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O'Brien rolls into semifinals

Staff and Wire reports —

SIOUX CITY, Iowa - Top-ranked 184-pounder David O'Brien — advanced to the semifinal round Friday to highlight the efforts of the — Southern Oregon University wrestling team on Day — of the 2005 NAIA Championships.

O'Brien improved to 25-4 overall, extended his school-record — bout win streak to 20 and assured All-American status for a second consecutive — season by downing Jake Toevs of Dickinson State in the first round and — easily dispatching McKendree's Adam Hicks 11-4 in the quarterfinals.

Southern Oregon, which finished 10th in the final NAIA — poll, sits in ninth place among 28 competing teams with 43.5 team points — - six ahead of regional rival Menlo but well behind top-ranked tourney — leader Lindenwood, Mo. (111).

"Well, you always have high expectations going into a — national meet and our goal is always to be in the top-five, so we're not — where we want to be," SOU head coach Mike Ritchey said. "We just lost — some close matches and that's going to happen with some inexperienced — kids."

O'Brien, a junior from Kodiak, Alaska faces second-ranked — Jesse Juarez of Montana State-Northern in Saturday morning's semifinal — round with the winner facing the No. — or 4 draw in the finals.

"David's wrestling really well," Ritchey said. "He has — a tough draw tomorrow, and it could be his toughest match of the tournament — because it's a contrast in styles. Juarez is tough on top, while David's — excellent on his feet. A 0-0 match after the first period won't work in — his favor, so it's important for David to get a couple of takedowns early."

O'Brien is the lone Raider performer remaining in the — championship side of brackets, but second-ranked junior Jimmy Grochowsky — (165) and sophomore Brian Seibel (157) avoided elimination in consolation — fourth-round bouts and advanced to Saturday morning's placing rounds.

Seibel (10-6) emerged as a Cinderalla story by upsetting — senior teammate Rich Vigorito 2-1 in overtime in the consolation fourth — round. The Moses Lake (Wash.) native now has a consolation quarterfinal — date with Joe Casey of Great Falls University.

"Brian had a great day, and he brings a lot of enthusiasm — into tomorrow," Ritchey said. "He's really fired up to be an All-American, — and he's doing a great job."

For Vigorito, the setback was a crushing blow after a — fine season that contained 23 wins and two open tournament titles.

Grochowsky nearly joined O'Brien in the semifinals. The — Estacada product led 6-5 with less than 10 seconds remaining against unranked — Mike Krummer of Great Falls before surrendering a penalty point for an — illegal hold with six seconds left followed by a Krummer match-winning — escape as time expired.

Despite the tough loss, Grochowsky returned to the placing — rounds for the second straight year by throttling Embry-Riddle's Calvin — DeVault 18-9 in the consolation fourth round.

Said Ritchey: "It was quite a roller-coaster in the evening — session for Jimmy, but he showed a lot of pride by coming back with a — strong performance."

In addition to Vigorito, juniors Rick Story (174) and — Josh Fitzgerald (174) and redshirt-freshman Nick Ripsom (133) came within — a victory of earning All-American accolades.

Sophomore Jimmy Ulrey of Medford and junior Matt Holt — exited the 149-pound weight class fray after two wins, and regional champion — Joey Jannsen posted a 1-2 record at 141. Sophomore Carl Green (125) and — senior Theo White (141) were eliminated after going 0-2.

"We took a young crew back here and we got some experience — that we can build on," Ritchey said. "(Day 1) could have been better, — and it could have been worse. We didn't get many breaks today, but we — didn't create many breaks for ourselves and we weren't able to get on — the type of roll that championship teams need."

Complete Day — results are posted at

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