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ASU hosts OSU in Pac-10 wrestling showdown

January 27, 2010

Sun Devil Mat Notes (pdf)

After six duals against non-conference opponents, the No. 24 Arizona State University wrestling team will return to conference action this weekend as the Sun Devils play host to No. 21 Oregon State in a 2 p.m. dual on Sunday inside Wells Fargo Arena. The Sun Devils, winners of their last four duals in a row, enter the weekend with an 8-4-0 record (3-0-0 Pac-10) while the Beavers, winners of 14 in a row, come to Tempe with a 15-1-0 record (3-1-0 Pac-10).

This weekend's dual with Oregon State is the team's annual "Gold Game". Fans are encouraged to wear gold apparel to the dual to support the Sun Devils against the Beavers.

Takedown Radio and will provide live coverage of events this weekend for all wrestling fans, including the Sun Devils' dual with Oregon State. TDR ( will start the coverage on Saturday as Scott Casber will host a show live from the Riches Wrestling Complex from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. CT (8 a.m. to 10 a.m. MT) with Shawn Charles, his coaching staff and several of the Sun Devil wrestlers being on hand to chat. Visit to view and/or watch the show. The next day, TDR and will be live from Wells Fargo Arena starting at 1:30 p.m. MT for a pre-match show and then, starting at 2 p.m., the Pac-10 showdown between ASU and OSU. Casber will be joined on air by G.T. Taylor, a former 2x NCAA All-American for the Sun Devils, and Tony Pagliocco, co-owner of For more information, visit each web site and be sure to tune in this week.

Despite the rain and powerful winter storm that rolled through the Valley last week, over 1200 fans showed up to the dual on Friday night between ASU and Embry-Riddle and the Sun Devil wrestling program thanks all those fans for their support. The attendance of 1,267 was the largest for a home dual since the 2005-06 season when 1,306 fans showed up to see ASU and No. 5 Iowa wrestle.

The NWCA/USA Today Division I Team Coaches Poll was released once again on January 26 with Sun Devils remaining at No. 24 this week. Seven of ASU's opponents this year are currently ranked, including: No. 2 Iowa State, No. 3 Ohio State, No. 4 Oklahoma State, No. 8 Oklahoma, No. 12 Wisconsin, No. 16 Cal Poly and No. 21 Oregon State.

When Arizona State faces Oregon State this weekend, it will mark the first of three-consecutive duals against teams ranked nationally in the Top 25 by the NWCA with the next team ASU facing being higher ranked than the previous. After meeting the No. 21 Beavers this Sunday, the Sun Devils will then travel to face No. 16 Cal Poly next Friday in San Luis Obispo, Calif., before returning home next Sunday to face No. 2 Iowa State.

Three Sun Devils are currently ranked nationally this week with Anthony Robles leading the way as he remained No. 3 at 125 pounds according to Amateur Wrestling News. The same ranking service has heavyweight Erik Nye at No. 13 and Chris Drouin at No. 15 (141).

The NCAA released its first set of Top 33 rankings last week which begins the process of selecting the 33 student-athletes that will compete in each weight class at the national championship event in March. The rankings are based upon the vote of coaches in each of the qualifying conference/regional tournaments and will be combined with a wrestler's winning percentage and RPI to determine the number of qualifiers to the national tournament from each qualifying tournament (if three are in the Top 33 from the Pac-10 at 125 before the Pac-10 Championships, then the conference will send three to the NCAA Championships at that weight class). In the first release of the rankings, ASU has four individuals ranked in the Top 33, including No. 4 Anthony Robles (125), No. 12 Chris Drouin (141), No. 18 Erik Nye (285) and No. 23 Ben Ashmore (133).

