In addition to these accomplishments Boise State's head wrestling coach, Greg Randall, was named as the "Rookie Coach of the Year" for the 2003 season by Amateur Wrestling News.
Greg Randall head
Wrestling coach at BSU
Chris Owens BSU Rusty Cook BSU
Assistant wrestling coach Assistant wrestling coach
However, despite their many accomplishments during the 2002-2003 wrestling season, the Boise State Broncos face a difficult rebuilding task this season, as a number of last year's starters for Boise State will be missing from the lineup this season.
The Boise State wrestling team will be without the services of All-Americans Ben VomBaur (125 lbs) and Collin Robertson (149 lbs), and possibly without the services of All-American, Boe Rushton (285 lbs) as well.
VomBaur and Robertson were both lost to graduation, along with fellow starters Nathan Ploehn (165 lbs), and three-time NCAA qualifier and 2003 Pac 10 Champion, Gabe Vigil (141 lbs).
In addition to those losses to graduation, Boise State will also be without the services of Tony D'Amico (184 lbs) and Patrick Owens (174 lbs), as D'Amico and Owens are both set to graduate in December of 2003. In total Boise State lost six of their ten starters from last season's squad. As a side note, Patrick Owens was recently named as the new head wrestling coach at Meridian High School……So congrats to Patrick!!
There is also the very real possibility that the Broncos might be without the services of heavyweight Boe Rushton. Boe lost a season and a half worth of wrestling team participation due to two knee injuries suffered during the 1999-2000 and 2000-2001 seasons. He has applied to the N.C.A.A. for a medical hardship season of eligibility (or sixth-year). However, at this point, we still do not know how the N.C.A.A. has ruled on his petition. If his petition is denied that would mean that Boise State would lose a total of SEVEN of their ten starters from the 2002-2003 squad. Earlier this year, when it was believed that Boe would be returning to compete for Boise State this season, Boe was ranked # 1 in the nation at 285 lbs by Intermat in their pre-season poll. So, if he is ruled ineligible to participate this year it would be a very big loss to the Boise State team.
However, despite the many departures from last season's squad the Broncos have a number of new starters, and new additions to the program, all of which look very promising. In fact, it is my opinion that Boise State will almost certainly contend for the Pac 10 wrestling crown once again this season, despite the loss of so many starters. And apparently coach Randall agrees:
"It's definitely a rebuilding year," coach Randall said. "I'm not sure how we're going to do at the beginning of the year, but the guys we are going to put in there all have talent and the hard work to be right up there by the end of the year. It will take a lot of hard work, but I expect the best out of them."
What follows is a breakdown of the 2003-2004 Boise State wrestling team lineup, by weight class, beginning with the lightest weight class (125 lbs) and going up to the heavyweights (285 lbs.).
Replacing two-time N.C.A.A. All-American, and two-time Pac 10 Champion, Ben VomBaur, at 125 pounds, will be redshirt freshman Clint Wolfley. Wolfley was a FOUR-time state champion in Idaho at Snake River High School. During the 2000-2001 season Wolfley competed as an "unattached" wrestler while he redshirted at Boise State as a true freshman. The highlight of his 2000-2001 season was his 3rd place finish at the 2001 University National Freestyle tournament, a tournament designed solely for the participation of collegiate wrestlers who are under 20 years of age. After the 2000-2001 season Wolfley began serving two years on an LDS church mission. "He's been off for two years, but he's a solid wrestler," coach Randall said. "He's tough and he works hard." Those who have seen him in action have been extremely impressed. If all goes well we can expect Clint Wolfley to contend for the Pac 10 championship at 125 lbs., this season, and very possibly All-American status at the N.C.A.A. tournament as a freshman. He is that good, and he will be a valuable part of the Boise State wrestling team for the next four years.
