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Reno TOC awaits ASU wrestling

December 15, 2010

Sun Devil Mat Notes & Statistics (pdf)

The second of two tournaments in the state of Nevada is on the schedule for the No. 24 Arizona State University wrestling team this weekend as the Sun Devils (3-1, 1-0 Pac-10) are set to compete in the Reno Tournament of Champions on Sunday at the Downtown Convention Center in Reno, Nev. The tournament, which will consist of mainly NCAA Division I teams, including three ranked in the Top 25 nationally, will be held over the course of one day.

• ASU is currently ranked No. 22 (NWCA/USA Today Coaches Poll)
• Robles (#3) and Jenkins (#3) remained in the national Top 3 this week
• Robles won the Las Vegas Invitational and Outstanding Wrestling Award
• Meredith placed eighth at Las Vegas and is now nationally ranked
• ASU making its 12th appearance at the Reno Tournament of Champions
• ASU’s trip this weekend is its second of 2 in December to the state of Nevada
• Every two years, an ASU athlete wins a Reno title (2006, 2008)
• Robles has 95 wins, needing 10 more to join the Century Club

The Sun Devils remained in the Top 25 this week in the NWCA/USA Today Coaches Top 25 Poll, sliding two positions to No. 24. Cornell remained the top-ranked team in the nation while fellow Pac-10 team Boise State (#6) and Oregon State (#14) are the lone conference schools ranked ahead of the Sun Devils.

Looking at the NWCA/USA Today Coaches Poll, six of Arizona State’s opponents are currently ranked in the Top 25. Overall, ASU’s schedule includes duals with No. 2 Oklahoma State, No. 8 Oklahoma (L, 32-7), No. 12 Iowa State, No. 13 Nebraska, No. 14 Oregon State and No. 23 American.

According to Amateur Wrestling News, only two individual Sun Devils carry national rankings this week, but both are highly regarded as Anthony Robles and Bubba Jenkins are among the Top 3 nationally in their weight classes. Robles remained at No. 3 in the 125-pound weight class while Jenkins moved back to No. 3 at 157 pounds.

Four other ranking services have Robles and Jenkins consistently in the Top 4 with Robles at No. 3 across the board while Jenkins is No. 3 in one poll and No. 4 in the three others. Including the remaining four rankings this week, Jake Meredith joins the nationally recognized Sun Devils as he holds rankings of No. 15 (, No. 17 (InterMat), No. 19 ( and No. 25 ( at 184 pounds. In the coming weeks, the NCAA will begin releasing its Coaches Top 33 Projections, which will be used to help select the 33 participants in each weight class at the end of the season for the NCAA Wrestling Championships in Philadelphia, Pa.

This weekend’s tournament will mark the 12th time overall and the 12th year in a row that the Sun Devils will compete in the Reno Tournament of Champions where Arizona State has placed among the Top 6 overall nine times, including the past two tournaments (6th in 2008, 5th in 2009). Starting in 1999, the Sun Devils ran off a streak of six Reno appearances in a row in which they finished either second (2000, 2003, 2004) or third (1999, 2001, 2002). The team also finished fifth last year and sixth in both 2005 and 2008.

The last time a Sun Devil won an individual title at the Reno Tournament of Champions came at the 2008 tournament when Anthony Robles and Chris Drouin won the 125 and 141-pound weight classes, respectively. Robles nearly repeated his 2008 performance last year by reaching the finals, but fell short of his second title in a row. Prior to the wins in 2008, the last Sun Devils to win in Reno were Ryan Bader and Cain Velasquez, who captured the 197 and heavyweight titles, respectively, in 2006.

The 2010 Reno Tournament of Champions field will be comprised of 27 teams with 18 from NCAA Division I, two from NCAA Division II, five from NAIA and two from NJCAA. Of those 27 teams, 12 are currently ranked in their respective national polls, including No. 2 Oklahoma State, No. 6 Boise State and No. 24 ASU. The ranked teams in the smaller divisions include: No. 6 Minnesota State (Mankato) and No. 16 Adams State from NCAA Division II; No. 3 Great Falls, No. 10 Montana State Northern, No. 11 Southern Oregon, No. 12 Oklahoma City and No. 16 Hastings College from NAIA; and No. 7 Clackamas and No. 12 Southwestern Oregon from NJCAA.

