OSU Wrestlers Will Get A Test At Las Vegas Collegiate

Oregon State at Cliff Keen Las Vegas Collegiate;

Primm, Nev. (Star of the Desert Arena); all day

Now the going gets a little tougher.

After a strong start in its first five dual meets, Oregon State (5-0 overall, 1-0 Pacific-10) will take a step up in competition when the Beavers got to the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Collegiate on Friday and Saturday in Primm, Nev.

The 49-team field for the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Collegiate includes over half of the top 25 in the NWCA Division I poll: No. 3 Missouri, No. 7 Michigan, No. 9 Cornell, No. 11 Hofstra, No. 14 Pennsylvania, No. 15 Ohio State, No. 18 Nebraska, No. 19 Indiana, No. 20 Cal Poly, No. 22 Harvard, No. 23 Arizona State, No. 24 West Virginia and No. 25 Pittsburgh. Also on hand will be several teams ranked in the top 25 in both the Division II and NAIA ranks.

To reach those rankings, teams have to have quality wrestlers in the lineup, and those individual matches will be as big a barometer of OSU’s weekend as where it ends up in the team standings.

“More important for us is individually where we are,” OSU head coach Jim Zalesky said. “For us, we haven’t had the good individual competition yet to see where some of our guys are, where we need to progress. There are a lot of good teams there, but for us it’s more of an individual point of emphasis on this meet just to see where we are against some of the best-ranked guys in the country.

The Beavers have won at least seven matches in each of their duals thus far this season, and have had duals with six pins, five pins and four pins. OSU has recorded a total of 17 pins, two technical falls and six major decisions.

“Hopefully, we start out and get some confidence. Now it’s time to see where we really are, how far have we progressed since last spring, this summer, this fall, mentally – because to me, it’s just going to be the mentality when you step on the mat. We’re just looking forward to the competition.”

OSU has three wrestlers in this week’s national rankings – 125-pounder Eric Stevenson, 174-pounder Jeremy Larson and heavyweight Ty Watterson.

Watterson has climbed the highest, reaching No. 6 in both the NWCA poll and the Amateur Wrestling News rankings. He’s 5-0 with four pins.

Larson is No. 14 in the AWN rankings. He’s 5-0 with one pin, two technical falls and two major decisions.

Stevenson has been idle so far this season, but he’s ranked No. 18 by AWN.

Four other Beavers are also unbeaten at 5-0. At 133 pounds, Bobby Pfennigs has two pins and a major decision; at 125 pounds, Jake Gonzales has two pins and a major decision; at 141 pounds, Kyle Larson has two pins and a major decision; and at 149 pounds, Derek Kipperberg has five decisions.

Oregon State lineup

Records through November 18. National rankings are from November 28

by National Wrestling Coaches Association and Amateur Wrestling News.

125-Jake Gonzales, so. (Enumclaw, Wash./Enumclaw HS); 5-0 record, 2 pins

133-Bobby Pfennigs, sr. (Great Falls, Mont./C.M. Russell HS); 5-0 record, 2 pins

141-Kyle Larson, jr. (Hermiston, Ore./Hermiston HS); 5-0 record, 2 pins

149-Derek Kipperberg, sr. (Olalla, Wash./South Kitsap HS, North Idaho JC); 5-0 record, 0 pins

157-Andy Hall, so. (Hermiston, Ore./Hermiston HS); 1-4 record, 0 pins

or-Keegan Davis, fr. (Salem, Ore./Sprague HS)

165-Brett Arand, so. (Springfield, Ore./Thurston HS); 3-2 record, 1 pin

174-Jeremy Larson, sr. (Hermiston, Ore./Hermiston HS); 5-0 record, 1 pin;

No. 12 AWN

184-Kyle Bressler, so. (Federal Way, Wash./Decatur HS); 4-1 record, 3 pins

197-Travis Gardner, jr. (Portland, Ore./Parkrose HS); 4-1 record, 2 pins

Hwt-Ty Watterson, sr. (Enumclaw, Wash./Enumclaw HS); 5-0 record, 4 pins;

No. 6 NWCA, No. 6 AWN

A few minutes with … Ty Watterson

So far, Ty Watterson hasn’t seen much of the mat this season.

