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ASU wrestling opens year with two Pac-10 road duals

November 10, 2009

The Arizona State University wrestling team, ranked No. 17 nationally, will open its 2009-10 campaign on the road this weekend with a pair of duals against Pac-10 Conference foes as first-year head coach Shawn Charles and his Sun Devils face UC Davis (0-0) and CS Fullerton (0-0) on Friday and Sunday, respectively. The Sun Devils (0-0) and Aggies will meet at 7 p.m. PT inside the Pavilion in Davis, Calif., on Friday night before the Sun Devils and Titans meet at 2 p.m. PT Sunday inside Titan Gym in Fullerton, Calif.

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.

In just three weeks, the Sun Devils will be playing host to Grand Canyon (Nov. 29, 2 p.m.) inside Wells Fargo Arena in their first of five home duals this year. Fans have the unique opportunity to get up close to the action as they can purchase mat side tickets for the entire season for a $75 donation to the program. Fans can also support the program and show their Sun Devil pride by purchasing 'Wrestling with the Devil' T-shirts. Both the ticket and T-shirt forms can be found on the right side of the wrestling page on (look under SUPPORT ASU WRESTLING).

When the Sun Devils hit the road this weekend, there will be many familiar faces in the starting line-up as eight of the 10 wrestlers are returning to the starting line-up after earning the position one year ago. Returning to the line-up will be Anthony Robles (125), Chris Drouin (141), Vicente Varela (149), Te Edwards (157), Kyle DeBerry (165), Eric Starks (174), Jake Meredith (184) and Erik Nye (285). The two newcomers to the starting 10 include Ben Ashmore at 133 and Michael Hawkins at 197.

Last year, the Sun Devils had a starting line-up much of the season that consisted of two sophomores, two juniors, three true freshmen and three redshirt freshmen. With eight of the 10 in just their first or second seasons, the Sun Devils had one of the youngest lineups in the nation. This year, however, those young wrestlers enter the season with more experience and a line-up that has just one freshman, Michael Hawkins (redshirt freshman) at 197.

The first national rankings of the season were released by recently with the Sun Devils entering the season ranked No. 17. Six of Arizona State's opponents this season are currently ranked among the Top 25 nationally, including No. 2 Iowa State, No. 6 Oklahoma State, No. 7 Nebraska, No. 18 Oklahoma, No. 22 Harvard and No. 23 Cal Poly.

After advancing to the national semifinals and earning All-America honors last season as sophomores, both Anthony Robles and Chris Drouin enter the season highly regarded on the national scene as both are ranked among the Top 5 in their respective weight classes. Robles, who placed fourth at the NCAA Championships last year, will start the season as the No. 3 competitor at 125 pounds while Drouin, the sixth-place finisher at the national meet in 2009, will open the year as the No. 5 wrestler at 141.

The 44th NWCA All-Star Classic will feature some of the best wrestlers in the nation in exhibition matches and Sun Devil Anthony Robles has been selected to compete in the event where he will face No. 4 Zach Sanders (Minnesota). The 20th different Sun Devil to be selected to compete in the event, Robles faced Sanders twice last year and went 1-1, losing a 7-3 decision in the semifinals of the Las Vegas Invitational before taking a 19-10 major decision in the consolation semifinals of the NCAA Championships. The 44th NWCA All-Star Classic will be held at CS Fullerton on Sunday, November 22, at 2 p.m. inside Titan Gym.

Just the sixth head coach in the 47-year history of the program, former Sun Devil All-American Shawn Charles will be making his debut on the sideline this weekend and will look to become the fourth coach in a row to win his first dual with the Sun Devils. The past three coaches each posted victories in their debuts, including a 30-15 win at CS Bakersfield for Bobby Douglas (1974-75 season), a 23-15 win at Clarion for Lee Roy Smith (1992-93) and a 40-6 home win for Thom Ortiz against CS Fullerton (2001-02). Ted Bredehoft, following one forfeit win and one forfeit loss, led his team to victory with a 38-0 blanking of Cal Poly Pomona (1962-63) to also collect a win in his first dual in which wrestling took place. The only coach that did not register a victory in his first dual was John Wadas, who saw his Sun Devils fall at home to Utah, 23-11, to open the 1971-72 season.

Arizona State will look to continue a recent string of success in their first dual of the season as the Sun Devils have won each of its last four season-opening duals, including the last two years in duals with UC Davis, who the Sun Devils open the 2009-10 season against Friday in Davis, Calif. Overall, the Sun Devils are 34-13-0 all-time in their first dual of the season and are 31-16-0 all-time in their first road contest of the season.

