Fourth-Place Aggies Send Four To NCAA Championships

Brandon Bear was one of three consolation champions at the Pac-10 finals.
Brandon Bear was one of three consolation champions at the Pac-10 finals.

Feb. 28, 2005

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -- - UC Davis finished a program-high fourth at the 2005 Pacific-10 Conference Championships at Cal Poly on Monday while advancing four wrestlers to the NCAA Championships in St. Louis., Mo., in March.

Derek Moore (133), Jeff Bristol (141) and Brandon Bear (184) each finished third at the conference championships and earned automatic berths to the national meet, while top-seeded Ronnie Silva was fourth but earned a wild card berth.

UC Davis finished fourth at the Pac-10 Championships, its highest finish since the Aggies started Division I competition in 1993. The Aggies' previous best showing was sixth in 2002. UC Davis scored 82 points, edging Cal Poly which was fifth with 81, and was just seven points behind Oregon which secured third with 88. UC Davis secured that fourth-place finish despite being the only school without a wrestler in one of the 10 championship finals.

Arizona State won the conference championship with 106 points, Boise State was second with 93 and Oregon place third with 88.

UC Davis is sending a quartet of wrestlers to the championships for the second consecutive year and for the third time in school history. The Aggies also had four wrestlers advance in 2001.

Moore, who finished third at 133 pounds, and Bear, who was third at 184, are each making their second straight trip to the national meet. Bristol took third at 141 and will be making his first appearance at the NCAA Championships while Silva, who was the top seed at 174, took fourth at the Pac-10 Championships and will also wrestle at the national championships for the first time.

The top three finishers in each weight class earned automatic berths to the NCAA Championships while an additional 10 wild cards were awarded following Monday's championship finals.

UC Davis entered Monday with seven wrestlers in the hunt for a coveted top-three finish. Frank Richmond (157) lost 7-2 to Pat Pitsch of Arizona State in his consolation semifinal but rebounded to finish fifth with an 11-3 major decision against Russell Brunson of Boise State.



Daniel Murphree (149) dropped a 7-3 decision to Cal Poly's Jeff Owens in his semifinal bout and then fell to Pat Williams of Arizona State 14-6 in his fifth-place match. Reed Shelger was defeated by Landon Seefeldt of Cal State Fullerton 12-7 and then finished sixth after being edged by Cal Poly's Ralph Garcia, 3-2.

The Aggies posted three consolation champions for the first time in school history - in fact, UC Davis has never had three wresters finish among the top three in any previous meet - and with seven placewinners beat their previous best by one.

The third-seed Moore earned a spot in the third-place match by beating John Espinoza of Arizona State 11-1 and then beat Chad Mendes of Cal Poly by an 11-7 decision. Bear joined Moore with a third after beating Ryan Halsey of Cal Poly for the first time this season, edging him 3-2. Bear then put a stamp on his ticket to the national championships by beat Oregon State's Dan Pitsch, 10-4.

Bristol, competing at his first Pac-10 Championships, had a pair of close bouts to earn his third-place finish. He won a tight 3-1 decision over Robert Vargas of Cal State Bakersfield before beating Tim Norman of Oregon State by a single point at 3-2.

The NCAA Championships will be held March 17-19 in St. Louis, Mo.