Oregon State’s senior heavyweight has a 5-0 record, but four of those matches ended by pin “three of them in the first period “and the fifth victory was a forfeit. He’s ranked No. 7 nationally at heavyweight in the National Wrestling Coaches Association poll, and he’s climbed to No. 6 in the Amateur Wrestling News rankings.

Watterson’s 20 career pins going into this weekend’s Cliff Keen Las Vegas Collegiate tie him for 27th place on OSU’s list of all-time leaders, and his 59-19 record leaves him eight wins from a place on the Beavers’ top 50 in career wins.

A Business Management major from Enumclaw, Wash., Watterson redshirted his first season at OSU. He was in the starting lineup at the beginning of his freshman season, then suffered a broken arm in a dual meet in December. Since then, he’s qualified for the NCAA Championships twice, placing fourth in the Pacific-10 as a sophomore and then second last season.

As the Beavers got ready for practice this week, Watterson spent a few minutes in the Dale Thomas Wrestling Room answering questions on a number of subjects.

QUESTION: What’s the most important quality for a wrestler to have to be a “pinner”?

WATTERSON: “A lot of coaches will say that pinning is an attitude. I guess when you get on top, you’ve just got to be relentless and stick to a couple of different pinning combinations that you know and keep working them. Eventually, the guy’s shoulders will get tired and he’ll roll over for you.”

Q: Are you looking for a pin in every match, or are there times when what you know about an opponent may dictate a different approach?

W: “You’re always looking for a pin, but definitely certain people are going to be harder to pin than others. You’re always looking for them. They’re always nice to get, especially the unexpected ones when you do catch a guy on his back or something and end the match a little early “it’s pretty nice.”

Q: You’re climbing among some pretty impressive names on OSU’s career pins list “you’ve already passed a world champion in Les Gutches (17 pins from 1993-96), an Olympian in Henk Schenk (18 from 1965-66), a four-time All-American in Babak Mohammadi (16 from 1991-92 and 1994-95) and numerous All-Americans. What kind of feeling does it give you to be in that sort of company?

W: “I don’t think I’m quite to their league yet, but it’s definitely nice to get your name in the history books. Those guys won a lot of matches and wrestled a lot of tough guys. I’ve just had a pretty good start so far and hopefully can keep it going.”

Q: OSU recently recorded its 900th all-time dual meet win – did you have much of a feeling for Oregon State’s wrestling tradition when you came to OSU? Have you gained more of an appreciation for it since you’ve been here?

W: “Definitely since I’ve been here, I’ve known the history. Talking to Jess Lewis (two-time NCAA champ and current OSU maintenance supervisor) on campus, and a lot of the alumni who come to all the meets, you learn about the history of the sport at Oregon State.. Getting that 900th win down there (at the Jack Hancock Duals Invitational) was good; I didn’t know it going into it. A lot of the credit goes to the guys in the 1960s and 1970s when (former head coach) Dale Thomas was around here getting a lot of the wins and stuff. Hopefully we’ll start another winning season here and keep it going, get some more wins.”

Q: Oregon State is off to a fast start this season “a 5-0 dual meet record against not the best competition in the country, but there have been a ton of pins in there, a lot of bonus points. What’s been the key to this team’s aggressive approach?

W: “I think just hard work in the wrestling room and a new style being introduced to us “aggressiveness for seven minutes instead of aggressive for the first three, getting them tired and hanging onto your lead. I think we’re being more aggressive for seven minutes, tiring guys out, then the pins come along in the second and third rounds a lot easier. I think everybody has been working hard and the pins come along with hard work.”

Q: Talk about head coach Jim Zalesky and what he’s brought to Oregon State in his first season.

W: “A hard work ethic. Everything we do, we’re doing for a purpose; we’re not just out here getting tired for no reason. Definitely in the room, we’re going 100 percent and training for seven minutes hard in a real match situation.. With that, we get more confidence, we’re more prepared when we do step out on the mat “everybody has that feeling that they’re ready to compete with anybody in the nation and ready to do some good things this year.”

Q: This weekend, you go to the Las Vegas Collegiate “it’s a tournament with an outstanding field and should be a big step up in competition. Having been there before, what do you think OSU can learn about itself in this meet?

