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Pac 12 Championships preview: Nine conference champs return, Arizona State seeks to repeat for team title

by Joe Wedra

The 2022 Pac-12 Championships will be held on March 6 at the Desert Financial Arena in Tempe, Ariz., hosted by Arizona State. Fans can watch live across the Pac-12 Networks.

Below, find a breakdown of the tournament, including wrestlers in the final NCAA Coaches Rankings of the season and a highlight on each team taking the mat this weekend. There are 28 wrestlers ranked in the final coaches poll of the year who are set to wrestle for individual titles.

Pac-12 in the Final NCAA Coaches Rankings

125 pounds: No. 4 Brandon Courtney (Arizona State), No. 14 Brandon Kaylor (Oregon State), No. 30 Antonio Lorenzo (Cal Poly)

133 pounds: No. 4 Michael McGee (Arizona State), No. 11 Devan Turner (Oregon State), No. 22 Chance Rich (CSU Bakersfield), No. 32 Jackson DiSario (Stanford)

141 pounds: No. 4 Real Woods (Stanford), No. 12 Grant Willits (Oregon State), No. 28 Angelo Martinoni (CSU Bakersfield)

149 pounds: No. 7 Kyle Parco (Arizona State), No. 12 Jaden Abas (Stanford), No. 19 Legend Lamer (Cal Poly), No. 26 Cory Crooks (Oregon State)

157 pounds: No. 3 Jacori Teemer (Arizona State), No. 16 Hunter Willits (Oregon State)

165 pounds: No. 1 Evan Wick (Cal Poly), No. 3 Shane Griffith (Stanford), No. 7 Anthony Valencia (Arizona State)

174 pounds: No. 15 Adam Kemp (Cal Poly), No. 29 Aaron Olmos (Oregon State), No. 32 Tyler Eischens (Stanford), No. 33 Triston Wills (Little Rock)

184 pounds: No. 5 Bernie Truax (Cal Poly), No. 12 Trey Munoz (Oregon State)

197 pounds: No. 10 Kordell Norfleet (Arizona State)

285 pounds: No. 2 Cohlton Schultz (Arizona State), No. 9 Gary Traub (Oregon State)

ARIZONA STATE (9-4 overall, 5-0 conference)

ASU led the way in the Pac-12 this year, posting a perfect conference record led by its strong group of lightweights. The team had multiple impressive non-conference dual meet wins early in the season as well, getting past both No. 17 Oklahoma (22-12) and No. 7 Virginia Tech (23-13).

The Sun Devils have five returning conference champions back at the tournament this year, including bookends in Brandon Courtney (125) and Cohlton Schultz (285).

NWCA Coaches Poll ranking: No. 12

FloWrestling ranked individuals: No. 4 Brandon Courtney (125), No. 6 Michael McGee (133), No. 7 Kyle Parco (149), No. 3 Jacori Teemer (157), No. 8 Anthony Valencia (165), No. 11 Kordell Norfleet (197), No. 5 Cohlton Schultz (285)

Returning 2021 Pac-12 champions: Brandon Courtney (125), Jacori Teemer (157), Anthony Valencia (165), Kordell Norfleet (197), Cohlton Schultz (285)

OREGON STATE (8-3 overall, 4-1 conference)

Oregon State posted a very strong dual meet season, winning eight of its 11 matches over the course of the year. In non-conference action, the team scored a notable January win over Wyoming. To end the year, the Beavers collected perhaps their most impressive team win of the year, notching a 30-9 win over Stanford.

Two 2021 Pac-12 champions return to the mat for this year’s conference tournament – Devan Turner (133) and Grant Willits (141). Against Stanford, Willits pinned Stanford’s fourth-ranked Real Woods, a momentum-boost headed into conference weekend.

NWCA Coaches Poll ranking: N/A

FloWrestling ranked individuals: No. 12 Brandon Kaylor (125), No. 13 Devan Turner (133), No. 9 Grant Willits (141), No. 16 Hunter Willits (157), No. 9 Trey Munoz (184), No. 8 Gary Traub (285)

Returning 2021 Pac-12 champions: Devan Turner (133), Grant Willits (141)

STANFORD (5-4 overall, 3-2 conference)

Stanford wrestled in just nine dual meets this season but posted a 3-2 conference record to finish third in the conference regular season battle. After early-season losses to Oklahoma State and Cornell, Stanford competed in multiple national tournaments including the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational and the Southern Scuffle.

