Skip to main content

ASU wrestlers return to Nevada for Reno tournament

December 13, 2007

TEMPE, Ariz. - The Arizona State University wrestling team (5-0, 2-0 Pac-10) will make a return trip to Nevada as the Sun Devils close out the 2007 calendar year by competing in the Reno Tournament of Champions on Tuesday, December 18. The tournament will be held inside the Reno Downtown Convention Center in Reno, Nev., and will be the final tournament the Sun Devils compete in until the 2007 Pac-10 Championships, March 2-3, in Eugene, Ore.

The Sun Devils will compete in the Reno Tournament of Champions for the ninth year in a row and will look to rebound from their first non-Top-3 placement after finishing 14th last year. Dating back to their first appearance in 1999, the Sun Devils have placed third three times (1999, 2001, 2002) and second four times (2000, 2003, 2004, 2005).

One year ago, the Sun Devils scored 34.5 points with two wrestlers placing as the team finished 14th overall. Greg Gifford led the way with his fourth-place showing at 184 pounds while Jason Trulson finished sixth at 197 pounds.

In the past three Reno events, the Sun Devils have not captured an individual crown after winning 10 in their first five years in the tournament. The last time an Arizona State wrestler won a Reno crown came in 2003 when both Ryan Bader (197) and Cain Velasquez (285) were victorious. The closest the Sun Devils have come to winning a title since then came in 2004 when Brian Stith (157), C.B. Dollaway (184) and Velasquez each placed second.

Twenty-six teams are scheduled to compete in the Reno Tournament of Champions, including eight members of the Pac-10 Conference, with 12 teams holding a national ranking. No. 5 Oklahoma State, No. 6 Central Michigan, No. 17 Cornell and No. 21 Navy lead the way with national team rankings and are joined by several teams ranked in the lower divisions, including: Division II team Adams State (No. 4), NAIA schools Great Falls (No. 3), Oklahoma City (No. 5) and Southern Oregon (No. 8) and NJCAA teams Western Wyoming (No. 9), Southwestern Oregon (No. 13), Clackamas (No. 14) and Yakima Valley (No. 15).

Heavyweight and 174 appear to be the tougher weight classes in Reno as 11 and 10, respectively, wrestlers hold national rankings with both weight classes, along with 133, having five ranked wrestlers according to the December 11 InterMat/NWCA/NWMA rankings.

Despite its 5-0 start, the Sun Devils are not receiving votes in the national rankings this week, according to the USA Today/NWCA/InterMat Top 25 rankings (December 11). Individually in the InterMat/NWCA/NWMA rankings, four Sun Devils are listed among the Top 20 in their respective weight classes, including No. 4 Patrick Pitsch (165), No. 18 Jason Trulson (197), No. 19 Brent Chriswell (184) and No. 19 Anthony Robles (125).

The third round of Pac-10 Individual Rankings were released December 11 with five Sun Devils ranked among the Top 6 in their respective weight classes. Leading the way are a pair of top-ranked Sun Devils in Patrick Pitsch (165) and Jason Trulson (197) with Anthony RoblesBrent Chriswell (184) is ranked fifth; and Todd Schavrien (133) is ranked sixth. (125) ranked third;

Patrick Pitsch went 5-1 at the Cliff Keen/Las Vegas Invitational at the start of the month to increase his season record to 6-1 overall. For his career, Pitsch now stands 74-38 and is one victory shy of capturing his 75th collegiate victory. Two other Sun Devils are close to milestone wins with Rick Renzi needing five more for 25 and Jason Trulson is 10 away from 50 victories.

The Sun Devils have combined to win 78 bouts this year with 44 percent of those victories producing bonus points. Of the 34 bonus point victories, Arizona State has won 15 by fall, 10 by major decision, four by technical fall and added five forfeit victories.

When it comes to scoring bonus points, three Sun Devils have been very successful so far this season with all three winning more than half of their bouts with bonus points. Jason Trulson (197) leads the way as he has won seven of his 10 bouts by major (3), fall (3) and forfeit (1), earning the team bonus points 70 percent of the time. At the lightest weights, Todd Schavrien (133) and Anthony Robles (125) have found success with big wins, too. Schavrien has scored bonus points 57 percent of the time (two majors, one tech and one forfeit) while Robles has earned bonus points 56 percent of the time (three techs, one fall and one forfeit).

Of those 15 wins by pin-fall, only six have come outside of the first period this year. Brent Chriswell (184) has recorded the fastest fall of the year as he pinned UC Davis' Jon Clark in just 33 seconds of his first match with the Sun Devils. At the Keystone Classic, Arizona State recorded four wins by fall, including three in the first two minutes of a bout. Last weekend, all three of ASU's falls came outside the first, including two in the second and one in the third.