W: “This will be a good test. Everybody is going to figure out where we are, what we need to work on against some better competition. We looked good in that first tournament and against Portland State, but now we’re going to be facing some tougher guys for all of us who keep winning (deep into the brackets). We’re going to figure out where we stand and what we need to work on and the people we need to beat.”

Q: You’ve been close to All-America honors earlier in your career “what’s the key to getting over the hump and placing at the NCAAs?

W: “I think the new coaching will help with all the experience we’ve got in the room, pushing us every day and making us better. Just being more prepared right now and in better shape, kind of establishing your record and getting your confidence early in the season instead of later in the season. And then facing tough competition like Las Vegas and Reno (Tournament of Champions on Dec. 20), a couple of the meets we’ve got this year.”

Q: You get to work out every day against Jamie Rakevich, a guy who was one win from All-America honors when he stepped into the lineup after you were injured during both your freshman seasons. How much does that sort of day-in, day-out competition help?

W: “It’s nice. Jamie is a big guy and strong; he knows a lot about the sport and how to wrestle. He knows a lot of positions, so when he’s offensive in the room it pushes me to be offensive. We both work hard together and it makes us both better. Either one of us could do the same thing; it’s just who wins that intrasquad match or the challenge matches in the room.”

Q: What’s your favorite part of wrestling?

W: “It’s an individual sport. My brothers and sisters played basketball, and I played basketball growing up, but you’d walk off the court and the whole team got the satisfaction. Wrestling, it’s just a single-man sport “you’re out there and win or lose, all the credit goes to you. You feel you don’t have to depend on anybody else to win a match; it’s all on yourself.”

Q: What’s your least-favorite part of wrestling?

W: “Luckily, I don’t have to cut weight or that would be it. I’d say probably the traveling during school. Like Las Vegas is just before finals week, and that’s hard. But there’s not too many bad things about wrestling. A lot of people who don’t know wrestling think it’s the toughest sport – and it is a tough sport “but if you just get in and give it 100 percent every day, it makes the matches a lot easier for you.”

Q: You list your favorite athlete as Muhammad Ali “you’re too young to have seen him compete during his career, so how did you learn about him? What about him do you admire?

W: “I don’t know. My dad was big into Muhammad Ali, so we were kind of brought up around the Muhammad Ali quotes and the history of him, so I took a liking to him. Then that movie came out and I watched it … just the kind of person he was, a champion. He talked a lot of crap, but he backed it up. I don’t like to talk crap … a guy who was just such a powerhouse, I guess, and that’s what you want to be in the wrestling world.”

Q: Who is Tred Barta? And what is the best and worst of him, as per your favorite TV show “”The Best and Worst of Tred Barta”?

W: “That’s a hunting show on OLN (Outdoor Life Network). He’s kind of a hard-core hunter. He shoots ducks and pheasants and stuff with a recurve bow, and then he makes his homemade wooden arrows at them. He just does the most difficult stuff, like taking a grizzly with a recurve bow up in Alaska. He’s just kind of a thrillseeker adventure guy; it’s kind of cool to watch him try to do the things that he does.”

Q: How did you get interested in Business Management?

W: “My mom owns her own business, and I figured it’s a major you can use for anything. My brothers own their own business, a construction company, so maybe go back and do something with that. My sister may possibly open up her own physical therapy thing. So coming in, I knew I wanted to open up my own business. I don’t know if I want to do a sporting goods store, something outdoors, or right now I’m thinking about something like project management for a construction company. Hopefully, I’ll get on and do something like that with a construction company and not have to be doing the grunt work.”

Historically speaking

OREGON STATE ALL-TIME AT LAS VEGAS COLLEGIATE: Oregon State will be making its 14th appearance at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Collegiate tournament, dating back to 1983. The Beavers’ best-ever finish at the tournament was second in 1994; OSU also finished fourth in 1993 and 1995 and fifth in 2001. Last season, the Beavers placed 21st in the 52-team field. OSU 125-pounder Eric Stevenson and heavyweight Ty Watterson both placed seventh in the tournament a year ago.

Jim dandy

OREGON STATE HEAD COACH JIM ZALESKY: Jim Zalesky is in his first season of blending his championship background with Oregon State’s championship tradition. Zalesky has coached 3 NCAA championship teams and also won 3 NCAA titles as a wrestler. At OSU, Zalesky’s teams have a 5-0 record in dual meets; in his career, Zalesky’s teams are 132-34 in dual meets.