Since joining the Pac-10 Conference in time for the 1978-79 season, the Sun Devils have built a 27-4-1 all-time record in their first conference dual of the season and hold a mark of 22-5-0 all-time in their first Pac-10 road dual of the year (ASU didn't wrestle a Pac-10 foe on the road five times). Arizona State is 11-0-1 in its last 12 Pac-10 openers with its last loss coming during the 1996-97 season in a 21-18 set back to CS Bakersfield in Tempe. ASU lost its last Pac-10 road opener in a 20-19 decision at Stanford last year with its last win in its first Pac-10 road dual coming at the start of the 2007-08 season, a 20-17 win at UC Davis.

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. 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 Conference, the Sun Devils hold an 82-21-1 record. When counting in the other schools that no longer compete, the Sun Devils hold a record of 123-21-1 against 17 teams during their time as members of the Pac-10.

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 the 1979 championship tournament.

Arizona State holds a perfect 4-0-0 against UC Davis in the all-time series and is 2-0-0 in duals held in Davis, Calif. The Sun Devils won the last meeting with a 26-12 decision at home last year and won the last dual held at UCD, a 20-17 decision to open the 2007-08 season.

In the last meeting, the Sun Devils came from behind to take a 26-12 victory from the Aggies in a home dual held at Mesa High School as Arizona State won 6-of-10 contests with four producing bonus points. After falling behind, 6-0, following decision losses at 149 and 157, Kyle DeBerry won a 4-3 decision over former Pac-10 finalist Dustin Noack before Eric Starks won a 17-9 major decision to put ASU ahead, 7-6. Jake CranfordThor Moen (forfeit) won at 184 and 197, respectively, to give ASU a 16-6 lead before a loss at heavyweight made it 16-9. From there, No. 8 Anthony Robles pinned No. 11 Marcos Orozco in 4:05 to put the dual away with No. 7 Chris Drouin scoring a 12-3 major decision in the final match to close out the dual. (decision) and

The Sun Devils are 15-3-0 all-time against the Titans, but have dropped the last three duals in a row, including a 20-18 decision at home last year. Prior to its 26-18 loss in Fullerton, Calif., during the 2007-08 season, the Sun Devils had won six in a row inside Titan Gym.

In a back-and-forth battle, the Titans escaped Tempe with a 20-18 victory last year, winning their third dual in a row in the series. ASU took an early 3-0 lead with a decision win for Jake Meredith before an overtime loss at 197 and a decision loss at heavyweight put ASU behind, 6-3. No. 12 Anthony Robles put the Sun Devils in the lead once again with a 15-0 technical fall win at 125, but CSUF reclaimed the lead with a technical fall of their own at 133 to move ahead, 11-8. The score was tied at 11-11 following the 141 match as No. 6 Chris Drouin edged Adin Duenas, 5-4, but a pin at 149 and a decision loss at 157 put the Sun Devils down, 20-11. Kyle DeBerry won a decision at 165 to bring ASU to within six, but Eric Starks, despite his best effort, could not pick up the pin, instead winning a 12-2 major decision for four team points.

While the Sun Devils are set to open their season on the road this weekend, several members of the program have already stepped onto the mat once this season as 13 individuals competed unattached from Arizona State at the Embry-Riddle Collegiate Open in Prescott, Ariz., on Saturday (November 7). Three of those competitors placed in the Top 4 of their weight classes with freshman Kalin Goodsite leading the way by placing second at 133 pounds. Jake Hannaford also placed in the 133 division as he finished fourth overall while Orlando Jimenez took fourth place at 149.

Twenty-five wrestlers return to the roster once again this season, including nine of the 10 men that competed at the Pac-10 Championships. The Sun Devils return three Pac-10 finalists in Anthony Robles (125 champion), Chris Drouin (141 runner-up) and Eric Starks (174 runner-up) with both Robles and Drouin coming off an All-American season as the duo placed fourth and sixth, respectively, at the NCAA Championships. Other starters returning include David Prado (133), Vicente Varela (149), Te Edwards (157), Kyle DeBerry (165), Jake Meredith (184) and Imanibom Etukeren (285). Several others that started at various points in the season are also back this season, including Erik Nye (285), Michael SwigartJerrad Trulson (157). In all, the returnees include four seniors, nine juniors, nine sophomores and two redshirt freshmen. (157) and

