Monarchs Place 12 of 18 Wrestlers at Mat Town USA
By ODU Athletics
Nov. 25, 2006
LOCK HAVEN, PA -- The Old Dominion University wrestlers went into the Mat Town USA Open with 18 wrestlers and came out with 12 placewinners. David Mendoza won the 197-pound weight class for ODU and Matt Pellar (unattached) won the heavyweight division. ODU also earned two seconds in Ryan Williams and B.J. Compton (unattached). Kyle Hutter and Cam Watkins each had great tournaments with a fourth place finish in 125 and a third place effort at 141 respectively.
The Monarchs might have added another win to the column had Ryan Williams not had to forfeit the championship bout due to an injured ankle. ODU could also have placed higher in the 165-pound class with Nick Pullano who had to retire due to a cut on his face. Still, the Monarchs placed twelve wrestlers of the eighteen in attendance at Mat Town and will continue to lean on this depth.
"This tournament really showed our depth," said head coach Steve Martin. "Our freshmen are really starting to turn a corner." Last weekend three freshmen placed. On Saturday, ODU had seven rookies take home a place.
The two wins for the Monarchs came at the hands of David Mendoza and Matt Pellar (unattached). Mendoza had a quick road to the championship with a first round bye and the smallest field of the tournament. However, Mendoza won convincingly with a pin (3:29) of Dustin Pine from Lock Haven and a 4-2 decision over Brent Jones of UVA. Mendoza faced Penn State grappler Chad Unger in the final bout and was victorious easily 6-1.
Pellar, wrestling unattached for Old Dominion, was a force in the heavyweight division on Saturday. Posting a 40 second pin in the first round over Buffalo's Jason Weber, Pellar made a statement early. He then shutout Penn State's Joe Farina with an 8-0 major decision. Pellar gave up just one point in his next bout, a 9-1 major decision over Lock Haven's Michael Cook. Pellar was then tested in the title bout against Penn State's Stefan Tighe (unattached). The two battled throughout the bout but Pellar came away with a 3-2 victory for first place.
Chris Brown continues his fantastic season with another placing. Brown, along with Williams, has placed in all three tournaments the Monarchs have wrestled this season. Brown just missed the championship bout with a 4-3 loss against the 11th ranked wrestler in the nation, Penn State's Nathan Galloway. Brown finished out the consolation bracket with two major decision shutouts, 10-0 and 11-0.
Williams had a chance at the title before injuring his ankle. The story at 141 was the way Cam Watkins rebounded in the consolation bracket. After being pinned in the first round by UVA's Kellon Balum (1st place), Watkins proceeded to win the rest of his bouts in the wrestlebacks. Although he didn't do it in major fashion, he put away his next five opponents to take third place for the Monarchs.
Kaylen Baxter and Josh Tyler both placed in the 149-pound division for the Monarchs. Baxter took fourth and Tyler fifth. The two went head-to-head for a chance at third place and Baxter came out on top 4-3. Tyler took fifth after UVA's Drew Dipasquale (unattached) had a medical forfeit and Baxter fell to Buffalo's Jason Hilliard.
Jesse Strawn went 3-2 in the tournament in the 184-pound weight class with all three wins coming by way of the pinfall. Strawn earned 5th place with a pin over UVA's Calvin Cardillo. B.J. Compton , like Mendoza had a quick road to the championship bout with a small field at 133. He took advantage however en route to a second place finish going 2-1 with his only loss coming in the title bout against nationally ranked Mark Budd of Buffalo.
ODU showed no quit in the tournament as many of the Monarchs were knocked out of the championship bracket early, but wrestled well in the consolation bracket.
At 125, Kyle Hutter was knocked out of the championship bracket in a 3-1 sudden victory bout right out of the gates. However, Hutter proceeded to steamroll the competition in the consolation bracket to a fourth place finish. Unfortunately, Hutter had to meet teammate James Nicholson (unattached) and knock him out of contention for a place. Along the way, however, Hutter had a 16-1 technical fall over University of Pittsburgh wrestler John Sutika (unattached) and a first round fall over Lock Haven University grappler George Ester (unattached).
ODU will return to the mat next Sunday, December 3 at the Penn State Open. It is the last road date for the Monarchs before coming home for the first time in the 2006-07 season on December 8. The home meet will be held at Blair Middle School starting at 6:00 pm.