UC Davis, the host of the 2010 Pac-10 Conference Wrestling Championships, has begun releasing rankings for the conference and, in the January 25 release, two Sun Devils are ranked at the top of their weight classes, including Anthony Robles at 125 pounds and heavyweight Erik Nye. Four others are ranked in the Top 4, including No. 2 Eric Starks (174), No. 3 Jake Meredith (184), No. 4 Vicente Varela (149) and No. 4 Kyle DeBerry (165). Three others are ranked No. 5 at their respective weights, including Ben Ashmore (133), Chris Drouin (141) and Te Edwards (157).

Looking at the latest Pac-10 rankings, the dual between Arizona State and Oregon State figures to be close based upon how each weight class is ranked. Of the 10 weights, ASU has the higher ranked wrestler in five with OSU being ranked higher in the other five. At 125 133, 141 and 149, each wrestler is ranked right after the other, including a No. 1 (Anthony Robles) vs. No. 2 (Jason Lara) meeting at the lightest weight. Five other weights (157, 165, 174, 184 and 285) all have wrestlers ranked two spots from one another, including a No. 1 (Erik Nye) vs. No. 3 (Clayton Jack) at the heaviest weight.

Five of the duals this weekend could feature meetings between a pair of wrestlers ranked in the Top 4 of the Pac-10. Those matches include: 125 (No. 1 Anthony Robles vs. No. 2 Jason Lara); 149 (No. 4 Vicente Varela vs. No. 3 RJ Pena); 165 (No. 4 Kyle DeBerry vs. No. 2 Dan Brascetta); 174 (No. 2 Eric Starks vs. No. 4 Colby Covington) and heavyweight (No. 1 Erik Nye vs. No. 3 Clayton Jack).

This weekend, only one match is a rematch from earlier this season as Erik Nye and Clayton Jack will meet for the second time in 2009-10. In their first meeting, No. 13 Nye won a close 3-2 decision over No. 15 Jack in the consolation quarterfinals of the Cliff Keen/Las Vegas Invitational before Nye went on to place sixth.

The Beavers enter the weekend with a 15-1 overall record, a 3-1 mark in the Pac-10 and winners of 14 duals in a row. According to the latest release from Amateur Wrestling News, Oregon State has six individuals ranked nationally (all between No. 12 and No. 16), including No. 12 Keegan Davis at 157 and No. 13 Colby Covington at 174, who each have won 30 matches already this season. In fact, only three of their probable starters have won less than 24 matches this season.

The series between the two most decorated programs in Pac-10 history has the Sun Devils ahead, 18-14-0, although Oregon State has won each of the last three meetings, including a 19-13 decision in Corvallis last year and a 27-14 decision during the 2007-08 season, OSU's last trip to Tempe. Arizona State holds a 9-6-0 all-time advantage when the series is in Tempe and had won six in a row at home against OSU before falling two years ago. Since losing, 19-16 at home during the 1995-96 season, the Sun Devils have gone 11-6-0 against OSU.

Arizona State has lost three in a row to Oregon State three times in the history of the series with ASU ending the first two streaks with wins at home. OSU won the first three duals held before ASU won, 18-16, in Tempe before the Beavers won another three in a row. The Sun Devils again stopped that three-dual streak, this time with a 26-15 home win to start a six-dual winning streak vs. the Beavers, the longest for either team in the series.

Despite posting a 3-4 record against Pac-10 foes last year, the Sun Devils still hold a strong record all-time against schools in the conference and are 3-0 so far this season. Dating back to Arizona State joining the conference for the 1978-79 season, the Sun Devils have been one of 18 different schools that called the Pac-10 home with ASU and seven others still competing (including Boise State, Cal Poly, CS Bakersfield, CS Fullerton, Oregon State, Stanford, UC Davis). As members of the Pac-10, ASU holds an 85-21-1 record. When counting in the other schools that no longer compete, ASU is 126-21-1 against 17 teams during that time.

