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ASU wrestling set for two Pac-10 road duals

February 04, 2009

With only two weeks remaining in the regular season for the Arizona State University wrestling team (5-5, 3-1 Pac-10), the Sun Devils are hitting the road this weekend for a Pac-10 road duals that will be both their first and last road conference duals of the season. The Sun Devils will open the weekend on Friday night at 7 p.m. PT (8 p.m. Arizona) with a dual at Stanford (6-12-1, 1-4 Pac-10) before closing the long trip with a noon PT (1 p.m. Arizona) dual in Corvallis, Ore., at Oregon State (9-7, 5-2 Pac-10).

• The dual with Stanford will be streamed live on the internet for free on Friday night. Fans wishing to look in on the Sun Devils and Cardinal through their computer screens can visit:
• The dual at Oregon State will also have a live feature to it as the dual's statistics can be viewed live thanks to the NWCA's online scorebook (click here).

Oddly enough, the Sun Devils' dual with the Cardinal will be ASU's first road Pac-10 dual of the season after winning its first four conference duals of the year, all at home. The Sun Devils are 22-4-0 all-time in their first Pac-10 road dual of the season after winning, 20-17, last year at UC Davis. The dual at Stanford will mark only the second time the Sun Devils have wrestled their first road dual of the year at the Cardinal with the first ending in a 30-12 victory for ASU during the 1982-83 season.

Although this year's first Pac-10 road dual comes on February 6, it is only tied for the fifth-latest road conference opener in program history. The latest Pac-10 road opener for the Sun Devils came during the 1991-92 season when Arizona State won, 25-16, at CS Fullerton on Feb. 22.

Between the Sun Devils' two duals this weekend -- and on the opposite side of the nation -- former ASU heavyweight All-American Cain Velasquez will be returning to the Octagon as he will fight in the UFC's Fight Night live on Spike TV Saturday at 9 p.m. ET (10 p.m. Arizona). Velasquez will be taking on Denis 'The Menace' Stojnic, who is making his UFC debut with a 12-1-0 record.

On Saturday, February 14, the Sun Devils will close out their regular season slate of duals by hosting CS Fullerton. Before and after the dual, former Sun Devil All-American and current UFC fighter Ryan 'Darth' Bader will be on hand to sign autographs.

On January 28, Sun Devil Kelsey Campbell was in Colorado Springs, Colo., competing in a women's dual and helped the United States defeat Germany, 22-17. Competing at 121 pounds (55kg), Campbell wrestled Nicole Hauptmann in the final match of the night and won a 4-0, 1-0 decision to lock up the team victory.

InterMat released its Division I national team and individual rankings on February 3 with both Chris Drouin (No. 6 at 141) and Anthony Robles (No. 12 at 125) remaining among the Top 12 nationally in their respective weight classes.

The NCAA released its first of three Coaches Panel rankings that will be utilized later this season to select the competitors for the NCAA Championships in St. Louis. In the initial release, Chris Drouin is ranked No. 6 at 141 while Anthony Robles is tied for 11th (with Joey Fio of Oklahoma). The rankings are based on points earned according the ranking assigned by each voter in their mock Top 33 (33 points for 1st place down to 1 point for 33rd).

The coaches at CS Fullerton (hosts for the 2009 Pac-10 Championships) have begun releasing Pac-10 individual rankings in December with Anthony Robles (125) and Chris Drouin (141) both holding the top spots in their respective weight classes. The remaining Sun Devils are ranked anywhere between No. 4 and No. 8.

Arizona State won 7-of-9 matches and recorded bonus points in six of its wins to snap a three-dual losing streak and top Cal Poly, 36-10, at home on January 31. The Sun Devils won three matches by fall, one by technical fall and one by major while also adding a forfeit victory. David PradoVicente Varela (149) and Jake Cranford (197) each won by fall as well. The win for Cranford came in 1:50, the 10th-fastest fall time this season for an ASU wrestler. Jake Meredith (184) recorded his second shut-out tech fall of the season as well as he won 16-0 over Ben Crosby. picked up his first collegiate victory by pinning Andy Nowak in 4:48 of the 125 match while

So far this season, Chris Drouin is 9-1 in dual competitions with his lone loss coming in a 3-2 decision on the road to then-No. 7 Alex Tsirtsis of Iowa. In his nine victories, the closest result he has had was the 11-7 decision over No. 9 Mike Thorn of Minnesota two weeks ago. In his last match, Drouin won another major decision, giving him eight bonus-point victories in dual competition this season.

Chris Drouin was selected as the Arizona State Athlete of the Week this week, joining Addison McGrath (water polo) as the two honorees this week.