The program also has welcomed eight new wrestlers to the fold with six coming to Tempe as true freshmen and two in their sophomore year at Arizona State. The newcomers include Carlos Castro (141, Tucson, Ariz./Amphi HS), Sergio Cortez (165, Moorpark, Calif./Royal HS), Tai FukumotoKalin Goodsite (133, Riverside, Calif./Martin Luther King HS), Orson Lor (165, Tucson, Ariz./Amphi HS), Anthony Pike (197, Tucson, Ariz./Sunnyside HS), Jared Stephens (133, Westland, Mich./Westland John Glenn HS) and Daniel Walker (133, Phoenix, Ariz./Shadow Mountain HS). (149, Seattle, Wash./Lakeside HS),

Not only did eight new wrestlers join the program this season, but so did three staff members, including Bryan Snyder (head assistant coach), Raymond Jordan (volunteer coach) and Ben Askren (director of operations).
• Snyder was a four-time All-American (157) for Nebraska and was a two-time national runner-up. A four-time Big XII Champion and three-time NWCA All-Star Classic selection, Snyder went 136-11 with a 69-4 dual record in his days in Lincoln. He was a four-time NWCA All-Academic and Academic All-Big XII selection before earning two degrees from NU in 2002 (Sociology, Communication Studies).
• Jordan was a two-time All-American at Missouri, earning the honors at 174 (2009) and 184 (2008) to become just the fourth Tiger to earn All-America honors at two different weights. A four-time NCAA qualifier and 2007 Big XII Champion (174), Jordan went 123-29 in his career before earning a degree in Personal Finance Planning from MU in 2008.
• Askren, a U.S. Olympian at the 2008 Beijing Games, was a four-time NCAA All-American, four-time finalist and two-time NCAA Champion for Missouri. A two-time Dan Hodge Award winner, the three-time Big XII Champion went 153-7 in his career, won an NCAA record 18-consecutive matches by first-period pin and won 93 matches by pin in his career. Askren was a four-time NWCA All-Academic honoree and graduated from MU in 2007.

Anthony Robles and Chris Drouin both collected All-America honors and combined to score 27.5 team points to place the Sun Devil program in a tie for 20th place at the NCAA Championships that were held in St. Louis, Mo. Robles, seeded 12th at 125 pounds, moved his way through the bracket to the national semifinals before slipping into the consolation bracket. On the final day, he scored a 19-10 major decision over 11th-seed Zach Sanders (Minnesota) before falling, 3-1, to No. 4 Brandon Precin (Northwestern) to settle for fourth place. Drouin, seeded seventh, also advanced to the national semifinal at 141 before falling to the consolations. On the final day, Drouin dropped a tough 3-1 overtime decision to second-seeded Zach Tanelli (Wisconsin) before falling in the fifth-place match. Overall, Robles went 4-2 in the tournament with two wins by major decision and wins over the No. 4, No. 5 and No. 11 wrestlers in the event while Drouin posted a 3-3 record and facing the No. 2 and No. 3 wrestlers in the tournament.

With their performances in St. Louis, Robles and Drouin both earned All-America honors to become the 63rd and 64th national honorees in the program's history. Overall, the Sun Devil program has collected 104 total All-America honors with four individual earning four honors in their careers, including current head coach Shawn Charles, the first Sun Devil in program history to do so. Robles and Drouin will now look to become the 31st and 32nd Sun Devils to earn multiple All-America honors in a career, which also includes current assistant coach Brian Stith, who was a two-time honoree.

Robles' victory in the finals of the Pac-10 Championships gave the Sun Devil program its 100th individual Pac-10 title and the 128th conference crown overall. The Sun Devils, once members of the Western Athletic Conference (WAC), won 28 titles before making the move to the Pac-10 Conference.

With Robles' crown this year, the Sun Devils have now won at least one individual title in each of the past 35 seasons, dating back to Bruce Young's WAC crown at 177 pounds in 1975. ASU also now has had at least one champion in each of the past 31 Pac-10 events.

Arizona State will return to the road for another pair of contests, this time traveling to the Sooner State for a pair of showdowns with Big XII foes. First up will be a 7 p.m. CT dual at No. 6 Oklahoma State on Friday night in Stillwater before heading to Norman on Sunday for a 2 p.m. CT dual against No. 18 Oklahoma. Anthony Robles also will compete in the 44th NWCA All-Star Classic in Fullerton, Calif., on Sunday at 2 p.m. PT.