Zalesky coached at Iowa from 1998-2006, with his teams winning national titles in 1998, 1999 and 2000; the Hawkeyes also finished second in 2001 and 2004. Iowa earned Big Ten team titles 3 times and compiled a 127-34 record.

In his 9 seasons at Iowa, Zalesky’s wrestlers won 10 NCAA individual titles, 45 All-America finishes and 20 Big Ten individual championships. Zalesky was named the National Coach of the Year by the National Wrestling Coaches Association in 1998 and 1999.

On the mat, Zalesky was named the Wrestler of the Decade for the 1980s by Amateur Wrestling News. He won NCAA titles each of his last 3 seasons at 158 pounds, finishing his career with an 89-match winning streak, and he was a 4-time All-American.

Zalesky has been enshrined in the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, the Iowa Letterman’s Club Hall of Fame, the Iowa High School Athletic Association Wrestling Hall of Fame, and the Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame.

Challenge you to a dual

OREGON STATE THIRD IN ALL-TIME DUAL MEET WINS: OSU rates as one of the best dual meet teams in collegiate wrestling history; the Beavers recorded their 900th all-time dual meet win by beating Western State 25-12 on Nov. 18; OSU is just the third school ever to reach that mark. OSU currently has an all-time dual meet record of 900-286-26 and a .753 winning percentage. The Beavers have won 12 straight dual meets dating back to the middle of the 2005-06 season; that’s OSU’s longest streak since winning 13 straight over the 1992-93 and 1993-94 seasons.

OSU had an excellent dual meet season in 2005-06, going 13-2-1 overall and 8-1 in the Pacific-10; among their wins were victories over nationally ranked Hofstra and Cal Poly. The Beavers’ 7 straight dual wins to end the season was their longest within one season since a 7-meet streak in 2000. OSU’s dual meet winning percentage of .844 for the season was the Beavers’ best since posting an .885 mark on an 11-1-1 record in 1992.

Gill’s a thrill

OREGON STATE IN GILL COLISEUM: Oregon State has one of the finest homes in college wrestling, 10,400-seat Gill Coliseum. Now in their 50th season in Gill Coliseum, the Beavers have a home dual meet record of 370-73-6 in the arena for a winning percentage of .831. OSU is 1-0 at home this season.

OSU finished 6-0 at home during the 2005-06 season, going 4-0 in Gill Coliseum and 2-0 in Truax Indoor Center. The Beavers’ last unbeaten season at home had been an 8-0 campaign in 1994.

OSU moved its home wrestling meets into Gill Coliseum in 1956-57, when Dale Thomas became head coach. Since then, the arena has hosted conference championship meets 14 times, most recently in 2002, and it was the site of the NCAA Championships in 1961 and 1980.

That’s pretty rank

BEAVERS IN THE NATIONAL RANKINGS: Here’s where Oregon State wrestlers have been in this season’s national rankings (complete national rankings are available at www.intermatwrestle.com and www.amateurwrestlingnews.com):

TEAM

NWCA Am.Wr.News

Pre………….. NR Pre…………. NR

Nov. 28……. NR

ERIC STEVENSON, 125

NWCA Am.Wr.News

Pre………….. NR Pre……….. 18th

Nov. 14…. 19th

Nov. 23…. 18th

Nov. 28……. NR Nov. 28…. 18th

KYLE LARSON, 141

NWCA Am.Wr.News

Pre………….. NR Pre……….. 20th

Nov. 14…… NR

Nov. 23…… NR

Nov. 28……. NR Nov. 28…… NR

JEREMY LARSON, 174

NWCA Am.Wr.News

Pre………… 20th Pre……….. 12th

Nov. 14…. 12th

Nov. 23…. 13th

Nov. 28……. NR Nov. 28…. 14th

TY WATTERSON, HWT

NWCA Am.Wr.News

Pre………….. 7th Pre…………. 8th

Nov. 14…… 8th

Nov. 23…… 6th

Nov. 28……. 6th Nov. 28…… 6th

You just made the list

CURRENT BEAVERS AMONG ALL-TIME LEADERS: Here’s where some current Oregon State wrestlers are on or near the Beavers’ all-time leaders lists through November 18:

