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Gator grapplers go to Nationals

March 10, 2004

Photo of Gator wrestler Donald LockkettUpdate 3/16: SF State kept all its current streaks alive at the National Championships. Joey Bareng and Donald Lockett earned All-American status in their weight classes by placing fifth and second place respectively, and the team tied for 13th overall. This is the 41st consecutive year that Gator wrestlers have scored points at the tournament and the 15th consecutive year that at least one Gator has been named an All-American.

In addition, for the fifth straight year, Gator wrestlers were selected to the Division II Academic All-American team. Lockett was named to the second team and junior Eric Fitzpatrick and freshman Chris Osian were named to the first team. The number of Academic All-American wrestlers in school history now stands at 24.

Gator wrestlers hope to keep a 39-year-old streak alive by scoring points at this year's Division II National Championships slated for March 13-14 in Mankato, Minn. Coach Lars Jensen, who was recently inducted into the San Mateo Sports Hall of Fame, wants more than the streak.

"We expect all five to place," he said. "That's why we take them to Minnesota."

High expectations are nothing new for Gator wrestling. The team was ranked 17th in pre-season Division II rankings, and while they slipped out of the top 20 for a couple of weeks during the season, they clawed back in to the number 20 spot with a fine showing at the 2003-04 NCAA Division II West Regional/Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) Championships held Feb. 29 in Hays, Kansas. The team finished in sixth place with 71 points and qualified the five wrestlers for Nationals.

The five who advanced to the National Championships are:

  • Senior Joey Barang, a Honolulu native who wrestles in the 125-pound category, captured fourth place at Regionals to advance to Nationals. "He lost a tough match in overtime at Regionals, but he's been near the top of his weight class all year, and we expect him to place," said Jensen.
  • Junior Donald Lockett, a San Francisco native who wrestles at 133 pounds, took first place at his weight. "He's a local guy from Lowell High School who scored one of the great upsets this year against Central Oklahoma," said Jensen. "He also beat the 20th ranked Division I wrestler in his class [Jason Harless of the University of Oregon]." Lockett is ranked second in the nation in Division II at his weight class
  • Sophomore Pacifico Garcia, a 141-pounder from Fresno, was runner-up in his weight class at Regionals. He is ranked third in Division II at his weight. "Pacifico has a tough draw this year, but we expect him to be an all-American," said Jensen.
  • Junior Luke Santos, who wrestles in the 149-pound class and hails from Gardena, captured the regional championship in his class. "Santos placed fifth last year at Nationals," said Jensen. "He won both the conference and the region and is ranked number two in the nation (in his weight class)."
  • Freshman Daren Murphy, a Vacaville native, is the one heavyweight in the group at 285 pounds. He finished third at Regionals. "Daren Murphy, our freshmen middle heavyweight, has been a pleasant surprise," said Jensen. "He's going to surprise some people at Nationals. He beat some tough Division I opponents this season."

The Gator wrestlers also hope to continue SFSU's streak of 14 years in a row with at least one member on the Division II All-American team.

For more on Gator wrestling, including National Championships coverage, see the SFSU Athletics Web site.

-- William Morris
Photo: SFSU Athletics

Read a Jan. 20 San Francisco Chronicle story on the wrestling team.

From the Archives:
Read about SFSU's two-time wrestling national champion Mauricio Wright.


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