A total of 78 individuals that are ranked in their respective divisions will be on hand to compete this Sunday, including at least six ranked individuals in each weight class. While the 157 and 184-pound weight classes have 10 ranked wrestlers set to compete, the 197 weight class (seven ranked) is the lone weight that has at least one nationally ranked wrestler from each of the four divisions represented. The 184 weight class also carries the distinction of being one of the tougher brackets as six of those 10 ranked wrestlers are from the NCAA Division I rankings while both 133 and 157 have five Division I ranked wrestlers. Depending upon who enters into the final brackets, 133 and 184 could have the Top 2 ranked NCAA Division I wrestlers competing while 157 will have No. 3 (Bubba Jenkins of ASU) and No. 2 (Adam Hall of Boise State).

Arizona State had five individuals place among the Top 6, including runner-up Anthony Robles at 125 pounds, as the Sun Devils finished fifth overall at the 2009 Reno Tournament of Championships, marking the team’s best finish since a third-place showing in 2002. Along with Robles’ second-place finish, the other Sun Devils that earned a Top 6 finish included Chris Drouin (5th at 141); Vicente Varela (5th at 149); Eric Starks (6th at 174) and Erik Nye (4th at heavyweight).

This week’s tournament action marks the second event in a row that the Sun Devils will be competing in the Silver State. Arizona State competed at the Cliff Keen/Las Vegas Invitational (December 3-4) for their first event in the state of Nevada.

Arizona State finished tied for 12th as a team with three individuals placing in the tough annual tournament in Las Vegas, including two Sun Devils that reached the final of their weight classes. Anthony Robles rolled to the title at 125 pounds as he went 5-0 with three technical falls, one major decision and one 8-4 decision. Robles defeated No. 8 Jarrod Patterson (Oklahoma), 13-1, in the final to take the crown. At 157, Bubba Jenkins also reached the final, using three major decisions and two one-point victories to reach the last match where he fell, 2-1 in the tiebreaker, to No. 3 Adam Hall. At 184 pounds, Jake Meredith went 4-3 and finished eighth overall, using three wins in a row in the consolation rounds to reach the medal matches.

In Las Vegas, Robles went 5-0 with three technical falls, one major decision and one decision to capture the Cliff Keen/Las Vegas Invitational 125-pound championship. At the same time, his performance was noticed by the coaches in attendance as they collectively voted him the Outstanding Wrestler of the Tournament. Robles’ scores were 16-0 tech fall over Shane Young (Wyoming); 8-4 decision over Steven Keith (Harvard); 17-0 tech fall over Jason Lara (Oregon State); 17-0 tech fall over No. 7 Jarrod Garnett (Virginia Tech) in the semifinal; and 13-1 major over No. 8 Jarrod Patterson (Oklahoma) in the final.

So far this season, Anthony Robles seems to be having his way with most of his opponents as the senior has jumped to a 9-0 start with his closest victory being an 8-4 decision over Steven Keith of Harvard at Las Vegas (the second-closest is a 13-1 major decision in the Las Vegas final over No. 8 Jarrod Patterson of Oklahoma). Overall, Robles has won one major decision, five technical falls and one pin fall. He also won a 20-2 technical fall over No. 4 Zach Sanders of Minnesota at the NWCA All-Star Classic, but that match was an exhibition event and doesn’t count toward his season record.

Heading into his senior campaign, Anthony Robles held a career record of 84-23 and now, with a 9-0 record so far this year, needs just five more wins to become the 23rd different Sun Devil to break the century mark. Robles, who is 95-23 all-time with the Sun Devils, is currently ranked 23rd all-time in career wins at Arizona State and will need eight more wins (103 total) to break into the Top 20 as he will tie with three others for 19th place, including head coach Shawn Charles.

