College

Saturday, Jan 26 2013 10:32 PM

Roadrunner wrestlers handle lower level opponent

BY JEFF EVANS Californian staff writer jevans@bakersfield.com

Cal State Bakersfield was supposed to win in a rout Saturday against Cal Baptist.

It wasn't a huge margin of victory, but the Roadrunners won eight of 10 wrestling matches and coasted to a 26-7 win over the Lancers in the CSUB old gym.

CSUB is 7-3 in duals this season as a Division I wrestling member. Cal Baptist is not in the NCAA in wrestling. Instead, it's in the National Collegiate Wrestling Association.

"They'll be Division II next year," CSUB coach Mike Mendoza said. "They're at a lower level, but they still have quality wrestlers and quality coaches."

There are only a handful of four-year college programs remaining in California, Mendoza noted. CSUB, Stanford and Cal Poly are the only Division I programs left in the state.

"We'll always try to wrestle Cal Baptist and (Division II) San Francisco State every year because they're California teams," Mendoza said.

The outcome was never in doubt. CSUB won the first five matches to build a 17-0 lead. Cal Baptist (5-10) picked up a major decision by heavyweight Zach Merrill, then the Roadrunners won the next three bouts to put it away. The Lancers got a decision win from 149-pound Paul Miller in the final match of the afternoon.

There were two tightly contested matches.

At 125, CSUB's Miguel Comparan was pressed into service when normal 125-pounder Tyler Iwamura moved up to 133. Ian Nickell, normally the starter at 133 for CSUB, suffered a broken thumb against Rutgers on Jan. 3 and is not expected to return until the Pac-12 Championships on March 2.

Comparan hooked up against Tyler Hall, who had a 3-0 lead entering the final seconds of the third period.

Comparan got a two-point takedown with 10 seconds left to make it 3-2. Hall escaped for a point, then Comparan tied it with another takedown with one second remaining. Twenty seconds into overtime, Comparan recorded another takedown to snatch the win.

"I had to adjust to him because of his length," said Comparan, who's 5-feet tall while Hall is 5-10. "I needed those two takedowns in a short time span. But I'm in shape and I have a lot of heart and pride."

Mendoza said Comparan is talented despite being second string to Iwamura.

"If Tyler is ranked 23rd, Miguel is probably 24," Mendoza said. "He's a very hard worker."

The 141-pound bout between CSUB freshman Timmy Box and Cal Baptist's Brandford Gerl was wild from the start.

Box had three takedowns in the first period and Gerl had three escapes.

In the second, Box got another takedown and Gerl escaped again. But this time, Gerl got a takedown and flipped Box over to earn three near-fall points and a 9-8 lead. But Box rallied in the third period for a two-point reversal, two-point near fall and added another takedown after Gerl escaped. Box would up with a 14-11 decision.

Gerl is ranked No. 1 at 141 by the NCWA and Box is No. 19 in one poll and No. 2 in the Pac-12.

"I knew he was tough," said Box, a Bakersfield High grad. "In the Vegas Tournament, he took a returning All-American from Cornell who's ranked No. 8 to overtime."

Box said he was able to accomplish his goal.

"I wanted to get some early points to build a cushion," Box said. "I knew he was tough on top, and in case he caught me on top, I'd have a cushion."

CSUB had no pins or technical falls. But Fierro Adam (157 pounds) and Bryce Hammond (174) both had major decisions.

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