Twenty Division I All Americans to tangle at 40th All Star Classic

By Jason Bryant | Oct. 20, 2005, 12 a.m. (ET)
Manheim, Pa. - The lineups are set.

The National Wrestling Coaches Association announced Thursday the matchups for the 40th annual NWCA All-Star Classic presented by the United States Marine Corps to be held at historic Gallagher-Iba Arena on the campus of Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Okla., on November 21 at 7 p.m.

The NWCA All-Star Classic pits the nation's top collegiate wrestlers against each other in challenge matches that are often seen as a preview of the NCAA championships.

This year's lineup ranks as one of the best of all time, as five NCAA Champions and six pre-season number one ranked wrestlers will take to the mat. There are currently four matches scheduled featuring the number one and two ranked wrestlers in the nation according to the NWCA Division I Coaches poll. The lineup is tentative and could be subject to change due to injuries or other reasons beyond the NWCA's control.

The host Cowboys will be represented with all four returning of their NCAA champions in the event. Zack Esposito, last year's champion at 149 pounds, will tangle early with three-time All-American Jon Masa of Hofstra.

Esposito beat Masa 6-2 in the quarterfinals of the NCAA championships last season in St. Louis. Masa rebounded after the loss to finish third. This is Esposito's second appearance in the All-Star Classic. He beat Cornell's Dustin Manotti 8-3 in last year's event at Southern Illinois-Edwardsville.

Johny Hendricks is the second Cowboy champ to take to the mat, as he'll square off with Michigan's Ryan Churella. This is also a rematch from a bout wrestled in the 2005 NCAA championships, with Hendricks beating Churella 6-2 in the semifinals en route to a title at 165. This is the first appearance for both Hendricks and Churella.

It's a little bit of Bedlam at 197 pounds, with two-time NCAA champion Jake Rosholt of Oklahoma State wrestling in-state rival Joel Flaggert of Oklahoma. Flaggert had a surprising run after falling in last year's NCAA championship first round and winning six straight matches in the consolations before finishing fourth.

This will be the first All-Star Classic appearance for both wrestlers.

It will be a rematch of the Division I finals at heavyweight as two-time champion Steve Mocco of Oklahoma State will wrestle Minnesota's Cole Konrad. Mocco beat Konrad every time last season, including a 3-1 victory in overtime.

This is also a rematch of last year's All-Star Classic match at heavyweight, won by Mocco 2-1 in overtime.

It will be a rematch of the 2004 All-Star Classic at 125 pounds as Sam Hazewinkel of Oklahoma and Nick Simmons of Michigan State will take to the mats. Hazewinkel beat Simmons also beat Simmons for third place at the 2005 NCAA Championships.

Fans won't have to wait long to watch two members of the U.S. National Team wrestle their contrasting styles.

Hazewinkel was a USA Wrestling senior national champion in Greco-Roman in 2005 and was a World Team Trials runner-up, while Simmons finished third in the World Team Trials in freestyle.

Wisconsin senior Tom Clum makes his first All-Star Match appearance against another first-timer, Minnesota sophomore Mack Reiter. Clum beat Reiter 2-1 in the consolation finals at the 2005 NCAA Championships.

This is the All-Star Classic first appearance for both wrestlers.

It will be a rematch of last year's final at 141 pounds, with two-time champ Teyon Ware of Oklahoma wrestling Big 12 rival Nate Gallick of Iowa State. Ware beat Gallick 5-3 on the raised mat in St. Louis in the 2005 NCAA finals and the bout could be a preview of what's to come just down the road in Oklahoma City in March.

This is Ware's third appearance in the All-Star Classic. He lost to Virginia's Scott Moore in February of 2004, then beat Cory Cooperman of Lehigh in overtime in last year's classic, the first year the event was moved to the beginning of the season.

Two-time All-American and 2003 NCAA runner-up Alex Tirapelle of Illinois will have an immediate shot at redemption against Iowa's Joe Johnston in the All-Star Classic. Johnston edged the 157-pound top seed 6-5 in last year's NCAA quarterfinals. Johnston continued on, beating four-time All-American Jake Percival of Ohio before falling to two-time champ Ryan Bertin of Michigan in the final. This is the first appearance for both wrestlers.