Jake Meredith is starting to get noticed, thanks in large part to his performance at the Las Vegas Invitational, where he finished eighth overall at 184 pounds with a 4-3 record, including an upset victory (3-1) over No. 18 Tommy Spellman of Virginia Tech to reach the medal rounds. Nationally ranked this week, Meredith’s lone losses came to a pair of nationally ranked foes, including one to No. 4 A.J. Kissel of Purdue and twice to No. 15 Luke Reburtus of Navy (a pair of 3-1 decisions). So far this year, Meredith is 10-5 overall.

Just as Eric Starks avenged a dual loss to Victor Carazo (Grand Canyon) by defeating him in the final of the Fullerton Open at 174 pounds, Jake Meredith exacted a bit of revenge as well last week in a dual with CS Fullerton. At the Fullerton Open, Meredith reached the final and faced Todd Noel (CSUF) where he fell to the Titan, 5-3, to take second place. One week later, Meredith came out on top with a 5-0 decision to move to 1-0 in Pac-10 action, which will help with his seeding at the Pac-10 Championships later this season.

Heading into the Las Vegas Invitational, the Sun Devils have won 21 matches by fall with five of those wins coming in one minute or less while 15-of-21 falls have occurred in the first period of action. Ten of the Sun Devil falls also have come in less than two minutes. So far this year, Luke Ashmore (149) has the fastest fall recorded with his pin in 41 seconds at the Fullerton Open while David Prado (133) is right behind him at 0:47. Michael Hawkins has a pair of sub-one minute pins, including times of 0:53 and 0:59, while Jake Meredith closes out the one-minute pinners with a fall of 1:00.

Since joining the Pac-10 Conference in time for the 1978-79 season, the Sun Devils have built a 29-4-1 all-time record in their first conference dual of the season. Arizona State is 13-0-1 in its last 14 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 has won nine of its last 11 home Pac-10 openers including the 25-19 defeat of CS Fullerton last week.

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 six others still competing (including Boise State, Cal Poly, CS Bakersfield, CS Fullerton, Oregon State and Stanford). Against current members of the Pac-10, ASU holds an 82-23-1 all-time record and stands 128-23-1 all-time when including all 17 teams that are/have been in the Pac-10.

In the 32 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 48 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.

Although the results won’t count toward their season and career records, both Anthony Robles and Bubba Jenkins dominated at the 45th NWCA All-Star Classic in Fresno, Calif., as the Sun Devil posted the only two wins by something other than a decision. First up was No. 3 Robles, who scored a 20-2 technical fall over No. 4 Zach Sanders (Minnesota) at 125 pounds. Then, Jenkins took to the mat at 157 pounds as the No. 6 Sun Devil upset No. 1 Adam Hall (Boise State) with a 12-4 major decision. Only three other matches contested saw a wrestler win by four or more points at the annual exhibition event.

With the two wins on the opening day of the season, the Sun Devils improved to 64-9-0 all-time against teams from the state of Arizona and extended their winning streak to 44 in a row in the process. The last time Arizona State lost to a fellow Copper State school came on February 13, 1973, when visiting Arizona won, 18-17. The Sun Devils also improved to 28-6-0 all-time in road duals inside the state after winning their 19th and 20th in a row.

With their 29-8 victory at Grand Canyon Saturday morning, the Sun Devils improved to 35-14-0 all-time in their first dual of the season. Following a 2-0 record on the road, the Sun Devils now turn their attention to their first home dual of the year with No. 8 Oklahoma in town. The Sun Devils are 32-16-0 all-time in their first home dual of the season and have won four in a row. The dual with the Sooners will mark the third time Arizona State has faced OU in its home opener with the Sooners winning the previous two instances, 32-7 (Dec. 3, 1964) and 23-21 (Dec. 4, 1985).

The next action for the Sun Devils will come at home on January 2 as the No. 2 Cowboys of Oklahoma State visit Wells Fargo Arena for a 6 p.m. dual. Several unattached individuals from the program will also compete ahead of that dual at the Midlands Championships in Evanston, Ill., December 29-30.