In the 31 years the Sun Devils have competed in the Pac-10 Conference, they have won 16 championship crowns and 100 individual Pac-10 titles. When you include all 47 years the Pac-10 has sponsored a wrestling championship, the Sun Devils trail only Oregon State in both categories as the Beavers have won 17 team titles and 117 individual titles. Also since ASU joined the conference, the Sun Devils and Boise State are the only two schools to have won at least one individual title in each of the 10 current weight classes while ASU is the only school in Pac-10 history to win at least one title in each of the 19 weight classes that have been used since 1979.

In his third year of competition for the Sun Devils, Anthony Robles have found great success against foes in the Pac-10 Conference as he has built a 27-3 all-time record, including a 5-0 mark this year, while standing 16-0 all-time (3-0 this year) in duals. Of those 27 wins, 25 have produced bonus points, including five major decisions, 10 technical falls, eight falls and two forfeit wins. His only two wins not to produce bonus points were a 7-5 decision over Marcus Orozco (UC Davis) in Robles' first collegiate match (2007-08) and an 8-3 decision over Jake Gonzales (Oregon State) last year in Corvallis. Robles also has won 18 in a row against Pac-10 foes with his last loss coming to No. 4 Tanner Gardner (Stanford), 5-3 sv, in the Round of 12 at the 2008 NCAA Championships. Gardner won 7-6 in the Pac-10 final two weeks earlier and No. 16 Boris Novachkov (Cal Poly) defeated Robles, 4-3, in the quarterfinals of the 2007 Reno Tournament of Champions for his only other loss.

Heading into the weekend, seven Sun Devils listed as probable starters are perfect in Pac-10 duals this year with five of those wrestlers holding 3-0 marks: Anthony Robles (125), Ben Ashmore (133), Vicente Varela (149), Eric Starks (174) and Jake Meredith (184).

Speaking of Eric Starks' 3-0 start in Pac-10 duals this year, the sophomore now stands a perfect 10-0 in his career in conference duals after posting a 7-0 mark last year as a true freshman. When adding in tournament matches against opponents from the Pac-10, Starks is 3-1 this year and 15-3 in his career (12-1 last year).

Vicente Varela has continued to improve from last year and his record in the Pac-10 is another indication of his success. In conference duals last year, Varela went 2-4 and was 5-6 overall on the season when facing a Pac-10 foe. So far this year, Varela has already surpassed his win total in Pac-10 duals with a 3-0 record and is 4-1 on the year overall.

The No. 24 Arizona State University wrestling team won 8-of-9 matches and secured bonus points in seven of those wins to down visiting Embry-Riddle, 41-4, Friday night inside Wells Fargo Arena in Tempe. The Sun Devils won their fourth dual in a row and gave the crowd of 1,267 much to cheer about as ASU improved to 8-4 on the season while the Eagles fell to 5-9. ASU improved to 10-0 all-time against ERAU with all 10 wins coming in Tempe. The 41 points scored by the Sun Devils is the most scored since January 3, 2009, against another intrastate foe, Grand Canyon, when ASU won, 41-6, at GCU in Phoenix.

The dual started at 141 pounds with Ben Ashmore facing Ryan Luu and putting the hosts on top, 6-0, with his win by fall in 1:50. Jake Hannaford added three more points with his 8-5 decision over Mitchell Newcomer at 149 pounds, which was the only match to not produce bonus points for either team. The Sun Devils stretched their lead to 13-0 at 157 pounds as Vicente Varela used several takedowns to win a 13-4 major decision before ERAU picked up its only win of the night as Tyler Chang defeated Te Edwards with a 17-5 major decision. Following an intermission to recognize nearly 50 wrestling alums that were in attendance and holding a 13-4 lead, the Sun Devils went back to work and won the next five matches to secure the victory and move to 2-0 at home on the year. First up, Kyle DeBerry connected on several shots and takedowns to win a 19-7 major decision over Matthew Hamilton at 174 before Eric Starks pinned Matthew Skinner at 4:18 of the 184-pound match. After Michael Hawkins won by forfeit at 197 pounds, No. 13 Erik Nye won by fall in 1:13 at heavyweight to set up the match the crowd was waiting for. At 125 pounds, No. 3 Anthony Robles faced John Garza with fans from Robles’ high school in attendance to watch the dual. After a takedown and two turns, Robles flipped Garza over and stuck him 1:51 to bring the fans to their feet with ASU winning the dual, 41-4. No match was wrestled at 133 pounds.

