Ryan Smith wrestled his way to a 14-8 record in 200-12, including a win over No. 14 Daniel Mitchell of American University Friday night. Smith qualified for the 2011 NCAA Tournament as a junior in the 197-pound weight class. Mustang Daily File Photo

The Mustang wrestling squad split two dual meets over the weekend, losing to American University then rebounding for a conference win over Boise State.

Cal Poly wrestles Boise State to floor

In a dual meet where every wrestler’s match had the potential to make the difference between victory and defeat, Cal Poly’s wrestling team pulled out a razor-thin 22-20 win against Boise State Sunday afternoon.

First year head coach Brendan Buckley said he knew it would be a tight match before the two teams hit the mat.

“We’ve got some young guys in our lineup, they’ve got some young guys in their lineup,” he said. “So it’s good that we battled through and found a way to win.”

The dual meet started with a forfeit at the 125-pound weight class from Boise State, which gave Cal Poly a 6-0 lead before any action took place. From there, it was back and forth all afternoon, with no more than nine points ever separating the two teams.

The match featured two of Cal Poly’s top senior wrestlers, both ranked at No. 4 in the nation. The second matchup of the afternoon pitted 141-pound Boris Novachkov, who placed second in the nation last year, against Ben Demeulle, a sophomore. Novachkov beat Demeulle 13-2, giving Poly a major decision and four crucial points.

The other ranked Cal Poly wrestler, Ryan DesRoches, faced Boise State freshman Scott Bacon at the 174-pound weight class. DesRoches defeated Bacon once earlier this year.

“I hate second time wrestling,” DesRoches said. “I can be more confident because I already beat him, but at the same time, he already knows what I do.”

DesRoches spent the majority of the match trying to turn Bacon to his back from the top position, but found no success there.

“Even if you’re not scoring points on top, you’re still scoring mental points trying to break him,” he said.

It proved to be a close match until the third period where DesRoches opened up a 9-3 lead with a pair of takedowns. DesRoches’ win brought the score to 16-16.

Sean Dougherty followed, falling in an 8-13 decision to Cody Dixon, a Boise sophomore and gave way to 197-pound senior Ryan Smith, who had proved to be a crowd favorite in Mott Gym. For the first time all afternoon, the stands came to life.

“He definitely likes wrestling at home, that’s obvious,” Buckley said. “He’s wrestling really well, so we’re proud of him.”

Smith was up against Brent Chriswell, a former All-American, in the 197-pound weight class. Smith came out in the first period and took Chriswell from his feet to his back, taking an early 5-0 lead. From there, he was able to ride out the match to a 13-8 victory that sealed the win for the Mustangs.

“A good wrestler never blows a five-point lead,” Smith said. “You should never blow a five-point lead, and that was just my mindset through the match.”

Eagles soar over Mustang 

Smith’s late match heroics weren’t enough to save the Mustang wrestling squad on Friday night as American University defeated Cal Poly 25-13.
The 197-pound Smith faced No. 14 Daniel Mitchell who pinned the Mustang over winter break in a match Smith said he was not mentally prepared for. That changed on Friday as Smith took a 1-0 lead in the second period, only to surrender it early in the final period. Stuck in the neutral position with his opponent, Smith found an opening and took Mitchell to the ground for the match-winning takedown.
“Wrestling is a mental game,” Smith said. “Getting pinned by (Mitchell) gave me fire. I knew he wasn’t as good as me, and I could beat him. It was a great feeling to have another shot at him and beat him here.”
The win has Smith, a qualifier for the 2011 NCAA Tournament, looking for more out of 2012 for himself and his fellow seniors.
“I will not be satisfied unless I am an All-American at the end of the year,” Smith said. “I know that Novachkov will not be satisfied unless he is a national champion, and DesRoches will not be satisfied unless he is a national champion.”
Novachkov and DesRoches, both ranked at No. 4 in the country at 141 and 174-pounds, respectively, improved their records with wins versus Eagle wrestlers. DesRoches, known for his cool demeanor, plodded along in his match steadily working up a lead with four takedowns in the first five minutes then added three more points in the final period to earn a 13-4 major decision (a win by 8 or more points).

“I think all my hard work is paying off, but I just want more,” DesRoches said. “Winning by a major (decision) wasn’t good enough for the team. The team needed a pin so there’s always room for improvement.”

DesRoches credits his hot start to a new coaching staff he said helped to slow down matches and not get panicked in close duels.

The senior, who moved up a weight class Friday allowing Dominic Kastl to take the mat, is now 18-0 on the year with three tournament victories.

Also nationally-ranked, Novachkov, who claims a 18-2 record, never lost control of the match against No. 14 Matt Mariacher — even though the two ended with a 3-2 score.

Novachkov, also a senior, placed second in the nation in 2011 losing to Kellen Russell in the final match of the NCAA Tournamnet. Russell also defeated Novachkov 3-2 earlier this season in a match decided by riding time (Russell defeated Novachkov twice last season in 3-2 matches).

The match turned in favor of the Eagles in the third to last match when Brandon Rocha, leading by two points and controlling the match with an unpredictable mix of single and double-leg takedowns, was caught off balance by Corey Borshoff and taken straight to his back. A few seconds later, the referee’s hand hit the mat, and Rocha stormed back to the bench suffering a third period pin.

Redshirt freshman Kastl took DesRoches’ spot at 174-pounds in a tactical move by Buckley in an attempt to earn some extra points against the Eagles. Kastl controlled the match from end to end, earning two takedowns in the first period to put him in front for good. He finished with an 8-3 minor decision, a victory by seven or fewer points.

Junior transfer Atticus Disney had an off night as the heavyweight looked like he ran out of gas in the third period trailing 3-1 and couldn’t fight his way to attack opponent Blake Herrin’s legs in the waning seconds. He falls to 8-8 on the year.

“That’s just wrestling,” Disney said. “Sometimes you go out and lose to someone you shouldn’t lose to, but it’s all about if you can come back and respond like you should.”

Smith, Disney and DesRoches were all quick to compliment the new coaching staff headed by Buckley, who came to Cal Poly via Columbia this summer, and said they are pleased with the changes they see in the wrestling room.

 

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