Despite the fact that Clint Wolfley has been away from wrestling for two years now many expect he will be a major competitor in both the Pac 10 and on a national level for Boise State this season. His main competition at 125 lbs in the Pac 10 Conference will most likely be Vic Moreno of Cal Poly (a Junior who is currently ranked 6th in the nation by Intermat) and Efren Ceballos of Cal State Bakersfield (a Junior who is currently ranked 11th in the nation) and Christian Staylor of Arizona State (a redshirt freshman) and Eric Stevenson of Oregon (a redshirt freshman). Any one of these five wrestlers could win the Pac 10 championship at 125 lbs this season. The Pac 10 will be loaded with talented wrestlers at 125 lbs this season, but Clint Wolfley could well be among the best of the bunch
Backing up Clint Wolfley at 125 lbs., will be redshirt freshman Brock Zollinger, a 3-time Idaho State champion in high school who redshirted last season at Boise State.
Brock Zollinger – 125 lbs
Scott Jorgensen – 133 lbs
At 133 lbs., sophomore Scott Jorgensen will be the starter this season for Boise State. Joregensen will be replacing 2003 Pac 10 runner-up, and 2002 Pac 10 champion, Jesse Brock. Scott Jorgensen was a two-State champion in High School. He won a State title in Alaska as a Junior in high school before his family moved to Idaho. He won another State title, here in Idaho, in his senior year in high school. During Jorgensen's career at Boise State he has done nothing but get better, and better, and BETTER. "He's a talented kid that will be solid for us at 133," coach Randall said. Last spring Scott Jorgensen placed among the top 12 at the 2003 United States Senior Open tournament at 132 lbs. This was an extremely impressive performance considering the fact that the U.S. Senior Open tournament is "open" to all of the very best wrestlers in the nation (collegians and former-collegians, i.e., all of the U.S. Olympic hopefuls). To finish among the top 12 at the U.S. Senior Open freestyle tournament is VERY impressive indeed. Last season Jorgensen compiled at 9-9 record at 133 lbs while splitting time with Jesse Brock as the starter for Boise State.
Many expect that Scott Jorgensen will be a contender for the Pac 10 Championship this season at 133 lbs, and some expect he could contend for All-American status at the N.C.A.A. tournament as well. His main competition in the Pac 10 Conference this season will likely come from Mike Simpson of Arizona State (a Senior who is currently ranked 7th in the nation). Simpson is the defending Pac 10 Champion at 133 lbs. Other Pac 10 wrestlers who will provide Scott with competition this year include Matt Sanchez of Cal State Bakersfield (a Junior who is ranked # 20 in the nation currently), and Darrell Vasquez (a redshirt freshman who is already ranked # 18 in the nation) of Cal Poly, and Jason Harless of Oregon (a Senior) and Brad Metzler of Stanford (a Junior). Any one of these six wrestlers could be the Pac 10 champ at 133 lbs. The 125 lb and 133 lb weight classes in the Pac 10 will be loaded with talented wrestlers this season and both weight classes should be extremely competitive.
Jesse Brock – 141 lbs.
At 141 pounds senior Jesse Brock will be the starter for Boise State this season. Jesse was the runner-up in the Pac 10 at 133 lbs last season and he was the Pac 10 Champion at 133 lbs in 2002. Jesse has been working out in the weight room all summer long in order to bulk up from 133 lbs to 141 lbs.
As a Conference the Pac 10 is relatively weak at 141 lbs this season, so the move by Jesse could work to his advantage. As a result, I think we can expect Jesse will contend for the Pac 10 title at this weight class. Last season Jesse compiled a 20-7 record on his way to his 2nd place finish in the Pac 10 at 133 lbs.
Jesse's main competition this season in the Pac 10 at 141 lbs will likely be Juan Mora of Cal State Fullerton (a Junior). No wrestlers from the Pac 10 Conference are ranked among the top 20 in the nation on Intermat's pre-season individual rankings. And the only Pac 10 wrestlers listed among the top 20-30 this season on Intermat's pre-season rankings are Juan Mora & Jesse Brock.
