Sports

Bressler wins Pac-10 wrestling title, heads to national meet

By CASEY OLSON, The Mirror

Decatur High School graduate Kyle Bressler is headed back to the pinnacle of college wrestling — the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships.

The Oregon State University junior won the 197-pound title at the 2008 Pac-10 Wrestling Championships last weekend at the University of Oregon.

Bressler beat Arizona State’s Jason Trulson in the championship match in Eugene in overtime.

Bressler, who came into the tournament as the No. 3 seed at 197 pounds, is one of three Oregon State wrestlers to qualify for the 2008 NCAA Championships, which will be held March 20-22 in St. Louis.

The other Beaver qualifiers were heavyweight Travis Gardner and senior 149-pounder Kyle Larson. Gardner won OSU’s only other Pac-10 title.

In the 197-pound final, Bressler and Trulson wrestled a close match, which was scoreless through the first period. Trulson earned a point on an escape early in the second round, but Bressler tied things up at 1:40 in the third before nearly securing the win on a takedown that was ruled out of bounds right before time expired.

In overtime, Bressler controlled the situation, earning the takedown and the Pac-10 title. Bressler is currently 17-10 overall on the season.

“Overall, I thought we did well at the tournament,” Oregon State head coach Jim Zalesky said. “I think the wins at 197 and heavyweight will be good for (Kyle Bressler and Travis Gardner’s) confidence going into the NCAA Championships.”

As a team, the Beavers were just edged out of second place by one-half point by Stanford, with Boise State taking the team title with 152.5 points. Arizona State finished in fourth with 103.0 points.

This will be Bressler’s second-straight appearance at the national championship meet. Last year, as a 184-pounder, Bressler finished third at the Pac-10 Championships to qualify for nationals. He also wrestled most of this season at 184 pounds before moving up in weight for the postseason.

During his four-year career at Decatur High School, Bressler finished with a record of 117-6 with 70 pins. He won a pair of state championships his final two seasons and finished 40-0 with 26 pins as a senior.

Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565, sports@fedwaymirror.com

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