Only one Sun Devil earned placement in the Las Vegas Invitational last time out as Patrick Pitsch, the tournament's second-seed at 165, placed fourth overall with a 5-1 record. Pitsch advanced to the quarterfinals with a pair of wins before falling to Jarrod King of Edinboro. In the consolation rounds, Pitsch opened by defeating No. 15 Zach Shanaman (Penn) and later taking down No. 9 Stephen Dwyer (Nebraska) in the consolation semifinals to advance to the third-place bout. An injury forced Pitsch to default the bout and take fourth.

The Sun Devils scored 26.5 points and placed 24th in the 48-team field at the Cliff Keen/Las Vegas Invitational November 30-December 1 in Las Vegas. Patrick Pitsch (165) was the lone Sun Devil to place in the tournament (fourth) with Jason Trulson (197) won win from placing in the tournament. Overall, 7-of-10 Sun Devils won at least one bout in the tournament with four winning two or more.

The Sun Devils are now 5-0 overall in duals this season, marking just the ninth time in the programs 46 years that the team has opened the season with a 5-0 record. The 5-0 opening is the best for Arizona State under Thom Ortiz, surpassing the 4-1 mark the team had in 2001-02, his first season with the program. The last time ASU opened a year with a 5-0 or better record came during the 1992-93 season when it opened with six wins in a row before suffering its first loss of the season. The Sun Devils' next duals will take place January 6 inside Wells Fargo Arena in the Sun Devil Duals. ASU will face Army, Grand Canyon and Penn.

At the Sun Devil Duals on January 6, the program will welcome back its alumni for Alumni Weekend and honor those alumni in attendance during the Duals. One other group will be singled out as well as the 1988 NCAA Championship team will be recognized on the mats. Former head coach Bobby Douglas and all the members of the championship team will be on hand. Since 1928, the NCAA has conducted a wrestling championship with 11 different schools claiming the crown. In 1988, Arizona State won the title and still is the only Western team to have done so in the history of the event. Based on geographical location, when removing ASU from the list, the most western team to win a title would be Oklahoma, who has won seven. The schools that have won crowns include Oklahoma State (33), Iowa (20), Iowa State (8), Oklahoma (7), Minnesota (3) and the following schools with one each: Arizona State, Cornell College (of Iowa), Indiana, Michigan State, Northern Iowa and Penn State.

Six Sun Devils competed in the first home bouts of their careers with five winning their matches against Embry-Riddle (November 25). Redshirt freshmen Anthony Robles (125), Todd Schavrien (133), Chris Drouin (141), Jerrad Trulson (149) and Imanibom Etukeren (285) each won their debuts while Jalonn Wilkins (157) dropped a close decision. Wilkins is scheduled to compete in Reno this weekend at 149 pounds and could score his first collegiate win.

The early season success of the Sun Devils has been in large part due to the individual success the team's freshmen have enjoyed. So far in 2007, 13 different rookies have competed in at least one bout for the Sun Devils with the collective group posting a 43-31 record. Of those 43 victories, 19 have produced bonus points for the team, including five major decisions, four technical falls, seven falls and three wins by forfeit.

In the dual with Embry-Riddle, Jason Trulson opened the dual with a pin of Justin Masotti in 3:32 of the 197 bout before younger brother Jerrad Trulson won a 6-4 decision at 149 pounds over Trace Billet. The victories by the brothers marked the first time since the 2002-03 season that a pair of brothers competed in the same dual with each winning a bout. The last time it happened was on January 5, 2003, when Chris Smith pinned his opponent from ERAU at 5:29 of the 141 bout and was followed by brother Mike Smith winning a 7-1 decision at 157. One month earlier, on December 5, 2002, brothers Evan Larkin and Eric Larkin each won forfeits against Portland State at 141 and 149, respectively.

Over the past several weeks, the Sun Devil wrestling team has been getting out in the community more and working with local children. On November 22, the day before Thanksgiving, the Sun Devils visited the Crossroad Youth Intervention Center in Phoenix where they interacted with the children while handing out dinner and dessert. On November 27, the wrestlers headed over to the UMOM New Day Center in Phoenix where they read to numerous children from the community.

Despite taking second place in their respective weight classes, a pair of Sun Devils each recorded upset victories in the semifinal round at the Keystone Classic (November 18). Anthony Robles picked up the biggest win of the tournament as the unranked freshman scored an 18-14 decision over No. 8 Javier Maldanado of UT Chattanooga at 125 pounds. The second upset of the tournament came at 184 pounds where No. 19 Brent Chriswell upset Rider's No. 13 Doug Umbehauer, 4-2.

