Jan. 4, 2009

INDIANAPOLIS-- A short-handed Adams State College wrestling team advanced four of their five No. 1 seeds to the championship semifinals and stands in fifth place amongst 22 teams after Saturday, the first of two days of competition at the Midwest Classic being contested here in the University of Indianapolis' Nicoson Hall.

125-pound junior Arsenia Barksdale (Norfolk, Va.), 141-pound senior Raymond Dunning (Nashville, Tenn.), 157-pound junior Noomis Jones (Arvada, Colo.) and 184-pound junior Kyle Sand (Arvada, Colo.) all went 2-0 on the day. Each was seeded first in their respective weight classes as was 149-pound junior Joey Deaguero (Commerce City, Colo.), the only top-seeded Grizzly to go down during the day that trimmed each of the 10 weight classes to the men that will rank themselves for the top eight places when action resumes, Sunday at 10 a.m. (EST).

ASC junior heavyweight Jeff Schossow (Fort Morgan, Colo.) is also amongst those men as he went 2-1 on Saturday helping the Grizzlies, who did not have representatives at 133, 165 or 174 pounds, to a team score of 54 points.

Newberry (S.C.) College, ranked fifth in the latest (Dec. 2) NCAA Division II National Wrestling Coaches Association Rankings, one spot behind the Grizzlies, also had a strong day advancing eight men to the championship semifinals. Newberry, which finished second behind ASC at last year's tournament, has 91.5 team points and a commanding 21.5-point lead over No. 17 Wisconsin-Parkside, which has six wrestlers in title contention.

No. 19 Ashland (Ohio) is third with 63.5 points while No. 14 West Liberty State (W. Va.) stands just ahead of the Grizzlies with 56 points. Five other teams ranked or receiving votes in the Top 20 poll are also in competition in the elite tournament that also includes some top Division III and NAIA squads.

Barksdale, looking for his third straight Midwest Classic title, wrestled in his natural weight class for the first time this season posting two bonus-point wins. He improved to 7-5 overall as he pinned Wabash's (Ind.) Josh Boyer in just three minutes and 46 seconds before scoring a 9-0 major decision victory over West Liberty State's Matt Wykoff in the quarterfinals.

Barksdale, who has faced a ton of Division I competition at 133 pounds earlier in the season, will next face No. 4 seed Brandon Davis of Ashland in the semifinals.

Dunning, the 2006 tournament champion and Most Outstanding Wrestler, also had a fine day pinning Wabash's Ethan Flater in just 1:54 before scoring a 10-0 major decision shutout win over eighth-seeded Central Missouri's Cory Bloodgood in the quarterfinals.

Now, 14-7 on the year, Dunning will face Newberry's Tony Washington in a battle of nationally-ranked grapplers in Sunday morning's semifinal round. Washington, the fourth seed, is ranked sixth in the country. Dunning is ranked first.

Jones also pinned a Wabash wrestler his opening match as he took out Graham Youngs in 5:41 before edging Mount St. Joseph's (Ohio) Bryan Massong, the eighth seed, by a 4-3 count in the quarterfinals.

Jones, ranked second in the NCAA Division II rankings, is now 11-5 on the year and will face No. 5 seed Brandon Monin of Gannon (Pa.) as part of his quest to improve upon his runner-up finish in 2008.

Sand broke a 6-match December slide as he beat Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference foe Andy Laiminger of Mesa State by a 10-4 score in the round of 16 before posting a 3-1 decision over No. 8 seed Matt Alexander of Ohio Northern to improve to 6-6 on the season.

Sand, ranked second in the nation at 197 pounds, will face No. 5 seed Lucas Haag of Wisconsin-Parkside in the semifinals.

Deaguero also got off to a fine start of his 2008 tournament defense pinning Manchester's (Ind.) Torry Heffelfinger just two minutes into his opening match before falling by a 10-5 score to Mesa State's Keith Johnson in the quarterfinals. Deaguero, ranked second in the nation, the medically forfeited his next match.

Schossow, now 3-3 on the season, bounced back from a 6-5 setback to Carson-Newman's (Tenn.) Chuck Robinson, the eighth seed, to best Jesse Campbell of Ashland by a 4-3 score. He then advanced by medical forfeit over No. 2 seed Matt Clum of Findlay (Ohio).

Redshirt freshman Torben Walters (Olney Springs, Colo.) was the only other Grizzly in action as he went 1-2 in 197-pound action. Starting as the eight seed, the former 4-time Colorado High School State Champion who returned to ASC after a 2-year church mission to Bulgaria picked up his first career win as a Grizzly by a 9-5 margin over Jordan Cox of Manchester.

Walters then drew and fell to top-seeded Josh Ohl of Ashland, the sixth-ranked wrestler in the country, before seeing his day come to an end with a 9-5 loss to Mesa State's James Breidel.

Related Item: Tournament Website (Includes Brackets/Team Scores)