Monarchs Finish In Second Place at CAA Championships

March 03, 2007
By ODU Athletics
ODU Sports

March 3, 2007

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FAIRFAX, VA -- The Old Dominion wrestling team will send three wrestlers to the NCAA Tournament this year as they finished in second place at the conference tournament. Redshirt senior Christian Staylor (Chesapeake, VA), junior Nick Pullano (Chesapeake, VA), and sophomore David Mendoza (Wyomissing, PA) all advance for the Monarchs to the national tournament taking place in Auburn Hills, MI on March 15-17. It will be the third trip to the NCAA Tournament for Staylor and the first time for the other two ODU grapplers.

"I'm proud of the three we've got going," said assistant coach Lee Pritts. "I'm extremely proud of Pullano. He wrestled his butt off."

Pullano needed to win in an extra "true-second" match to seal his automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

As a team, the Monarchs finished second overall, to Hofstra University. Tallying 89 points, the ODU wrestling team finished 4.5 points ahead of Rider University for second place.

Team Scores:
Hofstra: 138.5
Old Dominion: 89.0
Rider: 84.5
Drexel: 66.5
Sacred Heart: 41.5
Boston University: 29.5
Binghamton: 28.0
George Mason: 25.0
James Madison: 7.5
Campbell: 5.5
Wagner: 2.0

Results by Weight Class:

125 - The first bout of the day for (3) Kyle Hutter (125) was against (2) Steve Mytych (Drexel). The Dragon has been ranked as high as 18th in the nation this season but Hutter got the better of Mytych in the season matchup, 5-3. However, the Drexel grappler would turn the tables and knock Hutter out of the championship bracket with a 5-2 decision.

In the wrestlebacks, Hutter would respond with a 5-3 decision over (4) Joe Coughlin (George Mason) and a 14-6 major decision in the third place bout over Rider's (5) Tommy Lorenzo. Mytych finished second, therefore Hutter was unable to challenge for a "true second" match for the automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament. His season ends with a 31-17 record.

133 - Number two seed Christian Staylor finished exactly where his seed predicted: in second place with the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Staylor started the day making a statement with a 15-1 major decision over Boston University's (3) Joe Whitaker to reach the championship bout.

The title bout of the weight class featured a two-time national qualifier in Staylor and freshman sensation Lou Ruggirello of Hofstra. The two battled for all three periods before Ruggirello earned the 6-4 victory and the conference title. Staylor, with the second place finish, earns his third trip to the NCAA Tournament.

141 - The Monarchs' (4) Ryan Williams was slated to face (1) Charles Griffin (Hofstra) in the first bout of the second day. Griffin, ranked 9th in the nation, defeated the Monarch 7-1 and forced Williams into the consolation bracket. Williams would respond with a 4:29 pin of Kelin Bidelspach (Campbell) and a 11-3 major decision over (3) Carlo Ferrandino (Boston University).

In the "true second" match, Williams was unable to topple Don Fisch. Williams, an NCAA Qualifier a year ago, finishes his season at 30-9.

149 - Coming into the tournament, (6) Kaylen Baxter had defeated four nationally ranked opponents on the season. During the CAA Tournament, he toppled a fifth, in Hofstra's (1) Mike Parziale. However, the Binghamton 149-pounder, (3) Kyle Fried has found something in the scouting report that other top-tier grapplers haven't yet. For the third time this season, and the second during this tournament, Fried defeated Baxter, 4-1.

The Alaskan toppled Justin Ensign (Wagner) in a 10-1 major decision before disposing of Parziale in a 12-6 decision. However, it was Fried that dashed Baxter's NCAA Tournament hopes with the 4-1 decision in the 3rd place bout. Baxter's season record improved to 31-20 overall.

157 - Three-seed Chris Brown's season will be an unforgettable one for the redshirt freshman, but the Chesapeake native was unable to qualify for the NCAA Tournament. The Monarch finishes his 2007 season with a team-leading 35 wins and just 14 losses. However, three of those losses came to the same wrestler, (2) Ryan Hluschak (Drexel).

Hluschak started Brown's day off on the wrong foot with a 9-4 defeat of the Old Dominion grappler. In the consolation bracket, Brown earned a 23-8 technical fall over Scott Yorko (James Madison) before falling to (4) Nate Galloway (Rider) in the third place bout. It was the third time they met this season with Galloway taking two of three.

165 - Easily the best story for the Monarchs this year, (2) Nick Pullano will head to the NCAA Tournament for the first time of his collegiate career. On day two of the CAA Tournament, Pullano edged (3) Tyler Tisdell (George Mason) in a 2-1 decision to go to the championship bout. (1) Mike Patrovich of Hofstra, ranked sixth in the nation, beat Pullano in the title bout 19-3 giving (4) Billy Haydt (Drexel) a shot at the Monarch in a "true second" match.

The match was a battle, coming down to the final seconds in the third period. With Haydt up one point and ten seconds to go, Pullano earned a takedown to win the bout by one point and advance to the NCAA Tournament.

"He did it, and I'm proud of him," said assistant coach Pritts. Pullano improves to 24-13 on the year as he heads into the national tournament in two weeks.

174 - The Monarchs placed in each of the weight classes except for the 174-lb. class. However, it was hardly (6) Derek Coffey's fault as he was forced to match up against the number one seed in the consolation bracket. (4) Josh Patterson (Binghamton) upset Hofstra's (1) Alton Lucas to force the matchup between Coffey and Lucas.

Before that, however, Coffey didn't allow a point in a 10-0 major decision over Jed Giguere (Sacred Heart). In the matchup with Lucas, Coffey wrestled hard and fell to the ninth best 174-pounder in the nation by just two points in a 9-7 decision.

"I feel for the guys," said Pritts. "They wrestled tough. We wrestled real hard."

Coffey finishes his rookie campaign with 13 wins.

184 - The number two seeded Rider wrestler Mike Miller beat true freshman (3) Jesse Strawn for the third time this season to force Strawn into the consolation brackets. Strawn would respond and do everything he could to earn a bid into the NCAA Tournament, but Miller could not upset the number one seed Joe Rovelli in the championship bout and Strawn was left as the third place finisher.

En route to the third place finish, Strawn pinned Kyle Higgins (Campbell) in 25 seconds for the second time in the tournament and then won the third place bout in a 7-3 decision over (4) Andrew Silber. Strawn rounds out his rookie campaign with a 28-23 record.

197 - One of the Monarchs near sure-things going into the tournament, (2) David Mendoza did not disappoint. On day two, Mendoza pinned the 18th best 197-pound in the nation, (2) T.J. Morrison (Rider) in 4:01. In the title bout, Mendoza nearly beat the 12th ranked grappler in the weight class, (1) Chris Weidman (Hofstra), but was defeated in a 6-4 decision.

Mendoza qualifies for the NCAA Tournament for the first time in his career. The sophomore improves his team best record to 32-10 as he heads to The Palace at Auburn Hills in two weeks.

285 - Old Dominion heavyweight (4) Matt Pellar was matched up against one of the top 285-pounders in the nation in (1) Payam Zarrinpour (Sacred Heart) on day two. Zarrinpour won 18-4 over Pellar and forced the Monarch to the consolation bracket.

Pellar pinned (6) Jeremiah Fennell (Cambell) in 3:44 but was pinned in the third place bout to finish in fourth. Pellar wraps up his rookie campaign with a 24-12 record.