Leading the way for the Cardinal, once again, will be 2021 NCAA champion Shane Griffith at 165 pounds. He and returning Pac-12 champion Jaden Abas (149) will look to capture individual titles this weekend. Griffith, who took second at 2021 Pac-12 Championships, is 14-3 this season, with two losses coming to top-ranked Evan Wick of Cal Poly.

NWCA Coaches Poll ranking: N/A

FloWrestling ranked individuals: No. 5 Real Woods (141), No. 12 Jaden Abas (149), No. 2 Shane Griffith (165)

Returning 2021 Pac-12 champions: Jaden Abas (149)

CAL POLY (4-3 overall, 2-3 conference)

Cal Poly wrestled its first dual meet of the year on January 24 after seeing multiple events on its calendar get cancelled (including the Midlands Championships and its home dual against Northern Colorado). The group fought once its dual season kicked off and performed quite well, a schedule that included non-conference wins against both Northern Illinois and Air Force. The conference loss to Arizona State was a narrow one, 20-18.

Top-ranked Evan Wick (165), who transferred from Wisconsin, will be Cal Poly’s anchor, but there are plenty of reasons to believe that returning Pac-12 champion Bernie Truax (184) could be poised to help Cal Poly post a strong showing at both the conference weekend and NCAAs.

NWCA Coaches Poll ranking: N/A

FloWrestling ranked individuals: No. 17 Legend Lamer (149), No. 1 Evan Wick (165), No. 11 Adam Kemp (174), No. 6 Bernie Truax (184)

Returning 2021 Pac-12 champions: Bernie Truax (184, won at 174)

CSU BAKERSFIELD (2-10 overall, 0-4 conference)

CSU Bakersfield dropped all four conference matches and had its dual meet against Little Rock cancelled, but the team did post non-conference victories after the new year rolled around against American (35-6) and Cal Baptist (20-19). Its conference losses to both Stanford and Cal Poly were both by just three points in the team score. The Roadrunners finished 7th at the Reno Tournament of champions, posting three place-winners in December.

NWCA Coaches Poll ranking: N/A

FloWrestling ranked individuals: N/A

Returning 2021 Pac-12 champions: N/A

LITTLE ROCK (1-13 overall, 0-4 conference)

Little Rock approaches the postseason looking to make an impact in both conference action and NCAAs. Despite dropping its Pac-12 matches in the regular season, the Trojans did have success in the early portion of the year, including a fourth-place team finish at the Cougar Clash Invitational in Edwardsville, Ill., and a January dual-meet win over VMI, 33-7.

Little Rock is led at 174 pounds by Triston Wills, who has had plenty of success this season and has been named an honorable mention going into the postseason by FloWrestling.

NWCA Coaches Poll ranking: N/A

FloWrestling ranked individuals: N/A

Returning 2021 Pac-12 champions: N/A

2021 Pac-12 Championships results

125: No. 3 Brandon Courtney (Arizona State) def. Jackson DiSario (Stanford) 6-2.
133: No. 22 Devan Turner (Oregon State) def. Chance Rich (CSU Bakersfield) 3-1
141: No. 15 Grant Willits (Oregon State) def. Real Woods (Stanford), Fall
149: No. 18 Jaden Abas (Stanford) def. No. 13 Legend Lamer (Cal Poly); 10-5.
157: No. 12 Jacori Teemer (Arizona State) def. No. 14 Hunter Willits (Oregon State) 9-4.
165: No. 4 Anthony Valencia (Arizona State) def. No. 1 Shane Griffith (Stanford)
7-1.
174: No. 19 Bernie Truax (Cal Poly) def. No. 20 Trey Munoz (Arizona State). MD; 11-2.
184: Dominic Ducharme (CSU Bakersfield) def. No. 27 Ryan Reyes (Oregon State); 3-2 (OT).
197: No. 4 Kordell Norfleet (Arizona State) def. J.J. Dixon (Oregon State) 16-4.
285: No. 5 Cohlton Schultz (Arizona State) def. Nathan Traxler (Stanford) 3-1.

FINAL TEAM STANDINGS
1. Arizona State, 138.0
2. Oregon State, 123.0
3. Stanford, 115.5
4. Cal Poly, 107.0
5. CSU Bakersfield, 97.5
6. Little Rock, 69.0

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