting the nod at 285 lbs. Heading into his final year of eligibility, Dhesi already has two All-American finishes under his belt. He will be the highest returning All-American for the 2018-19 season. At the NCAA Championships in 2018, Dhesi’s only loss came at the hands of Adam Coon (Michigan) 4-2.
Second Team: Clayton Jack