CAREER WINS

30. Pat Gibson (1983-86; 167/177)…………………… 79

31. Roger Weigel (1969-71; 134)……………………… 78

(tie) Tony Hook (2003-06; 149/157)………………….. 78

33. Tim Mondale (1982-83, 1985-86; 177/190/Hwt)

…………………………………………………………………….. 77

34. Jess Lewis (1968-70; Hwt)………………………… 76

(tie) Dan Caballero (1978-80; 134/142)……………… 76

(tie) Walt Markee (1981-84; 126/134)………………… 76

37. Len Kauffman (1962-65; 177/191)……………….. 75

(tie) Dave Nieradka (1993-95; 126)…………………… 75

39. Neil Russo (1988-91; 142)…………………………. 74

40. Mike Bauer (1978-81; 126/134)…………………… 73

41. Jason Cooley (1999-2002; Hwt)…………………. 71

42. David Boyle (1985, 87-88; 134/142/150)……… 70

(tie) Ben Richards (1998-2001; 118/133)…………… 70

(tie) Jed Pennell (2001-04; 165/174/184)…………… 70

45. Ron Ziebart (1976-79; 142/158)………………….. 69

46. Bob Tomasovic (1969-71; 150)………………….. 68

47. Jim Crumley (1970-71, 73; 177)………………….. 67

(tie) Terry Jones (1983-84; 158/167)…………………. 67

(tie) Curt Berger (1981-83, 85; 142)…………………… 67

(tie) Dan Pitsch (2003-06; 184/197)………………….. 67

> Eric Stevenson (2004-present, 125)……………. 63 <> Ty Watterson (2004-present, Hwt)………………. 59 <> Jeremy Larson (2003-present, 157/174/184)… 53 < CAREER PINS21. Kim Snider (1968-70; 158/160)........................ 23(tie) Jim Crumley (1970-71, 73; 177)...................... 23(tie) Tim Mondale (1982-83, 85-86; 177/190/Hwt)..................................................................................... 2324. Pat Plourd (1975-78; 118)................................ 2225. Glenn Nieradka (1992, 94-95; 126/134)........... 21(tie) Andy Bowlby (2000-03; Hwt).......................... 2127. Terry Jones (1983-84; 158/167)....................... 20(tie) Matt Willhite (1988-92; Hwt)........................... 20> (tie) Ty Watterson (2004-present; Hwt)………… 20 < 30. Mike Bauer (1978-81; 126/134)........................ 19(tie) Walt Markee (1981-84; 126/134)..................... 1932. Henk Schenk (1965-66; 191/Hwt).................... 18(tie) Marvin Seal (1983-86, 158)............................. 18(tie) Dave Orndorff (1987-88; Hwt)......................... 18(tie) Dan Alar (1991-94; 158).................................. 1836. Fritz Fivian (1959-61; 167).............................. 17(tie) Brad Swartz (1979-82; 150)............................ 17(tie) Reynold Gardner (1993-95; Hwt).................... 17(tie) Les Gutches (1993-96; 177/190).................... 1740. Ron Boucher (1973-75, 77; 134)...................... 16(tie) Mike Simons (1987-91; 167/177).................... 16(tie) Babak Mohammadi (1991-92, 94-95; 126/134)................................................................................ 16> (tie) Eric Stevenson (2004-present; 125)……… 16 < 44. Dale Krzmarzick (1981-83; 150/158)............... 15(tie) Isaac Wood (1997-99; 150/158/165)............... 15(tie) Eric Jorgensen (1998-2001; 142/150/157)...... 1547. Mike R. Jones (1970-73; 158).......................... 14(tie) Ron Ziebart (1976-79; 142/158)...................... 14(tie) Gary Yarco (1978-79, 81-82; 177/Hwt)........... 14(tie) Cliff Berger (1981-82, 84-85; 126/134/142)......................................................................................... 14(tie) Jed Pennell (2001-04; 165/174/184)............... 14(tie) Tony Hook (2003-present; 149/157)............... 14> Bobby Pfennigs (2004-present, 133)…………… 12 <> Jamie Rakevich (2004-present, Hwt)………….. 11

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