For the third year in a row, the Sun Devils will wrestled two schools hailing from the state of Arizona, which, prior to the 2007-08 season, had not happened since 1981 when ASU won, 34-12, at Arizona and 43-6 at home against Northern Arizona. The Sun Devils won both meetings this year, including a 39-16 victory over Grand Canyon and 41-4 over Embry-Riddle. The dual with ERAU was to be in Prescott, but moved to Tempe because Nebraska was unable to come to Tempe. Has ASU traveled to face the Eagles, it would have been the program's second road dual against another Arizona school since 1993. In that 16 year span, the Sun Devils wrestled another Arizona school 13 times (13-0), defeating Embry-Riddle 10 times and Grand Canyon three times. Overall, the Sun Devils stand 57-9-0 all-time against teams from the state of Arizona, including 10-0-0 against ERAU and 3-0-0 against GCU, the lone remaining programs in the state.

At the Lone Star Duals (January 16), the Sun Devils won three duals in convincing fashion to not only snap a two-dual losing streak by starting a three-dual winning streak, but also bringing the program's all-time win total to 475. The milestone win came in the final of the three duals as Arizona State won 7-of-10 weight classes to score a 27-15 defeat of Utah Valley. The last time the team recorded a milestone victory was No. 450, a 31-16 defeat of Liberty at the Virginia Duals on January 13, 2007. With the recent win over Embry-Riddle, the Sun Devils are now 476-273-13 all-time as a varsity program.

With the Sun Devils' 41-4 defeat of Embry-Riddle, the team moved to 8-4-0 on the year and pushed head coach Shawn Charles into a tie for third for the most wins in a debut season of coaching the program. Lee Roy Smith (1992-93) leads the way with 12 wins (ASU would have to sweep its remaining four duals for Charles to tie) while both Ted Bredehoft (1962-63) and Thom Ortiz (2001-02) are tied for second with nine wins in their first season. Charles is currently tied with his collegiate coach, Bobby Douglas, who's team won eight duals in 1974-75.

The 41 points put up by the Sun Devils were the most since a 41-6 win at Grand Canyon on January 3, 2009, and came with seven wins by the Sun Devils that produced bonus points, including five that scored six points each for the team. Arizona State won by fall four times, including Anthony Robles at 125 (1:51), Ben Ashmore at 141 (1:50), Eric Starks at 184 (4:18) and Erik Nye at heavyweight (1:13) while Michael Hawkins won at 197 by forfeit. Vicente Varela and Kyle DeBerry added wins by major decision at 157 and 184, respectively, while Jake Hannaford added three more team points with his decision win at 149.

Looking at the results from the Embry-Riddle dual, you can notice that most of the Sun Devils moved up one weight, which was done to help ERAU as they were a late replacement for the dual that night. Competing outside of their normal weights (but still making weight at their normal weight classes) were Ben Ashmore (up to 141 from 133), Vicente Varela (up to 157 from 149), Te Edwards (up to 165 from 157), Kyle DeBerry (up to 174 from 165) and Eric Starks (up to 184 from 174).

The Sun Devils in the four lightest weight classes have opened the 2010 calendar year a very strong showing as the group of Robles (125), Ashmore (133), Drouin (141) and Varela (149) have combined to go 21-6 while leading the team to a 5-2 dual record. Robles led the way with a perfect 7-0 record while Ashmore and Varela each have gone 5-2 and Drouin 4-2 overall. Of those 21 combined wins, the four men have won 16 with bonus points, including seven by fall, one by technical fall and eight by major decision. One of the decision victories was huge as well as Drouin knocked off then-undefeated and No. 1 Reese Humphrey (Ohio State), 3-1 in sudden victory, at the National Duals. Also, when looking at the six losses, four came to foes ranked in the national Top 8, including both losses for Varlea, who dropped matches to the No. 2 and No. 3 wrestlers at 149 at the NWCA National Duals.

