March 16, 2005
DAVIS, Calif. -
UC Davis wrestlers will face No.1 and No.2 seeds - both previous NCAA champions - along with a No.7 seed and a potential interesting matchup as the Aggie quartet open up competition on Thursday at the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships in St. Louis, Mo.
Derek Moore (133), Jeff Bristol (141), Ronnie Silva (174) and Brandon Bear (184) equal the largest group of UC Davis qualifiers to the national championships. The Aggies also had four wrestlers last season - a group that included Moore and Bear - as well as 2001. After sending no more than one wrestler a season prior to 2000, UC Davis has qualified at least three wrestling during four of the past five seasons.
UC Davis is also looking for its first All-American in Division I wrestling, although Moore came within a match of doing so at the 2005 NCAA Championships which were also held at St. Louis. The Aggies' road at the national championships will not be easy with three UC Davis wrestlers opening against seeded competitors.
Moore, a sophomore fom Redding, draws the toughest seed for the second consecutive season, facing No.1 Travis Lee of Cornell, the same wrestler he began last year's 133-pound championship. Lee, ranked No.1 this season by a pair of national wrestling publications and No.2 by two more, pinned Moore in the third period last season. Lee is a three-time All-America who won the 2003 NCAA title at 125 pounds. He brings a 32-1 record into the meet.
Moore, ranked as high as 12th in the country, has an NCAA record of 19-7 after finishing third at the Pac-10 Conference Championships at Cal Poly last month. After losing to Lee in his first match at nationals last year, Moore rebounded to make a stirring run through the consolation bracket, winning three consecutive matches, including one by technical fall and another by major decision, before being eliminated by Foley Dowd of Michigan just one match away from a top-eight finish and All-America status.
Bristol, one of three third-place finishers for the Aggies at the Pac-10 Championships, is making his first appearance at the national championships and drew the No.2 seed, Teyon Ware of Oklahoma. Bristol, a sophomore from Temecula, is just 6-4 this season after not beginning his season until late January and is not ranked. Ware finished sixth at last year's NCAA Championships, a year after capturing the national title. He is ranked second by three national publications, is 28-3 overall and finished second at the recent Big 12 Conference Championships.
Silva is in his first NCAA Championship tournament and will open his competition with No.7-seeded Andy Roy of Rutgers Silva, a senior from Clovis, like Bristol didn't start wrestling this season for UC Davis until after the New Year. But he won his first seven matches and was the top seeded wrestler at 174 pounds at the conference championships. Silva is 10-3 and unranked after taking fourth at the Pac-10 meet.
Roy is Rutgers' first four-time NCAA qualifier and is ranked seventh nationally by The Wrestling Mall, W.I.N. Magazine and the National Wrestling Coaches Association, and eighth by Amateur Wrestling News. He brings a 20-3 overall record into the NCAA meet after finishing one match short of All-America honors in 2004. If Silva can upset Roy in his first match then he faces the possibility of facing Roy's brother, Nick, in the next round. Nick Roy, who wrestles at Michigan, will face No.10 E.K. Waldhaus of Oklahoma and upset by Roy would send him against either Silva or Andy Roy.
Bear, a senior from Modesto, returns to the national championships for the second straight season after finishing third at the Pac-10 Championships. He brings a 20-7 record and is ranked 19th by The Wrestling Mall, W.I.N. Magazine, Amateur Wrestling News and the NWCA. Bear will face the winner of a pigtail match between John Davis of Chattanooga and Ben Wissell of Purdue.
Davis qualified for the NCAA Championships last season and is 20-11 while Wissell is 17-13 after finishing fifth at the Big Ten Championships. Wissell is ranked as high as 11th nationally. The winner of Bear's match will face either No.4 seed Eric Bradley of Penn State or T.J. Morrison of Rider.
Bear was eliminiated after two matches last year.
UC Davis tied for 48th place at the 2004 NCAA Championships. The Aggies enter this year's tournament after finishing a program-high fourth place at the Pac-10 Championships despite not having a single wrestler in a championship bout.