Broncos 11th At NCAA Wrestling Championships

What could have been. Minus two wrestlers that Boise State expected to be at the NCAA Championships at the start of the season, the Broncos still finished 11th at the NCAA National Wrestling Championships in Omaha, Nebraska. (Photo courtesty of Stanley Brewster--all rights reserved.)

Boise State finished 11th in the nation at the NCAA Wrestling Championships which concluded last night in Omaha , Nebraska .  The Broncos compiled 43.5 points in just falling short of their best-ever finish of 10th place in 1999.

That Coach Greg Randall's team achieved this feat without injured heavyweight warrior Sam Zylstra and after a stinging Pac-10 Championships that saw Oregon State knock off the two-time Champion Broncos says a lot for their character.  Kirk Smith just missed winning the national championship at 184 pounds, finishing second.  Adam Hall captured third place at 157 pounds.  Smith and Hall both earned All-America honors.  That the Broncos were this successful without another nationally-ranked top-five wrestler, Andrew Hochstrasser, has them wondering what could have been.

Smith entered last night's championship match with a perfect 28-0 record as the nation's #1-ranked wrestler in his classification.  He was upset by #6 Max Askren of Missouri 10-3.  Askren took it to Smith from the outset, opening up a seven-point first period lead that Smith could never counter.  Askren scored a two-point takedown in the first 30 seconds, and then earned a two-point near fall and a three-point near fall to end the period. 

Smith trailed 8-1 entering the midway point of the third period before finally getting a takedown for two points.  Askren was able to get a point for escape and a point for riding advantage for the final count.

Despite the loss, Smith recorded the best finish at 184 pounds in school history, topping Cash Edwards, who finished sixth in 2001. 

Hall fought through the consolation bracket at 157 pounds to earn his third-place finish after being upset in the national quarterfinals by fellow Pac-10 Conference rival Chase Pami of Cal Poly.

"[Coming back] was huge because once my ultimate goal of winning a national championship was over for this year the next best thing was this," Hall said Saturday night. "My coaches told me to finish what I started. Coach [Chris] Owens told me last night, 'hey, people will respect a guy that comes back to take third after losing like that'. I knew I had to do it."

Hall took on #5 Steve Fittery of American University in the morning session.  A two-point near fall gave Hall a 6-4 victory.  Hall then scored two takedowns and a two-point reversal for a major 8-0 win over Binghamton 's Justin Lister in the third-place match.

Smith and Hall's heroics give Boise State 19 individual All-Americans.  Smith is one of five Broncos to win multiple All-American honors, as he also earned All- America status his freshman year.  Smith joins Edwards (2000 and 2001), Larry Quisel at 157 pounds (1999 and 2000), Ben VomBaur (All-American at 125 pounds in 2002 and 2003) and Kirk White (the only three-time All-American at Boise State with a national championship in 1999 and All-America honor in '99 and 2000 at 165 pounds and a national championship at 157 pounds in 2001).

Iowa won the National Championship with 134.5 total points.  The Hawkeyes did not win an individual title or even place second, but three Iowa wrestlers took third place and two finished fourth.  Cornell finished second with 90 points, followed by Iowa State (75), Wisconsin (70.5), fifth-place Oklahoma (69), Oklahoma State in sixth with 65 points, Minnesota (63), Ohio State eighth with 62 points, Penn State with 49 and 10th-place Missouri with 48 points, just 4.5 points ahead of Boise State.


Bronco Country Top Stories