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.

Sakaguchi becomes two-time NCAA D-I wrestling All-American

Oregon State’s Scott Sakaguchi (Clovis High) has reached the consolation semifinals of the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships, assuring himself All-American status.

Oregon State’s Scott Sakaguchi (Clovis High) became a two-time All-American on Friday in Des Moines, Iowa, at the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships.

Today, the former Clovis High standout aims for as high as a third-place finish to conclude his junior season.

The seventh-seeded Sakaguchi (28-7) avenged an early season loss to eighth-seeded Nick Brascetta of Virginia Tech with an 8-5 decision to reach the consolation semifinals. Sakaguchi will wrestle fifth-seeded Steve Santos of Columbia today for a berth in the third-place match opposite the winner of Minnesota’s sixth-seeded Dylan Ness and Missouri’s Drake Houdashelt.

Sakaguchi opened the day in the championship bracket, but dropped a 2-1 decision to Pac-12 rival and second-seeded Jason Chamberlain of Boise State in the quarterfinals. Chamberlain also beat Sakaguchi 3-1 in overtime at the Pac-12 finals.

But Sakaguchi bounced back with a 2-1 decision over Binghamton’s Donald Vinson to secure no worse than a top-eight finish and All-America status.

Sakaguchi, a 2009 state champion while at Clovis, placed seventh at 149 pounds at the NCAA’s last year.

Columbia’s Stephen West (Buchanan), meanwhile was knocked out of the 172-pound bracket with a 2-1 loss to Pittsburgh’s Nick Bonaccorsi. West finishes his senior season 24-9.

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.