Sakaguchi places 5th at NCAA D-I Wrestling Championships

Oregon State junior Scott Sakaguchi earned his highest career finish at the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships, placing fifth at 149 pounds Saturday in Des Moines, Iowa.

The seventh-seeded Sakaguchi concluded his second straight All-American season with a victory, edging Missouri’s unseeded Drake Houdashelt 6-5 in the fifth-place match. He placed seventh at 149s last season.

Sakaguchi (30-8) opened the day with a shot at placing third, but dropped a 4-2 decision to Columbia’s fifth-seeded Steve Santos in the consolation semifinals. Santos went on to finish third.

A California high school champion at 145 pounds for Clovis in 2009, Sakaguchi has a three-year college career record of 94-28.

Trio of Fresno-area wrestlers make NCAA Division I Championships field

Former Clovis High wrestler Scott Sakaguchi will be making his third straight appearance in the NCAA Division I Championships. He placed seventh at 149 pounds last season.

Former Fresno-area wrestling standouts Scott Sakaguchi, Stephen West and James Cook are in the field for the NCAA Division I Championships, scheduled for March 21-23 in Des Moines, Iowa.

Oregon State junior Sakaguchi (Clovis High) is the seventh seed in the 149-pound bracket and opens against Buffalo’s Blake Roulo. Sakaguchi (24-6, nine falls) earned his third trip to the NCAA’s as the Pac-12 runner-up. He placed seventh at 149 pounds last season.

Columbia senior West (Buchanan) is unseeded at 174 pounds and faces Virginia’s Jonathan Fausey in the first round. West (23-7, seven falls) received an at-large bid and will be making his first appearance in the tournament.

Campbell sophomore Cook (Madera/Clovis West) is unseeded and takes on No. 10 seed Jacob Swarts of Boise State in his opener. Cook (8-8, four falls) became an unlikely NCAA qualifier when he won the Southern Conference Championship tournament as its seventh seed, beating the top three seeds en route to the title. Cook entered the conference tournament 5-8 on the season.

Also in the field is Cal State Bakersfield 174-pounder Bryce Hammond (Bakersfield).

The opening two rounds are set for March 21, the quarterfinals and semifinals are March 22 and the finals are March 23.

Opening-night action will be televised on ESPN3, the second night on ESPNU and the finals will be shown on ESPN.

Fresno State assistant not at risk in NCAA investigation into rules violations at Miami

Michael Schwartz is in his second year as a Fresno State men’s basketball assistant coach.

The NCAA investigation into rules violations and impermissible benefits to athletes at the University of Miami continues along a messy course, but Fresno State assistant basketball coach Michael Schwartz is not at risk of penalties from his time at the school.

There were reports this week that all three of Coach Frank Haith’s assistant coaches would be charged with unethical conduct, but Fresno State athletics director Thomas Boeh took the unusual step on Friday of announcing in a press release that Schwartz would not receive a notice of allegations from the NCAA.

“Fresno State has been advised by a representative of the NCAA that assistant men’s basketball coach Michael Schwartz is not at risk and will not receive a notice of allegations stemming from his previous employment at another Division I institution. Given that Fresno State is not involved with the issue, and with respect to the NCAA’s investigation and adjudication process, there will be no further comment regarding the matter,” Boeh said.

Schwartz spent four seasons as an assistant at Miami and six overall — the same period that booster Nevin Shapiro, who is in jail for his role in a $930 million Ponzi scheme, was providing a slew of impermissible benefits to football and basketball players.

The school was notified by the NCAA on Tuesday that Schwartz would not be implicated in the case, the day before it admitted to improper conduct into its investigation into Miami.