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Wrestlemania! Gators grip top 20 ranking

December 12, 2003

Photo of Gator All-American Pacifico Garcia (left) facing off at the National ChampionshipsIt is business as usual for the Gator wrestling team this year, grabbing a hold in the top 20 of the first NCAA-Division II rankings of the season released earlier this week. The team is ranked No. 20.

In individual rankings, four Gator wrestlers place in the top eight in their respective weight classes. Luke Santos (149 pounds), a junior from Gardena, is fourth in the nation. Pacifico Garcia (141 pounds), a sophomore from Fresno, and Donald Lockett (133 pounds), a junior from San Francisco, are sixth. Joey Bareng (125 pounds), a senior from Honolulu, is eighth.

Led by Coach Lars Jensen for the past 20 years, the Wrestling Team has emerged as a strong Division II force with top 20 rankings nearly every year. This year's promising start comes on the heels of a highly successful 2002-03 season, when the Gators finished eighth at the NCAA Division II National Championships and boasted four All-Americans -- Garcia, Santos and national champion Mauricio Wright, now an assistant coach. Jensen was named NCAA Division II West Regional Coach of the Year and Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Co-Coach of the Year.

Despite the Gators' top 20 ranking, they are still seeking their first team victory. The team is 0-2 after losing to Western State (Colorado) last week in Las Vegas.

The Gators will try for their first victory at 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 13, when they host Southern Oregon in SFSU's Main Gym. Admission is free for SFSU students, $3 for other students, and $5 general admission.

-- Matt Itelson


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Last modified December 12, 2003, by the Office of Public Affairs