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Honeycutt, Bedelyon, Flores among notable winners at 46th edition of NWCA All-Star Classic

Chris Honeycutt sets up a cradle in the first period of his 197-pound match against Wartburg's Byron Tate at the NWCA All-Star Classic at Arizona State. (Arizona State Photo).

In the eyes of Edinboro’s Chris Honeycutt, his opponent was a bit of a mystery.

“I have watched very little of his wrestling, but he’s legit,” said Honeycutt of Division III opponent Byron Tate. “He has the ability to be division one. I am very excited to have a tough opponent.”

It had been 22 years since a Division III wrestler competed in the main event of the NWCA All-Star Classic. Honeycutt wasn’t going to give Tate the title of Division III’s first victim in the All-Star Classic, either.

Leading early in the first period. Honeycutt cradled up the two-time Division III champion and scored the only fall of the night in a 32-second victory at 197 pounds.

Torsten Gillespie represented Edinboro last year and fell short at 149 pounds a year ago. Honeycutt felt like it was his time to step up for the Fighting Scots.

“I’m very honored, Torsten is my roommate, he was privileged to come here last year,” said Honeycutt. “I was asked, but due to my arm being in a sling this time last year I wasn't able to attend. I believe that I am the sixth Edinboro guy in the history of the All-Star classic to be here and I’m very honored.”

The event got started at 125 pounds as Nic Bedelyon became the first Kent State wrestler to win a match in the All-Star Classic, using a third-period turn to score nearfall points and defeat Oklahoma’s Jarrod Patterson 7-3. Bedelyon, an All-American in 2009, was also the first Golden Flash wrestler to appear in the event.

At 133 pounds, defending national champion Jordan Oliver looked sluggish in a controversial 8-7 victory over Illinois’ B.J. Futrell. The finish was only controversial due to scoreclock issues that didn’t properly give Oliver a third-escape. Futrell has hard-charging throughout and showed no signs of being afraid of one of the nation’s top wrestlers.

Cal Poly’s Boris Novachkov became the first Mustang wrestler to win at the All-Star Classic since 2006 when he topped Penn All-American Zack Kemmerer 4-0.

Jamal Parks gave Oklahoma State it’s second win of the night with a dominant 17-4 major decision over Arizona State’s Joel Smith at 149 pounds. Smith was a late replacement for Pittsburgh’s Tyler Nauman, who was unable to compete.

Northwestern’s Jason Welch got past American’s Ganbayar Sanjaa 8-5 in a somewhat bizarre match at 157 pounds. Sanjaa scored the first takedown, but was hit for three stalling calls in the first period – two of which occurred when Sanjaa drove Welch out of bounds. Welch used his funky flexibility to get out of several Sanjaa offensive attempts to pull away.

For the second year in a row, Maryland’s Josh Asper upended Wyoming’s Shane Onufer at 165 pounds. Last year in Fresno, Asper defeated Onufer 3-2, this year it would be Asper again winning, avenging the loss to Onufer from the 2011 NCAA Championships 6-4.

At 174 pounds, no match was contested in the main draw as Ohio State’s Nick Heflin was injured and unable to compete.
Wyoming’s Joe LeBlanc made the most of his second straight All-Star appearance, topping Central Michigan’s Ben Bennett 5-4 using a late takedown to steal the match at 184 pounds.

“It’s a good early season event to get out and have some tough competition,” said LeBlanc of the All-Star Classic. “It’s good to see where you’re at early and find some things you to need to work on to be on top of that podium in March.

Said LeBlanc about his late takedown: “Those big matches there are a lot of scrambles and a lot going on, but we work on it every day in the rooms coming down to that last take down just blowing through it. I knew wrestling a guy like Ben Bennett who’s been on the top the last couple years. To finish on the best guys you have to blow through your take downs. I just knew with thirty seconds left I had to do something. I felt it and went for it.”

Ryan Flores of American matched LeBlanc’s two-for-two effort, winning for the second straight year at heavyweight. Flores controlled Maryland’s Spencer Myers to the tune of an 11-2 major decision.

Wells Fargo Arena, Arizona State University

125: Nic Bedelyon (Kent State) dec. Jarrod Patterson (Oklahoma) 7-3.
133: Jordan Oliver (Oklahoma State) dec. B.J. Futrell (Illinois) 8-7.
141: Boris Novachkov (Cal Poly) dec. Zack Kemmerer (Penn) 4-0.
149: Jamal Parks (Oklahoma State) maj. dec. Joel Smith (Arizona State) 17-4.
157: Jason Welch (Northwestern) dec. Ganbayar Sanjaa (American) 8-5.
165: Josh Asper (Maryland) dec. Shane Onufer (Wyoming) 6-4.
174: No Match
184: Joe LeBlanc (Wyoming) dec. Ben Bennett (Central Michigan) 5-4.
197: Chris Honeycutt (Edinboro) pin Byron Tate (Wartburg) :32.
285: Ryan Flores (American) maj. dec. Spencer Myers (Maryland) 11-2.
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