No. 25 Aggies Send Five To Michigan For National Championships

Ken Cook (shown) and Derek Moore are both seeded heading into the national championships. (Wayne Tilcock, <i> Davis Enterprise</i>)
 
Ken Cook (shown) and Derek Moore are both seeded heading into the national championships. (Wayne Tilcock, Davis Enterprise)
 

March 12, 2007

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THIS WEEK
March 15-17 NCAA Division I Championships, All Day (Palace of Auburn Hills)

TV Coverage
March 16 - ESPNU, 11 a.m. EST (Quaterfinals)/7 p.m. EST (Semifinals)
March 17 - ESPNU, 10 a.m. EST (Medal Rounds)
ESPN - 8 p.m. EST (Finals)

LAST WEEK
Feb. 24-25 - Pacific-10 Championships, 3rd place

PAC-10 CHAMPIONSHIP REVIEW
Derek Moore won his second consecutive 141-pound Pacific-10 championship and a school-record total of seven Aggies placed to help the UC Davis wrestling team finish a program-best third overall with 96.5 points on the final day of the Pac-10 Championships at the Icardo Center on the campus of Cal State Bakersfield.

Dustin Noack and Ken Cook each placed second at 165 and 174, respectively for the Aggies. Marcos Orozco at 125 and Omar Gaitan at 133 each placed third to help the Aggies capture a total of 96.5 points.

Oregon State won its first Pac-10 title since 1995 with their point total of 110 while host school Cal State Bakersfield finished as runners-up with 105 points.

NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP PREVIEW
UC Davis has a total of five wrestlers who earned bids to the NCAA Championships, which is the most ever in the history of the program. Moore, Cook, Noack, Gaitan and Orozco will all represent the Aggies in Auburn Hills, Mich. during the national tournament on March 15-17.

For a school-record second consecutive season, Moore and Cook have earned seeds into the national tournament. Moore receives the highest-ever seed for a UC Davis wrestler as he enters as the No. 2 seed. With a perfect 19-0 record, Moore will compete against C.J. Ettelson of Northern Iowa on the first day.

With his No. 6 seed, Cook enjoys the highest seed of his career as he takes a 24-4 overall record into his final championships. He will meet up with redshirt freshman Trevor Perry of Indiana in his first match .

As unseeded wrestlers, Noack, Gaitan and Orozco are drew tough first day matches against top-seeded opponents. Noack faces No. 2, Gaitan No. 4 and Orozco No. 5 in their respective opening matches.

UC Davis currently enjoys its highest-ever team ranking by the NWCA as they sit No. 25 on the list.

HEAD COACH Lennie Zalesky
On Team's Accomplishments: "This year we're a team that has a made a statement that we can now compete with some of the elite teams in the nation. I believe that if we were totally healthy heading into Pac-10's that we could've placed even more and qualified a few more guys for nationals. This year we raised the bar and now we just need to continue to raise it. "

On Nationals: "We are heading in with the notion that we cane improve on last year's overall finish. I think all five guys have a realistic shot a surprising some people and going deep into the tournament. Anything could happen."

Marcos Orozco (125): Placed third at the Pac-10 Conference tournament by winning three matches as the fifth seed... Defeated Arizona State's John Espinoza, 8-6, in the third-place match... Represented UC Davis at 125-pounds for all 15 duals for the second straight season...Will participate in his first NCAA championships... Orozco has posted 15 victories in NCAA-countable matches this season and is 8-6 in Pac-10 dual competition... Orozco was ranked as high as second amongst Pac-10 125-pounders and held the No. 3 position for most of the season.

Omar Gaitan (133): Finished third in the Pac-10 and was ranked 19th in the nation for several weeks at the start of the season.. Has an overall record of 19-9 this season and is tied for the team lead with five pins... Gaitan is 16-8 this season in NCAA-countable matches and is 7-4 in Pac-10 duals... Gaitan leads UC Davis in dual wins with 12 on the season, which ties him for fourth on the UC Davis season dual wins list... His 54 career wins against NCAA-countable opponents is ninth-best all-time... This will be Gaitan's second NCAA championship appearance... Last season he earned one of nine Pac-10 wild card births into the national championships.

Derek Moore (141): PACIFIC-10 CONFERENCE CHAMPION at 141 pounds... Became the first Aggie to ever win back-to-back Pac-10 championships... Ranked as high as No. 2 by the NWCA this season.... Currently ranked second in the nation... Was the top-ranked Pac-10 wrestler at 141 pounds all season... Moore spent the first six weeks of the season ranked second in the nation before falling to the third position after missing a few matches due to injury... Enters his fourth career NCAA Championships with a perfect mark of 19-0 on the season, which includes six dual wins, 11 wins against Pac-10 opponents and 16 wins in NCAA -countable matches... Moore leads the team with six major decisions to go along with his four pins and one technical fall... His season was highlighted with championships at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational and California Invite.

Dustin Noack (165): Placed second overall in his first Pac-10 Conference tournament at 165 pounds... Pinned Jack McCoy of Oregon in 3:56 before majoring Johnny Nunez of Boise State to make the championship finals... Lost a heartbreaker, 3-2, to Arizona State's Patrick Pitsch in the championship match... Took over at 165 pounds in only his second season with the Aggies... Ranked second in the Pac-10 conference all season... He is third on the team with 20 overall wins, 17 of which have come in NCAA-countable matches... He is a perfect 8-0 against Pac-10 opponents in duals this season and has accumulated 41 dual points for the Aggies... Of his eight wins in conference, two have come by major decision while two others were by fall... This is the first time Noack will represent the Aggies at the NCAA Championships.

Ken Cook (174): Placed second at the Pacific-10 Championships at 174 pounds... Ranked as a high as fourth in the NWCA rankings, which is the highest ranking of his career... Leads Aggies with five pins, 14 wins against conference opponents, 24 wins against NCAA-countable opponents and 53 dual points... His 24 overall victories is a career-best and puts him eighth on the single season list while his .857 winning percentage thus far this year is a school record... Career winning percentage so far is also the best of all-time... Ranked atop the Pac-10 standings all season... The highlight for Cook this season came at the Reno Tournament of Champions in December when he claimed the 174-pound championship with a perfect 5-0 record... Overall, Cook ranks second on the team on the team with 24 wins and four major decisions... Last year Cook became the first Agggie to ever win a Pac-10 championship at 174 pounds and joined teammate Moore as the first UC Davis wrestlers to earn seeds at the national championships.