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ASU wrestling plays host to Oregon schools this week

January 22, 2008

TEMPE, Ariz. - The Arizona State University wrestling team (8-3, 2-3 Pac-10) will look to rebound from a trio of road losses its last time out as it plays host to both Oregon State and Oregon this weekend. The Sun Devils open the weekend with a 7 p.m. contest Friday night at Mesa High School against the defending Pac-10 champion Beavers (6-5, 3-2 Pac-10) before closing out the weekend in a 2 p.m. dual on Sunday back inside Wells Fargo Arena when the Ducks (9-7, 0-4 Pac-10) visit the Valley.

While the dual with Oregon State on Friday night will take place at Mesa High School, it is still a home dual for the Sun Devils and a true 'home' dual for one wrestler in particular as Anthony Robles (125 pounds) returns to the school he competed for and graduated from. Robles, who is 16-6 on the year and ranked No. 16 nationally, compiled a career record of 129-15 at Mesa High, including records of 48-0 as a junior and senior on his way to a pair of Arizona state titles. The former Jackrabbit also won the 2006 High School Senior Nationals.

Arizona State's dual with Oregon State at Mesa High School is not the first time the Sun Devils have packed up and taken their show on the road, so to speak. The most recent example came during the 2005-06 season when the Sun Devils defeated Fresno State, 46-9, in a dual held February 10, 2006, at Raymond Kellis High School in Glendale.

The Sun Devils are competing in their 30th season as members of the Pac-10 Conference and hold a 20-3-1 in their first home dual against a league opponent (ASU did not have a home conference dual five times in that span). The Sun Devils have won their last eight openers in a row and are 9-0-1 in their last 10 lid-lifters.

In the previous 29 years, the Sun Devils have faced the Beavers in their first home Pac-10 dual of the season on seven previous occasions with Arizona State holding a 6-1 record including wins in the last four instances. The last time OSU was in town when ASU opened its home Pac-10 slate was during the 2005-06 season with ASU taking a 28-13 decision.

This weekend will mark the 11th time overall and just the third time in Tempe that the Sun Devils have faced both Oregon schools in the same weekend. During the past three seasons, the Sun Devils have faced the Beavers and Ducks in the same weekend, sweeping the first two before splitting last year on the road. When ASU faces both at home in the same weekend, the Sun Devils are 4-0 with wins during the 2005-06 and 1999-00 seasons. Regardless of location, the Sun Devils are 15-5 overall with a record of 5-5 against OSU and 10-0 against UO. The Sun Devils are 5-3 against the Beavers when the two open the weekend (2-0 against the Ducks when they open the weekend).

Since Thom Ortiz took over coaching duties in time for the 2001-02 season, the Sun Devils have been very impressive at home, posting an overall mark of 37-14-0 which includes its 4-0 home start this year. Ortiz' teams also have been nearly perfect against Pac-10 foes as the Sun Devils stand 22-1-0 against league opponents with the lone loss coming last year in a 30-14 setback to CS Fullerton. ASU has won five home duals in a row (dating back to a 26-18 defeat of Cal Poly last year) and has won its last two home Pac-10 duals.

For the first time since the opening weekend of competition, the Sun Devils will face Pac-10 foes in dual competition, using the bouts to make their cases for seedings at the 2008 Pac-10 Wrestling Championships that are less than two months away. Although neither Oregon State nor Oregon have individual wrestlers ranked in the national Top 20 this week, there will be a few bouts featuring wrestlers in the Top 3 of the current (Jan. 13) Pac-10 rankings.

Earlier this season, at the Reno Tournament of Champions, Patrick Pitsch (165) scored the 75th victory of his career with an 11-4 defeat of Daniel Atondo (CS Bakersfield). With two team wins this weekend by the Sun Devils, Head Coach Thom Ortiz would reach the same victory milestone as he currently holds an all-time coaching record of 73-47-1. Back on the mats, a duo of Sun Devils are nearing milestone wins as well with Jason Trulson (197) needing two more victories for his 50th and Rick Renzi (174) is four away from his 25th.

Arizona State holds an 18-12-0 advantage in the all-time series with the Beavers after falling in their last meeting, 31-10, last year in Corvallis. The last time the two teams met in Tempe was during the 2005-06 season with the Sun Devils scoring a 28-13 victory.

The Sun Devils have dominated their series with the Ducks, holding a 22-2-0 all-time advantage and have won 21 in a row, including a 24-17 decision in Eugene last year and a slim 23-21 decision during the 2005-06 season, the last time the team's met in Tempe. The last time the Ducks defeated the Sun Devils was a 28-10 decision in Tempe Dec. 9, 1974.

Since Thom Ortiz took over the program in time for the 2001-02 season, Arizona State has built a 40-7-0 record against Pac-10 foes, including an 18-6 record on the road and 22-1 in Tempe. Under Ortiz, the Sun Devils are 4-2 against Oregon State and 3-0 at home and 6-0 against Oregon with a 3-0 home record.

