Monarchs Win Virginia Intercollegiate State Tournament
Jan. 6, 2007
NORFOLK, VA -- The Monarchs placed eleven wrestlers in the ten weight classes including six championship appearances and three wins at the Virginia Intercollegiate State Tournament Saturday. Kaylen Baxter defeated his second nationally ranked opponent in seven days when he defeated Sam Alvarenga of VMI to win the 149-lb. weight class and David Mendoza earned the tournaments Most Pins Award with three pins during a 4-0 day .
Baxter, coming off a defeat of top ten wrestler Trevor Chinn (Lehigh), was slated to face off against Alvarenga after going 2-0 early in the championship bracket. Baxter pinned James Madison's Eric Nadeau in 5:19 and earned a 10-2 major decision over UVA's Pat Riley. Alvarenga came into the title bout with a 9-2 decision and a 10-0 major and was ranked 20th by InterMat.
The bout was tied at 5-5 with just over thirty seconds remaining in the third period when the Keydet was able to slip away from Baxter's grasp and earn one point for an escape. The true freshman for ODU refused to let up and kept coming at Alvarenga, who got a lock on Baxter's left leg with 11 seconds remaining, all but sealing the match. However, Baxter saw a weakness in the lock, turned left, and with 2 seconds remaining put the top ranked VMI grappler's back on the mat for a 7-6 win.
"I didn't really start the year out great and the last couple tournaments have been great for my confidence," said Baxter of his two big wins. "It makes all the difference."
Mendoza continued his strong season with four more wins beginning with a 4:00 fall of The Apprentice School's Kendall Ridenour. He then quickly put away George Mason's David Russell with a first period fall in 1:43 before facing off with UVA's Joe DeGaravilla in the semi's. Mendoza couldn't make it a sweep on the day with pins but did tally a 13-1 major decision over the Cavalier before heading into the championship bout.
Mendoza was set to meet against Harry Zander in the title bout, a familiar opponent as just a month ago Zander had traveled to Norfolk and was pinned by Mendoza in the second period. Zander was motivated and earned a quick takedown and, later in the first period, an impressive reversal. However, Mendoza would stalk in the first period and take advantage of Zander's one mistake early in the second period.
For the second time this season, Mendoza pinned Zander in the second period, this time at the 3:30 mark. Mendoza won the 197-lb. weight class and earned the Most Pins Trophy for the tournament.
Nick Pullano also repeated a defeat of George Mason's nationally ranked Tyler Tisdell, much like Mendoza's rematch with Zander, and won the 165-lb. weight class.
Other highlights include Jesse Strawn taking second in the 184-lb. class to Rocco Caponi, Chris Brown's impressive 4-1 day, good for third, which included three major decisions and a technical fall, and Ryan Williams battling to a 3-2 loss in the title bout against the tournament's Outstanding Wrestler, Tim Harner (Liberty) in the 141-lb. class.
The Monarchs will not return home until February 8th, when they host Virginia Tech, but are back in action next Friday/Saturday at the Virginia Duals. The Duals are being held at the Hampton Coliseum.
Tournament's Outstanding Wrestler:
Tim Harner -- Liberty University
4-0, one pin, one tech. fall
David Mendoza -- ODU
Matt Pellar -- ODU
Final Team Scores:
1. Old Dominion University
2. University of Virginia
3. Liberty University
4. George Mason University
5. Virginia Military Institute
6. James Madison University
7. The Apprentice School