Three Monarch Wrestlers Compete at NCAA Tournament This Weekend
By ODU Athletics
March 12, 2007
NORFOLK, VA -- The Monarchs qualified three Monarchs to attend the NCAA Tournament March 15-17 at The Palace at Auburn Hills in Michigan. Redshirt senior Christian Staylor, junior Nick Pullano, and sophomore David Mendoza will all be in attendance to compete for the national title in their respective weight class. Wrestling begins in The Palace Thursday morning at 11:00 am and continues through Saturday with the finals scheduled for 8:00 pm. ESPN-University will carry much of the NCAA Tournament with ESPN covering the finals Saturday night.
David Mendoza (197) is ranked at 20th in the Amateur Wrestling News rankings. He has a team best twelve pins with and just ten losses; he has been beat by decision nine of the ten times. He is also ranked 21st by wrestlingreport.com.
Chris Brown (157) moves up a spot in the wrestlingreport.com rankings at 29th nationally. Brown leads the team in major decisions with 13 and wins with thirty-two.
Eight of the ten starting Monarchs are ranked regionally by wrestlingreport.com. All ten starters are ranked in the top six in the Colonial Athletic Association.
The Monarchs will send three wrestlers to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1995. Staylor is the only of the three Monarchs with post-season experience. This will be his third trip to the Tournament. Junior Nick Pullano and sophomore David Mendoza will attend for their first time. Mendoza has been in and out of the national rankings all year and is currently ranked 21st by wrestlingreport.com.
Pullano is one of ODU's pure heart wrestlers. At the CAA Tournament, Pullano was challenged in a "true second" match by Drexel's Billy Haydt. Haydt held a one-point lead with 10 seconds to go, but ODU's junior scored a takedown to seal his trip to Michigan.
Same Ol' Staylor
Christian Staylor started the season at his traditional weight of 125 lbs, but when Adam Koballa suffered an injury at 133 lbs, Staylor stepped up in an unbelievable way. Even though he jumped up a weight class, Staylor still offers much of the same when it comes to results. Since Staylor bumped up, he has only suffered six losses and four have been by just one point with a fifth by just two points. The veteran experience could prove invaluable at what will be Staylor's final NCAA Tournament appearance.
Mind of Mendoza
ODU has seen a breakout year from their 197-pounder, David Mendoza. The sophomore has only lost ten bouts all season and has lost by more than five points in just one bout this season. In the CAA Finals, Mendoza lost to 12th ranked Chris Weidman by just two points, 6-4.
David Mendoza has five wins over ranked opponents with a default victory over Cornell's Jerry Rinaldi and two pins of Mason's Harry Zander. Most recently, Mendoza won 5-3 over Rider's T.J. Morrison at the CAA Duals while pinning him in 4:01 at the CAA Tournament.
Meanwhile, he rarely gives his opponent an opportunity to score. He leads the team in pins with twelve and was named CAA Wrestler of the Week for all wrestling from December 19th - January 9th.
Pullin' for Pullano
Nick Pullano started the dual season on fire by starting a perfect 14-0 in the Monarch duals. He cooled with duals against two top ten wrestlers and the top Tech grappler. He finished with a 14-5 record in dual competition. Against the CAA, though, Pullano was a near-perfect 8-1.
Pullano has notched his 60th career win this season and has a winning percentage of over 64% going 24-13 this season. He is also the team-leader in technical falls with seven. The junior, with Staylor, was one of just two veterans in the Monarch starting lineup.
The junior was forced to win a "true second" match at the CAA Tournament against Drexel 165-pounder Billy Haydt. Down one point with just ten seconds to go, Pullano scored a takedown to win the bout 4-3.