Busy Week Of Pac-10 Duals Features Zalesky vs. Zalesky

The Aggies welcome Oregon, Oregon State and Portland State to Davis for Pac-10 duals this weekend. (Wayne Tilcock, <I>Davis Enterprise</i>)
The Aggies welcome Oregon, Oregon State and Portland State to Davis for Pac-10 duals this weekend. (Wayne Tilcock, Davis Enterprise)

Jan. 30, 2007

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Friday, Feb. 2 - Oregon, 12:00 p.m. (Pavilion)
Friday, Feb. 2 - Oregon State, 7:00 p.m. (Pavilion)
Saturday, Feb. 3 - at All-California Tournament, All Day
Saturday, Feb. 3 - Portland State, 7:00 p.m. (Hickey Gym)

Saturday, Jan. 27 - Won at Cal State Bakersfield, 23-16

The Aggies prevailed, 23-16, against Cal State Bakersfield last Saturday in a Pac-10 dual. No. 4 Ken Cook recorded his second straight victory by fall to lead the Aggies while No. 3 Derek Moore and Omar Gaitan each earned major decisions at 141 and 133, respectively.

The Aggies jumped out an early 11-0 lead before the Roadrunners finally snapped the streak with a major decision at 149. UC Davis responded with another string of three unanswered victories to run away with a 23-4 lead and the eventual win.

Alex Darkhovsky claimed the first NCAA victory of his short career in wild fashion as he earned four points in the final nine seconds with a reversal and three-point near fall. Dustin Noack earned an escape point with eleven seconds remaining while also gaining the one point for over two minutes of riding time to defeat the fifth-ranked Pac-10 wrestler.

Bakersfield would claim the remaining three matches, including a pin in the heavyweight bout to make the final score a little closer.

UC Davis wrestling has a brutal week of competition coming up as they face three Pac-10 rivals in a two-day span. The Aggies begin with two duals against Oregon and Oregon State on Friday. The dual with Oregon begins at noon while the Oregon State dual is later that night at 7 p.m. The team then returns on Saturday for a 7 p.m. dual with Portland State, which will be held in Hickey Gym.

Last season the Aggies traveled up to Oregon for the double dual against the Ducks and Beavers. The Aggies got one fall and three major decisions against the Ducks to pull out the 21-19 victory. Against the Beavers, Tyler Berhnacchi posted the only Aggie victory in a tough 34-3 loss.

Against Portland State, the Aggies prevailed by a score of 36-9 after winning all but two of the matches, one of which came by forfeit.

UC Davis will also send a handful of its younger wrestlers down to San Francisco on Saturday for the All-California Tournament. The event is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. and run through the afternoon.

Zalesky vs. Zalesky 3
For the third time in their coaching careers, brothers and former Iowa Hawkeye greats Lennie and Jim Zalesky will meet in a dual. Jim holds the advantage with a 2-0 record against his older brother, the latest of which came two years ago at The Pavilion when his Iowa Hawkeyes beat UC Davis by a score of 26-9. The Aggies won three of the final four matches to end on a high note. With Jim becoming the new head coach of Oregon State last spring, this marks the first meeting between the two as head coaches of Pacific-10 schools.

"I enjoy the fact that we are both entering this dual with strong teams and that we both have the potential to be undefeated in Pac-10 coming in," said Lennie. "It's really fun to have this kind of rivalry going on. Of course there is always a bit of teasing on the line and bragging rights, but we like to have fun with it. I think he likes being up at Oregon State and I know he has fun with the rivalry."

Jim's other victory came in 2003 as his Hawkeyes again overwhelmed the Aggies, this time by a score of 36-3 in Iowa City.

Both brothers competed for Iowa in the early 1980's and are both considered two of the best wrestlers in Hawkeye history. Lennie is a three-time All-American, three-time Big Ten Champion and a two-time national runner-up at 142 pounds. Jim won three national titles at 158 and was a four-time All-American and four-time Big Ten Champion. Both wrestled under legendary head coach Dan Gable and won national championships as a member of the Hawkeyes each of their four years on the team. Jim also coached Iowa to three national championships during his nine years as head coach.

Oregon State enters the match up with a 13-1 record and an unblemished mark of 5-0 in the Pac-10. The Beavers are fresh off two dominating wins over perennial Pac-10 frontrunners Arizona State, 31-10, and Boise State, 32-6.

UC Davis is also undefeated in the Pac-10 with a 3-0 mark. The Aggies have defeated Cal State Fullerton, Cal State Bakersfield and Stanford in conference competition this season.

The match will begin at 7 p.m. in the Pavilion.

HEAD COACH Lennie Zalesky
On Match with Bakersfield: "I thought we had the advantage in about six different weight classes, so we knew that when we started at 125 we would get off to a big lead. We actually had a shot in all the matches that we lost, but that's how it goes sometime. Anytime we can beat Bakersfield is good because they're always a tough team and they always wrestle hard. We didn't perform that well overall and as we get closer to the Pac-10 championships we need to start peaking and improving a little more."

On Oregon: "Oregon isn't as strong as they've been in years past, but we aren't taking them lightly. They're probably favored in a few matches. I'm not too sure what they have across the board but I know they'll be tough at 133, heavyweight and 165. We've beaten them the past few years and last year's match was really close. We'll see how it shapes up."

On Oregon State: "We'll have to wrestle hard for the full seven minutes against them to have a chance. Their 13-1 coming in and my brother's got them rolling right now. They've beat Arizona State and Boise State pretty soundly the past couple weeks and they look tough. We just have to wrestle them tough and we can't make any mistakes. On paper we're only favored in three weights, so we're going to have to pull out some close matches at the other weights like 125, 133, 184 and 197. Those will be big. They're the team to beat in the Pac-10. If we wrestle to the best of our ability we have a shot to win, but it'll be tough."

On Portland State: "They're having a tough year, but we're not underestimating them at all. They have the advantage in a couple weights, but we're going to have a hard time after coming off the duals with Oregon and Oregon State the day before. Historically, they usually have a couple guys who are capable of a win at any given time. I'm not sure what they have exactly, but we expect them to be tough. It'll also be tough for our guys to make weight at 11 a.m. because we'll be coming off a dual. They'll need to drop a few pounds before weigh-ins."

On All-California Tournament: "We'll try to send all of our backups to that tournament because it gives them some more experience. It's an open tournament so anybody can go and it's good in the way that it lets our younger guys some experience. It should be a good time for them."



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