The threesome of Clint Wolfley at 125 lbs, Scott Jorgensen at 133 lbs and Jesse Brock at 141 lbs, gives Boise State an extremely strong lineup at the three lower weight classes. Boise State will have, arguably, the best lineup in the Pac 10 this season in these three weight classes.
Nick Budeski – 149 lbs
At 149 lbs the unenviable task of replacing N.C.A.A. All-American, Collin
Robertson, will fall upon sophomore Nick Budeski. Nick was a two-time state
champion and a two-time state runner-up in high school in Montana. While Budeski
had great success in high school, coach Randall said the coaching staff at Boise
State is still waiting for him to come around in college.
"Last year he did OK, but he was injured for part of the season and we just don't know how he's going to do," Randall said. "He's a tough kid, there's no doubt about that, but he needs to put it together and get a good year of hard wrestling in."
We really do not know what to expect in the way of results from Nick Budeski this season as he really has not had that much in the way of Pac 10 wrestling experience. If he can finish among the top 6 wrestlers in his weight class in the Pac 10 Conference this season I think most would consider that to be a very successful season for him. The 149 lb weight class is a very deep and talented weight class in the Pac 10 this season. Prime contenders for the Pac 10 crown at 149 lbs include Matt Cox a Junior from Cal Poly who is currently ranked # 12 in the nation, and Patrick Williams, a Senior from Arizona State, and Tony Hook, a Sophomore from Oregon State.
Ben Cherrington – 157 lbs
At 157 lbs., sophomore Ben Cherrington will once again be the starter for Boise State. During the 2002-2003 season Ben finished in 4th place at the Pac 10 tournament, as a redshirt freshman; and he was one move away from making it to the Pac 10 finals. He lost a heartbreaking 12-11 decision in the semi-finals of last season's Pac 10 tournament. Last season Ben compiled an overall record of 14-15 on his way to his 4th place finish in the Pac 10.
Ben Cherrington may contend for a Pac 10 championship this season. But he will be very hard pressed to achieve that as 157 lbs is one of the deepest and most talented weight classes in the Pac 10 this season. His primary competition at 157 lbs in the Pac 10 Conference this season will come from Matt Gentry, a Junior from Stanford. Ben defeated Gentry by one point last season at the 2003 Pac 10 tournament. Gentry is currently ranked # 12 in the nation. Other quality wrestlers in the Pac 10 Conference this season at 157 lbs are Brian Stith, a redshirt freshman from Arizona State who many expect to contend for All-American status this season (Stith is currently ranked # 16 in the nation), as well as Jeremiah Jarvis, the defending Pac 10 champion at 157 lbs., a Senior from U.C. Davis.
Russ Brunson – 165 lbs
At 165 lbs., the starter for Boise State appears to be junior Russ Brunson, a former Utah State champion who wrestled for B.Y.U. before the Cougars dropped their wrestling program. Brunson transferred from B.Y.U. to Boise State after serving an LDS church mission. He redshirted at Boise State during the 2001-02 season and wrestled occasionally last season for Boise State, compiling an overall record of 8-7 last season while competing at 157 lbs..
Much like Nick Budeski at 149 lbs, we really do not know what we can expect from Russell Brunson at 165 lbs this season, as he has very little experience in the Pac 10 Conference. However, as a whole, 165 lbs is probably one of the weaker weight classes in the Pac 10 this season, so he may do quite well. In fact, last year's runner-up at 165 lbs in the Pac 10 Conference was Eric Arbogast of Portland State, and Russ Brunson defeated Arbogast rather handily last season when both were competing at 157 lbs. Brunson defeated Arbogast by Majority Decision (15-4) when they competed against one another last season. Arborgast is considered to be among the top competitors this season at 165 lbs in the Pac 10, along with Matt Ellis, a Junior from Oregon State. Ellis finished 3rd at the 2003 Pac 10 tournament, and he was defeated by Arbogast at the Pac 10 tournament by a score of 9-4. Luke Larwin, a Junior from Oregon, and Brody Barrios a Junior from Cal Poly may also contend for the Pac 10 championship this season at 165 lbs. There are no Pac 10 wrestlers who are ranked among the top 20 in the nation on Intermat's pre-season rankings.