At the NWCA National Duals, Chris Drouin did something that no one else had done this year and that was defeat Reese Humphrey of Ohio State, who entered the match at 141 pounds as the top-ranked wrestler in the nation and undefeated at 18-0. Despite pushing the action throughout the match, Drouin’s lone score came in the third period on an escape just as Humphrey had done in the second period. With a distinct advantage in shots and offensive moves, Drouin continued to push, but no scoring took place and the match went into overtime. In the one-minute period, Drouin again stalked Humphrey and eventually blasted through on a double-leg attempt and finished the shot with two points for the takedown and a 3-1 win.

Four individuals have signed National Letters of Intent to continue their education and compete for the wrestling program at Arizona State upon completion of their high school careers. The soon-to-be Sun Devils include Louis Trujillo of Rio Rancho, N.M.; Nathan Hoffer of Anchorage, Alaska; Joel Smith of Collins Hill, Ga.; and local product Shane McGough of Scottsdale. According to InterMat, three of those signees are ranked among the Top 100 recruits this season, including Trujillo, who enters his senior season ranked as the No. 27 recruit and No. 4 at 135 pounds. Hoffer is the No. 66 recruit and No. 5 at 140 pounds while Smith is the No. 82 recruit and No. 9 at 140 pounds. McGough, although not ranked among the Top 100 recruits, enters the season ranked No. 9 nationally at 130 pounds and is one of the top wrestlers in the state.

With four strong recruits signed, head coach Shawn Charles' 2010 recruiting class is already being lauded as one of the best in the nation as InterMat has pegged it as the No. 10 class in the nation following the early signing period. The schools ahead of the Sun Devils include No. 1 Iowa, No. 2 Northwestern, No. 3 Iowa State, No. 4 Penn State, No. 5 Cornell, No. 6 Cal Poly, No. 7 Minnesota, No. 8 Missouri and No. 9 Ohio State.

Here are some other things happening involving former members of the program:
• In the world of mixed martial arts (MMA), four former Sun Devil wrestlers have found out who, when and where their next fights will be in the UFC with three making the trip to Australia for the UFC's first event 'down under'. On February 20, in Sydney, Australia, three Sun Devils will fight in UFC 110 with Cain Velasquez (7-0) and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (32-5-1) fighting in the main event. Ryan Bader (11-0) will meet Keith Jardine (14-7-1) in a light heavyweight fight while C.B. Dollaway also will fight (his fight details will be announced later). Recently (January 11), Aaron Simpson remained undefeated (7-0) as he won a split decision with Tom Lawlor (6-2) at UFC Fight Night in Fairfax, Va.

Are you a social net-worker that wants to get connected to the Sun Devils? Well, we have two ways you can do that! If you are on Twitter, request to follow our program by going to for our latest tweets. If you are on Facebook, type Sun Devil Wrestling into the search box and join our fan page, which will have updates and photos throughout the year. And be sure to check back throughout the season to find out about special happenings, including auctions for seats on the ASU bench and other great deals.

While the social network sites are a great way to get updates on us, another way for future Sun Devils, their coaches, our alumni and all friends of the program can stay in touch with us is by filling out the form on the wrestling page of On that page, under the headlines, are links to filling out a recruiting questionnaire as well as a questionnaire for our alumni to reconnect and for others to also become part of the program. Make sure you fill out the form to stay up-to-date on the program.

Arizona State will have a pair of duals against ranked foes next weekend, first traveling to San Luis Obispo on Friday night (7:30 pm MT) to face No. 16 Cal Poly before returning home for a 2 p.m. MT dual with No. 2 Iowa State inside Wells Fargo Arena on Sunday.