Senior Patrick Pitsch, ranked No. 3 in the NWCA/InterMat individual rankings at 165 pounds, dropped a 4-0 decision to No. 2 Eric Tannenbaum of Michigan Monday evening at the NWCA All-Star Classic presented by the United States Marine Corps in Eugene, Ore. Tannenbaum scored on an escape and takedown in the second period and then a riding point in the third for the victory in the exhibition event held on the Oregon campus.

With his loss, Arizona State is now 10-13-1 all-time in the All-Star Classic. Pitsch was the 27th different Sun Devil to compete in the event.

Senior Patrick Pitsch will blog each week throughout the season, offering fans a behind the scenes look at Sun Devil wrestling. To access The Inside Trip, visit the wrestling page on

A week after eight Sun Devils competed for the first time in the college ranks, four more added their names to the list with two, Orlando Jimenez (141) and Imanibom Etukeren (285), each winning at least once. While Etukeren went 1-2 and did not place at the Keystone Classic, Jimenez turned in a strong performance with a 4-2 record and fifth-place finish. After falling in his first bout, Jimenez won three in a rod, including a pin in 1:40 over the sixth-seeded wrestler in the event, Mark Savino of Brown. After falling to the eventual third-place finisher and second-seeded Kyle Borshoff of American, Jimenez capped his tournament run with a 13-2 major decision victory over Fred Rogers of Rider. So far this year, 11 newcomers have competed for ASU and carry a combined 29-18 record with 13 bonus points victories (four majors, three tech falls and six falls).

Kelsey Campbell was invited to compete in the West-Midwest Duals at Menlo College on December 2 and walked away with a clean sweep, winning all four of her bouts. Campbell opened the day with a pin of Tina Linhasmout (West Valley CC) in 51 seconds before defeating Raissa Dickinson (Simon Frasier), 3-0, 2-1. Campbell then blanked Marina Piccolotti (Oklahoma City Univ.), the No. 2-ranked women at 63kg, in a 3-0, 5-0 decision. Campbell's final bout of the day saw her defeat Deni Torgeson (Simon Frasier), 0-1, 2-0, 1-0.

This year, the Sun Devils have a first on their roster as Kelsey Campbell is the first woman to join the Arizona State program. A transfer from Pacific (Ore.), Campbell comes to Tempe after competing for the Boxers during the 2005-06 season and then representing the ASU Women's Club Team last year. During the 2006-07 season, Campbell competed in her first National Collegiate Women's Wrestling Championships and won the 63kg (138.5) national title as an unseeded competitor. In the event, she knocked off the No. 4, No. 1 and then No. 2 seeds on her way to her first tournament title.

Kelsey Campbell is currently ranked on a pair of national women's lists, including No. 2 at 59kg in the Collegiate Women's Wrestling Association rankings. She also is ranked No. 5 in's U.S. Senior Women's Rankings (May 2007).

Seniors Patrick Pitsch, Rick Renzi and Jason Trulson and junior Quinton Pruett have been selected as the team's captains for the year.

The 2007-08 season will see the Sun Devils compete in 17 duals, including nine home duals, and five tournaments. In the regular season, Arizona State will send competitors to the Keystone Classic (Philadelphia), Cliff Keen/Las Vegas Invitational and Reno Tournament of Champions, all of which come before the end of the December. Following 12 duals after the turn of the New Year, the Sun Devils will head to Eugene, Ore., for the 2007 Pac-10 Championships (March 2-3) and conclude the season at the 2007 NCAA Wrestling Championships (March 20-22).

Of those 17 duals on the Sun Devils' schedule this season, five teams are ranked among the national Top 25 according the November 12 USA Today/NWCA/InterMat poll. On the list are No. 2 Iowa State, No. 4 Iowa, No. 21 Oklahoma, No. 23 Penn and No. 24 Oregon State.

Wells Fargo Arena serves as the home of Arizona State's home wrestling duals, as well as basketball (men and women), women's gymnastics and women's volleyball. Opened in the spring of 1974, the 14,198-seat arena has been the home venue of some of the Sun Devil greats with all 16 Pac-10 team titles and one of the two Western Athletic Conference crowns attained by ASU. Since its opening, 57 Sun Devils have captured 109 individual conference titles while 67 different athletes have earned a total of 98 All-America honors. The Sun Devils stand 164-54-2 all-time inside Wells Fargo Arena (202-88-2 all-time at home). With its 36-3 defeat of Utah Valley on Jan. 10, 2005, ASU recorded its 150th victory at WFA.

After the start of the new calender year, Arizona State will return to dual competition by playing host to the Sun Devil Duals on January 6, 2008, inside Wells Fargo Arena. ASU will face Army at noon, Grand Canyon at 1:30 p.m. and Penn at 3 p.m.