Another contender for the starting spot at 165 lbs. for Boise State is sophomore Lex Case. Case was a FOUR-time Idaho State champion in high school from Ashton, ID. Case has been on an LDS church mission for the last two years. Prior to that he wrestled for Ricks College at 165 lbs. as a true freshman (before they dropped their wrestling program). Case did qualify for the N.J.C.A.A. national tournament in 2001, as a true freshman, but he did not place. Case has a redshirt season available to him and he may use it this season.
Lex Case – 165 lbs. (Facing the camera) Lex Case (on the left) wrestling for
Sophomore Ricks College in 2001.
Jon Carlisle – 174 lbs.
At 174 lbs. Boise State has brought in a transfer from Campbell University by the name of Jonathan Carlisle. Carlisle competed for Campbell University (A Division 1 wrestling program in the Colonial Athletic Association) for the last two years. In 2001-2002 he competed at 184 lbs. He compiled a 12-13 record in his true freshman season at 184 lbs. During the 2002-03 season he dropped down 10 lbs, and competed at 174 lbs, and he placed third at the Colonial Athletic Association tournament. His overall record last season was 13-10. Prior to competing for Campbell University, Carlisle won three Utah State championships in high school. He has a redshirt season available to him.
Some of his notable matches last year include a 3-2 loss to Mark Canty of North Carlina. Canty is currently ranked # 19 in the nation on Intermat's pre-season poll. Carlisle also lost another close match (4-2) to Kevin Gabrielson of North Carolina State. Gabrielson is currently listed among the Honorable Mentions at 174 on Intermat's Pre-Season rankings. Carlisle also recorded a 4-3 win over Erik Wince of Gardner Webb. Wince is currently listed as one of the top 30 wrestlers in the nation at 174 lbs on Intermat's Pre-season rankings.
As a result of his past performances while at Campbell I think we can expect that Jon Carlisle should be among the top 30 in the nation this season; and it is highly likely that he will be very competitive in the Pac 10 this season. As a whole, the Pac 10 at 174 lbs is very weak. Particularly in light of the fact that the best wrestler in the Pac 10 at this weight class, (Shane Webster of Oregon, will be redshirted this season. Webster placed 6th as last season's N.C.A.A. tournament and is without question the best in the Pac 10 at this weight class. With Webster taking his redshirt season, there is really only one wrestler of note in the Pac 10 at 174 lbs and that is Jed Pennell of Oregon State (a Senior who is ranked # 18 in the nation currently). The rest of the Pac 10 wrestlers at 174 lbs are, quite honestly, fairly ordinary. As a result it seems that Jon Carlisle has a legitimate shot at making it to the finals of the Pac 10 tournament this season at 174 lbs, if all goes as expected.
If Jonathan Carlisle is redshirted this season we will see Ben Gilliland as the starter for Boise State this season. Last season Gilliland compiled a 3-6 record for Boise State while competing at 174 lbs as a redshirt freshman.
Ben Gilliland – 174 lbs
Casey Phelps – 184 lbs
At 184 lbs., sophomore Casey Phelps may be the starter for Boise State. Last season Phelps split time as the starter for Boise State at 197 lbs with K.C. Walsh. This season Phelps will move down a weight class to take over at 184 for Tony D'Amico. Coach Randall said Casey is a rugged wrestler in a number of areas. "He's a tough kid. He's tough to score on and he's really strong, a big kid," the coach said. While competing last season at 197 lbs, Casey Phelps compiled an overall record of 7-10.