The Sun Devils, who are 3-1 so far this season in conference action, have competed in the Pac-10 Conference for 30 seasons, starting in the 1978-79 season. During that time, Arizona State has won over 87-percent (.865) of its Pac-10 duals, recording a mark of 112-17-1 against 13 different schools. Of those 13 teams, eight are still competing in the Pac-10 Conference with the Sun Devils holding a 79-17-1 record against those teams.

Arizona State holds a 44-10-0 record against Pac-10 foes since Thom Ortiz took over the program eight years ago, including a 26-4-0 home record and an 18-6-0 road mark after opening the conference slate with home wins over UC Davis and Portland State. The lone conference loss for ASU this year came at home against CS Bakersfield in January.

Under the direction of first-year coach Jason Borrelli, the Cardinal are 6-12-1 overall (1-4 Pac-10) and have won their last two duals in a row (29-12 over Portland State and 31-13 over Princeton). Similar to the Sun Devils, the Cardinal have a young line up that features eight freshmen and sophomores, including two true freshmen. Three wrestlers have 20+ victories, including team leader Jake Johnson at 184 (26-13).

Arizona State leads the all-time series, 7-1-0, but lost the last dual as Stanford scored a 28-16 victory in Tempe last season. The Sun Devils are 3-0-0 all-time in duals at Stanford, including a 23-20 victory on February 16, 2007.

Jim Zalesky's Beavers enter the weekend with a 9-7 overall record (5-2 Pac-10) after defeating CS Bakersfield, 28-16, their last time out. Oregon State is led by a pair of nationally-ranked wrestlers, including No. 11 Kyle Bressler at 174 pounds and No. 16 Heinrich Barnes at 149. Heinrich has won 10 in a row and holds an outstanding record of 30-4 on the season.

Arizona State holds an 18-12-0 lead in the all-time series with Oregon State, but has dropped its last two duals in the series, including a 27-14 decision last year in Tempe and a 31-10 decision in Corvallis on Jan. 26, 2007. The Sun Devils are 5-6-0 all-time in duals at OSU and have alternated wins and losses in each of the last six meetings in Corvallis.

There will be no meetings of two ranked foes this weekend for the Sun Devils. Arizona State has ranked wrestlers at 125 (No. 12 Anthony Robles) and 141 (No. 6 Chris Drouin), Stanford does not have a ranked wrestler and Oregon States' ranked entries come at 149 (No. 16 Heinrich Barnes) and 174 (No. 11 Kyle Bressler).

There is only one possible rematch from an earlier season meeting this weekend and that could come at 125 pounds with No. 12 Anthony Robles facing OSU's Jake Gonzales in Corvallis on Sunday. The two met in the second round of the Reno Tournament of Champions where Robles won a 17-5 major decision on his way to claiming the tournament title.

Sun Devils have won 105 matches this year with 67 of those -- or 64% -- producing bonus points for the team. So far this season, the Sun Devils have won 17 major decisions, 10 technical falls, 18 pin falls and 12 forfeits.

Jake Meredith stuck his foe from Grand Canyon in 1:44 to score only the ninth-fast fall of the season and gave ASU its 13th first-period pin on the year. So far this year, Arizona State wrestlers have pinned foes in under one minute three times, including a team-leading fall in 32 seconds by Anthony Robles at the Las Vegas Invitational. The team also has six others coming in under two minutes of match time.

Similar to last year, several Sun Devils have made their collegiate and/or Arizona State debuts on the mats this season with one more joining the list this past weekend against Minnesota. Last week, David Prado, a redshirt freshman, debuted and dropped a 14-5 major decision to No. 7 Zach Sanders, making him the 12th different wrestler to wrestle in his first match for ASU. So far this season, three true freshman have competed, including Te Edwards, Eric Starks and Jake Meredith, and eight redshirt freshman, including Prado, Sal Musto, Anthony Morales, Jeff Cappellini, Vicente Varela, Michael Swigart, Nick Williams and Kyle DeBerry. Erik Nye, a junior college transfer, also saw his first action for the Sun Devils this fall.

With debuts come first victories and another name added to the list following the Cal Poly dual where David Prado won by fall. Of those 11 Sun Devils that have debuted so far this season, nine have won at least one bout: Prado (125), Vicente Varela (149), Te Edwards (157), Kyle DeBerryEric Starks (174), Jake Meredith (184), Jeff Cappellini (197), Nick Williams and Erik Nye (285). (165),

With their 38-6 defeat of Embry-Riddle, the Sun Devils improved to 3-0 on the year in home duals. The win also marked the 17th time in program history -- as well as the second year in a row -- the team has opened a season 3-0 or better at home. In the program's history, eight Sun Devil teams have gone undefeated at home with the last time coming in the 1992-93 season (8-0-0). Since their win over ERAU, though, the Sun Devils have dropped three in a row (CS Bakersfield, No. 11 Oklahoma and No. 9 Minnesota).