With its 8-0 start, the Sun Devils are receiving votes in the national rankings this week, according to the USA Today/NWCA/InterMat Top 25 rankings (January 15). Individually in the InterMat/NWCA/NWMA rankings, three Sun Devils are listed among the Top 20 in their respective weight classes, including No. 14 Patrick Pitsch (165), No. 16 Brent Chriswell (184) and No. 16 Anthony Robles (125).

The fourth round of Pac-10 Individual Rankings were released January 13 with six 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 fourth; and both Todd Schavrien (133) and Chris Drouin (141) are ranked sixth. (125) ranked third;

The Sun Devils have combined to win 132 bouts this year with 59 of those victories producing bonus points. Of the 59 bonus point victories, Arizona State has won 23 by fall, 17 by major decision, five by technical fall and added 12 forfeit victories and two injury defaults.

Of those 23 wins by pin-fall, only 12 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.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Kenny Lester turned in one of the latest falls of the season this year as he pinned Cal Poly's Jim Powers at 6:58 of the heavyweight bout, or two seconds before the end of the bout. Lester was leading the match on points and was set for the win, but a late takedown gave the Sun Devil big-man a chance for the pin, which he took.

Although the team did not fare well on the road during its three-dual California road trip, one Sun Devil turned in a solid 3-0 performance as Anthony Robles (125) dominated his opponents. Robles opened the trip with a 16-0 technical fall (his team-best fourth) over Micah Ferguson at Cal Poly. The next day, Robles scored an 11-3 major decision over Brandon Zoetewey at CS Bakersfield before closing the weekend the following day at CS Fullerton with his pin of Andre Gonzalez at 2:23. With the trio of bonus-point victories, Robles moved into the lead for bonus points scored on the team with 54 (four major decision, four tech falls, two falls and one forfeit) with Jason Trulson moving to second (42 points), 12 points behind.

For the fourth time since it began hosting the Sun Devil Duals in 1999 (eight Duals), Arizona State walked away with a 3-0 record on the day as it scored wins of 22-13 over Army, 42-10 over Grand Canyon and 21-17 over No. 23 Penn. The Sun Devils previously swept the Duals in 2005, 2004 and 2001. The 2004 edition, like this year's, included an upset of a ranked foe (defeated No. 2 Iowa State, 22-20) as well as a win over another Arizona school (24-17 over Embry-Riddle). Since the first Sun Devil Duals, ASU holds a 17-6 all-time record.

Arizona State faced a pair of foes for the first time over the weekend and walked away with victories, including wins of 22-13 over Army and 42-10 over Grand Canyon. The win over GCU, an Arizona school based in Phoenix, improved the Sun Devils' all-time record against Copper Canyon State teams to 54-9-0.

Three upsets took place at the Sun Devil Duals, including two individual victories and one team win for Arizona State. In the first dual of the day against Army, No. 19 Anthony Robles used his quickness to build an early lead before winning his bout at 125-pounds in a 15-4 major decision over No. 16 Fernando Martinez. In the third dual of the day, No. 18 Brent Chriswell, who had not wrestled since the finals of the Keystone Classic on November 17 -- a 7-3 loss to No. 17 Lior Zamir of Penn -- stepped onto the mat to face Zamir again, this time ranked No. 13. In a tough battle, the Sun Devil freshman picked up a reversal to open the third period and held on for a 2-1 victory. Chriswell's victory also helped the team knock-off the No. 23 Quakers, 21-17.

The win for Anthony Robles was his second upset victory of the season as he also defeated then-No. 8 Javier Maldanado of UT Chattanooga in the semifinals of the Keystone Classic in Philadelphia... Brent Chriswell's upset of No. 13 Lior Zamir not only exacted a measure of revenge for an earlier loss this season (his only loss so far this year), but is also marked the second time Chriswell has downed the No. 13-ranked wrestler at 184 pounds after also knocking off then-No. 13 Doug Umbehauer of Rider at the Keystone Classic.

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.

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.

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.

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.

On Saturday, January 7, 2006, the Sun Devils dedicated their new training facility in a joint celebration with the gymnastic team. The Riches Wrestling Complex, the John Spini Women's Gymnastics Training Center and the Cavanagh/Dickey Olympic Sports Plaza were dedicated and showcased as fans and over 200 supporters toured two of the premier training centers in the nation while both teams showcased their teams by holding practices. The facilities are located off Sixth Street behind the Kajikawa Football Practice Fields and beyond the outfield wall at Farrington Softball Stadium.

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 167-54-2 all-time inside Wells Fargo Arena (205-88-2 all-time at home). With its 36-3 defeat of Utah Valley on Jan. 10, 2005, ASU recorded its 150th victory at WFA.

The Sun Devils hit the road for their final road dual of the season next weekend as they face No. 17 Oklahoma at 7 p.m. in Norman, Okla., on February 1. The dual also starts a string of three duals in a row that ASU will face at nationally ranked team. On February 8, the Sun Devils take on No. 1 Iowa at 7:30 p.m. at Copper Canyon High School in Glendale before meeting No. 8 Iowa State on February 10 at 2 p.m. Following the ISU dual, Olympic Champion and ISU head coach Cael Sanderson, who went undefeated in college as a four-time NCAA champion for the Cyclones, will sign autographs for fans.