Casey Phelps is somewhat like Nick Budeski and Russ Brunson, as we really do not know what to expect out of him this season. He did split time as the starter for Boise State last season at 197 lbs and he did fairly well at that weight class; so it is fairly reasonable to think that he SHOULD do quite well at 184 lbs this season. However, it remains to be seen if he will be the starter at 184 lbs this season for Boise State or not.
Another contender for the starting spot at 184 lbs. for Boise State this season will be redshirt freshman, Eric Smith. Smith and Phelps faced each twice in high school and each of them won one of the two matches. Phelps won by decision, Smith won by Fall. Phelps and Smith were both two-time Idaho State champions in high school. Last season Eric went 2-2 at the Aggie Open tournament during his redshirt season..
Regardless of who starts for Boise State at 184 lbs this season, their primary competition in the Pac 10 Conference will be the defending Pac 10 Champion at 184 lbs, i.e., Ryan Halsey of Cal Poly (a Sophomore who is currently ranked # 7 in the nation) and Dan Pitsch a Sophomore from Oregon and Nick Frost a Senior from Arizona State who was the Pac 10 Champion at 165 lbs last season. Frost moved up 19 lbs in weight this season to compete at 184 lbs.
Tony D'Amico is still a member of the Boise State wrestling team this season, however, he is going to be graduating at the end of the fall semester and he will not be competing in any events for Boise State this season. He will however be training with the team and providing the benefit of his experience to Casey Phelps and Eric Smith.
Tony D'Amico – 184 lbs
K.C. Walsh – 197 lbs
At 197 lbs., sophomore K.C. Walsh returns as the starter for Boise State. Last season Walsh placed 2nd as a redshirt freshman at the 2003 Pac 10 tournament, losing by only one point in the finals to Arizona State's Ryan Bader. Bader and Walsh faced each other twice last season and each of them won one of the two matches. Both matches were decided by one point. Last season Walsh compiled an overall record of 13-9 on the way to his 2nd place finish in the Pac 10. Look for Walsh to contend for the Pac 10 championship again this season, with Ryan Bader of Arizona State being his only major competition at this weight class.
Boe Rushton – 285 lbs
Boe Rushton is in the process of appealing to the N.C.A.A. for an additional year of eligibility due to the fact that he missed 1 ½ seasons of competition due to not one, but two separate knee injuries. At this point we do not know what his status will be this season, or if he will be allowed to compete. But we do know that he is working out with the hope that he will be allowed to compete for the Boise State wrestling team this season, and he is anticipating that his petition will be approved by the N.C.A.A. He has until the end of the fall semester to get approval from the N.C.A.A.
At 285 lbs., in the event that Boe Rushton's appeal to the N.C.A.A. is not granted, there are two candidates for the starting spot for Boise State at 285 lbs., namely redshirt freshman Justin Moody, and senior Jacob McGuinness.
However, if Rushton is granted his petition for a sixth season Boe will resume his spot as the heavyweight starter for Boise State. Last season Boe placed third at the 2003 N.C.A.A. national tournament. He is already projected as the pre-season # 1 heavyweight wrestler in the nation by Intermat. Last season Boe compiled an overall record of 29-6 on the way to his 3rd place finish at the NCAA tournament.
If Boe's petition is granted by the N.C.A.A. then he will almost certainly contend for the Pac 10 Championship at 285 lbs this season. His main competion in the Pac 10 Conference this season would likely be Cain Velasquez, a Junior College transfer who will compete this season as a Sophomore for Arizona State, and Ty Watterson, a redshirt freshman from Oregon State. Velasquez won the National Junior College heavyweight championship last season as a freshman.
If Boe Rushton's petition is not granted by the N.C.A.A., then Boise State will rely upon either Jacob McGinnis, a Senior, or Justin Moody, a redshirt Freshman. McGinnis compiled an overall record of 7-5 last season and Justin Moody went 3-2 during his redshirt season, including a 7-5 win over Jacob McGinnis.