With their 40-0 win over Portland State, the Sun Devils not only recorded their 12th victory in a row over the Vikings (12-1-0 all-time in the series), they also posted the 25th shut out victory in program history. The last time ASU shut out an opponent came in a 46-0 defeat of intrastate rival Embry-Riddle on December 5, 2002, in Tempe. Conversely, the last time the Sun Devils were shut out came this year as ASU fell at Iowa, 41-0.

Last season, the Sun Devils, at various points, had up to seven redshirt freshmen in their starting 10 with two or three seniors. This year, the team will continue to be young as 27 of the 36 athletes on the roster are freshmen or sophomores, including 12 redshirt freshmen and six true freshmen. Also, the team has two seniors (Kelsey Campbell and Preston Pruett) along with seven juniors.

Kelsey Campbell, one of the two seniors on the squad this year, is set to defend the two U.S. Women's College Wrestling National Championships that she has won in 2007 (63kg) and 2008 (59kg). The No. 1 college wrestler in the nation at 59kg last year, Campbell competed in the U.S. Olympic Team Trials over the summer and has placed among the Top 4 in several national events throughout the past year.

Arizona (12) and California (nine) provide wrestlers for more than half of the Sun Devil roster this year with other western/southwestern states adding 11 more, including two each from Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas and Washington. Three eastern states are also accounted for on the Sun Devil roster, including two wrestlers from New York and one each from New Jersey and Virginia.

During the month of September, two former Sun Devils competed on the international stage and returned with bronze medals. First up was the 2008 World Beach Championships in Durres, Albania, on September 21 with Jeff Funicello winning a bronze medal in the Under 85kg/187.25 classification for the second year in a row. Funicello also competed in the World Grappling Championships one day earlier and earned a bronze medal at the same weight class. Then, on September 26 in Perm, Russia, John Hughes competed in the 2008 Veteran World Championships and captured the bronze medal in Division E (56 years +) freestyle at 69kg/152.

Over the weekend, former Sun Devil All-American Ryan Bader stepped into the Octagon inside the Palms in Las Vegas, Nev., and won the light heavyweight division of the eighth season of the Ultimate Fighter. 'Darth' Bader, as he is known in the world of MMA (mixed martial arts), kept the fight on its feet in the opening minutes of action and exchanged punches and kicks with his opponent, Vinny Magalhaes, before landing a huge overhand right that dropped the world champion jiu-jitsu fighter from Brazil. Bader moved in with some more punches on the ground before the referee stepped in and called the fight for Bader at 2:18 (TKO). The former three-time Pac-10 Champion at 197 pounds will now receive a contract with the UFC.

Speaking of Bader's success on The Ultimate Fighter, another former Sun Devil will soon be appearing on the reality show on Spike TV as 'Dangerous' Dan Henderson will be coaching one of the teams on the next season. Henderson was selected for the coaching duty after defeating Rich 'Ace' Franklin in a light heavyweight battle in Dublin, Ireland, earlier this month.

In the world of mixed martial arts (MMA), the Sun Devil wrestling program has produced some top talent both now and then. While former Sun Devils have held championship belts in the past, including UFC Heavyweight Champion Dan 'The Beast' Severn and Pride Welterweight and Middleweight (at the same time) Champion 'Dangerous' Dan Henderson, the current crop of talent is already turning heads. That trio (all of which were All-Americans in 2006) include up-and-coming UFC heavyweight Cain Velasquez, TUF Season 7 runner-up (middleweight) C.B. 'The Doberman' Dollaway and TUF Season 8 light heavyweight winner Ryan 'Darth' Bader.

The team will be led by a trio of captains this season, including junior Thor Moen (197) and sophomores Anthony Robles (125) and Chris Drouin (141).

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 169-56-2 all-time inside Wells Fargo Arena (207-92-2 all-time at home). With its 36-3 defeat of Utah Valley on Jan. 10, 2005, ASU recorded its 150th victory at WFA.

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. Since the opening, the facility has hosted numerous practices for the Sun Devils and Sunkist and was a two-week training home for the 2008 U.S. Olympic Freestyle Team before it headed to Beijing. One of the wrestlers that trained at the facility along side the Sun Devils was Henry Cejudo, who won Olympic Gold this summer.

The Sun Devils will close out their 2008-09 dual season on Saturday, Feb. 14 when the Titans of CS Fullerton come to town. UFC fighter Ryan Bader will be on hand to sign autographs as well.