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Wrestling battles hard, but falls to No. 11 Oklahoma

January 18, 2009

Chris Drouin and Kyle DeBerry posted victories and several other of their teammates hung tough, but in the end, No. 11 Oklahoma proved too much as the visiting Sooners won 8-of-10 matches to take a 36-7 decision in a non-conference dual at Wells Fargo Arena in Tempe on Sunday night. The loss, ASU’s second in a row, pushed the host’s record to 4-4 on the year while OU improved its program-record best start at 14-0.

The dual opened at 125 pounds with a battle of highly ranked foes with No. 10 Anthony Robles facing No. 11 Joey Fio, an opponent he defeated twice last year. After a scoreless first period, Robles chose top, but Fio escaped for a 1-0 lead. Robles then scored a takedown and was working for near fall points, but Fio reversed the Sun Devil, scored three near fall points of his own and then won with a pin at 4:08. The Sun Devils fell behind in the team standings, 10-0, after the 133-pound match with Angel Alegre dropping a 13-1 major decision to Brian Shelton.

ASU got into the win column for the first time at 141 as No. 6 Drouin scored a 15-6 major decision over Seth Vernon in a high-intensity match. After surrendering an early takedown, Drouin escaped and came right back with a takedown of his own to lead, 3-2 after one. Vernon escaped to open the second before Drouin scored another takedown to take a 5-3 lead through two and set up an action-packed third. After escaping, Drouin tacked on four takedowns and built 2:18 of riding time to bring the final to 15-6.

The Sun Devils’ momentum was cut short, however, as OU’s No. 15 Kyle Terry scored five takedowns before turning ASU’s Vicente Varela for a pin in 4:40 and a 16-4 lead in the team race through 149. The Sooners also scored four more points at 157 as Chad Terry recorded at 13-4 major decision over Te Edwards.

ASU’s second, and final, victory of the night came at 165 pounds where DeBerry turned an early 2-1 lead through one period into a 7-2 lead after two with a reversal and a takedown. DeBerry pushed the action throughout although only an escape for his opponent, Ryan Smith, was the lone points in the final stanza to give DeBerry a 7-3 win.

The next two matches featured a pair of Sun Devil true freshmen that nearly pulled off upsets. At 174 pounds, Eric Starks faced No. 9 Jeff James and lost a close, 4-2, decision. After a scoreless first, James chose down and escaped for the lone point in the second. Trailing 1-0, Starks scored on a technical violation (locked hands) to tie the match and then escaped to take a 2-1 lead. With time winding down and James holding the riding time bonus (1:02), both looked for a takedown that James eventually scored to make it 3-2 and finally 4-2 with 1:28 of riding time.

At 184 pounds, Jake Meredith faced No. 19 Pat Flynn and eventually fell, 4-0. After surrendering an early takedown, Meredith trailed 2-0 after one period and his opponent accumulated 2:28 of riding time. Meredith chose top to open the second and nearly turned his foe twice, but did not score while erasing the riding time bonus. Flynn chose down to start the third and again, Meredith nearly turned his opponent, but Flynn scored a reversal and rode out Meredith for the final 15 seconds of the match for the win.

The Sun Devils lost at 197 when Thor Moen was pinned in 0:58 by No. 10 Eric Lapotsky before Imanibom Etukeren dropped a 16-7 major decision to No. 20 Nathan Fernandez in the heavyweight match.

ASU will return to action this Friday night as the Sun Devils face No. 9 Minnesota at 7 p.m. inside Wells Fargo Arena in Tempe.

#11 Oklahoma (14-0) defeats Arizona State (4-4), 36-7
Sunday, January 18, 2009 - at Wells Fargo Arena - Tempe
125 - #11 Joey Fio (OU) pinned #10 Anthony Robles, 4:08
133 - Brian Shelton (OU) major Angel Alegre, 13-1
141 - #6 Chris Drouin (AS) major Seth Vernon, 15-6
149 - #15 Kyle Terry (OU) pinned Vicente Varela, 4:40
157 - Chad Terry (OU) major Te Edwards, 13-4
165 - Kyle DeBerry (AS) decision Ryan Smith, 7-3
174 - #9 Jeff James (OU) decision Eric Starks, 4-2
184 - #19 Pat Flynn (OU) decision Jake Meredith, 4-0
197 - #10 Eric Lapotsky (OU) pinned Thor Moen, 0:58
285 - #20 Nathan Fernandez (OU) major Imanibom Etukeren, 16-7