Jacob McGinnis – 285 lbs. Justin Moody – 285 lbs.
Senior Redshirt Freshman
In addition to the above named wrestlers, Boise State has also added four very promising wrestlers from the high school ranks, one of which is coach Randall's nephew, Nick Beuter. Beuter is a one time Iowa State champion and two time Iowa state runner-up. Beuter is projected to compete at 141 lbs in college.
Another newcomer is Johnny Nunez, a two time Idaho state champion and one-time Idaho State runner-up, out of Mountain Home H.S. Nunez is projected to compete at either 141 or 149 lbs.
A third newcomer to Boise State is Zach Elliott, a three time Utah state champion who is projected to compete at 149 or 157 lbs.
The fourth addition is Jason Cates, a one time Idaho state champion, and two time Idaho state runner-up. Cates is projected to compete at 174 lbs. It is virtually certain that all four of these 2003 high school senior additions will be redshirted during the 2003-2004 season at Boise State University.
Despite the loss of six (or possibly seven) starters off of last season's squad, Boise State will still be poised to make a run for the Pac 10 championship in 2003-2004. "We're putting out a pretty young team on the mat next year, but if we show improvement throughout the season, hopefully we'll make an impact and another run at a PAC-10 title," coach Randall said. "That's where we'd like to be and eventually get better down the road."
Knowing what they have accomplished in the past, it seems certain that Boise State will once again contend for the Pac 10 title this season; despite the loss of so many starters. I think this is what we can realistically expect in the way of results from the Boise State wrestlers this season.:
125 lbs – Clint Wolfley – He can compete with the best in the nation and do VERY well, and he could very easily make it to the finals of the Pac 10 this season if all goes well. However, this weight class in the Pac 10 is loaded with talented wrestlers. This weight class is quite literally too close to call this early in the Pac 10 season. I'd expect he'll be among the top four in the Pac 10 this season at the very least.
133 lbs – Scott Jorgensen – He should be among the top 2 at this weight class in the Pac 10 this season. Top four minimum.
141 lbs – Jesse Brock – He should also be among the top 2 in the Pac 10 at this weight.
149 lbs – Nick Budeski – We will have to wait and see how he does, but he could finish among the top 6 in the Pac 10 at this weight class if he does well.
157 lbs. – Ben Cherrington – This is one of the deepest weight classes in the Pac 10 this season but Ben is easily one of the top 4 in the Pac 10 at this weight. If he does well this season he could make it to the finals in the Pac 10.
165 lbs. – Russ Brunson – He has to be considered among the top 3 at this weight class and he could make it to the finals in the Pac 10 as well.
174 lbs – Jon Carlisle – He initially looks to be among the top two in the Pac 10 at this weight class. The only Pac 10 wrestler at this weight class who appears to be better is Jed Pennell of Oregon State.
184 lbs – Casey Phelps or Eric Smith – Either one of them is likely to be among the top four in the Pac 10 at this weight class.
197 lbs. – K.C. Walsh – He is as close to a "lock" for Boise State to be in the Pac 10 finals as there is this season (if Boe does not compete).
285 lbs. – Boe Rushton ?? OR Justin Moody - If he's eligible, and barring injury, Rushton is a virtual lock to make it to the Pac 10 finals. If Rushton is not eligible to compete this season, then Justin Moody should be among the top 3 or top 4 in the Pac 10 this year. Cain Velasquez of Arizona State and Ty Watterson of Oregon State are the other major heavyweight competitors this season in the Pac 10.
OR PUT ANOTHER WAY the only weight class that Boise State may not be competititve at this season is the 149 lb weight class. Boise State should be among the top four at every other weight class, if not the top two. Boise State's primary competitor in the Pac 10 this season will almost certainly be Arizona State (as usual). There are really only two other teams in the Pac 10 who will be somewhat competitive with Boise State and Arizona State and those two teams are Cal Poly and Oregon State.