Iowa's Mark Perry will be making a homecoming of sorts, as the Stillwater native and nephew of Oklahoma State coaches John and Pat Smith will wrestle Northwestern's Jake Herbert at 174 pounds.

Herbert placed third last year as a redshirt freshman at 174, but Perry moves up from 165 where he finished second to Hendricks in 2005 after Perry knocked off returning NCAA champion Troy Letters. This will give fans the first look at how Perry will adjust to the bump in weight and see if Herbert is ready to be a contender for a national championship.

This is the first appearance in the All-Star Classic for Perry and Herbert.

It's only one Bradley at 184, Iowa's Paul Bradley will wrestle another wrestler moving up in weight, Illinois' Pete Friedl, the fourth-place finisher at 174 last season. Bradley took fifth at 184. This will be the first of several meetings between the two this season.

This is Bradley's second appearance in the All-Star Classic. He fell to West Virginia's Greg Jones 3-2 in 2004.

One exhibition match will take place, with the University of Central Oklahoma's Josh Leadingfox, a Division II All-American at heavyweight, wrestling an opponent yet to be determined.

Honorary coaches for the event are John Smith of the host Cowboys, Northwestern's Tim Cyzewski, Dana College's Steve Costanzo and Labette Community College's Joe Renfro.

Tickets are $12 for reserved seating, $9 for adult general admission, and $6 for students and senior citizens.

2005 NWCA All-Star Classic presented by the United States Marine Corps
125: Sam Hazewinkel (Oklahoma) vs. Nick Simmons (Michigan State)
133: Tom Clum (Wisconsin) vs. Mack Reiter (Minnesota)
141: Teyon Ware (Oklahoma) vs. Nate Gallick (Iowa State)
149: Zack Esposito (Oklahoma State) vs. Jon Masa (Hofstra)
157: Joe Johnston (Iowa) vs. Alex Tirapelle (Illinois)
165: Johny Hendricks (Oklahoma State) vs. Ryan Churella (Michigan)
174: Mark Perry (Iowa) vs. Jake Herbert (Northwestern)
184: Paul Bradley (Iowa) vs. Pete Friedl (Illinois)
197: Jake Rosholt (Oklahoma State) vs. Joel Flaggert (Oklahoma)
285: Steve Mocco (Oklahoma State) vs. Cole Konrad (Minnesota)

285: Josh Leadingfox (Central Oklahoma) vs. TBA

Note: Lineup is subject to change.

2004 Results
At Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville

125 - Sam Hazewinkel - Oklahoma Defeated Nick Simmons - Michigan State 2-0
133 - Mark Jayne - Illinois Defeated Sam Hiatt - Northern Illinois 3-1
141 - Teyon Ware - Oklahoma Defeated Cory Cooperman - Lehigh 2-1 OT
149 - Zack Esposito - Oklahoma State Defeated Dustin Manotti - Cornell 8-3
157 - Jake Percival - Ohio University Defeated Ryan Bertin - Michigan 11-7
165 - Troy Letters - Lehigh Defeated David Bolyard - Central Michigan 3-2
174 - Chris Pendleton - Oklahoma State Defeated Ben Askren - Missouri 6-3
184 - Greg Jones - West Virginia Defeated Paul Bradley - Iowa 3-2
197 - J.D. Bergman - Ohio State Defeated Scott Barker - Oregon 8-3
285 - Steve Mocco - Oklahoma State Defeated Cole Konrad - Minnesota 2-1 OT

The National Wrestling Coaches Association, established in 1928, is a professional organization dedicated to serve and provide leadership for the advancement of all levels of the sport of wrestling with primary emphasis on scholastic and collegiate programs. The membership embraces all people interested in amateur wrestling.

The NWCA, through its organizational structure, promotes communication, recognizes achievement, recommends rules and regulations, sponsors events, and serves as an educational and informational source. Additionally, the NWCA strives to foster the sportsmanship and integrity that are the cornerstones of athletic competition.