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Wrestling closes dual against Stanford

February 12, 2010

The regular season comes to a close this weekend for the Arizona State University wrestling team as the Sun Devils (8-7-0, 3-2-0 Pac-10) play host to visiting Stanford (9-7-1, 1-3-1 Pac-10) in the final dual of the year. The Sun Devils will look to halt a three-dual losing streak and end the dual schedule with its fourth conference victory of the year before heading to Davis, Calif., at the end of the month to compete in the 2010 Pac-10 Wrestling Championships.

Senior day
On Sunday, the Sun Devil program will honor three of its own by recognizing seniors Wes Fimbrez, Jake Hannaford and Erik Nye at the final home event of the season. Fimbrez (Phoenix, Ariz./Dysart HS) joined the program and redshirted during the 2005-06 season before leaving the team and then returned this season. Hannaford (Los Alamitos, Calif./Los Alamitos HS) also redshirted his first year with the team in 2005-06 before competing once in the 2006-07 season and returning this year. Nye joined the program last year and went 3-2 at the onset of the season and currently stands 19-10 this year while being ranked No. 15 nationally at heavyweight.

Weekly honor
Anthony Robles was selected as the ASU Male Athlete of the Week following an impressive come-from-behind victory over No. 5 Andrew Long of Iowa State last Sunday. Ranked No. 3 in the nation at 125 pounds, Robles found himself trailing 10-3 at the end of two periods on Sunday against Long before turning things around in a big way. With the choice of starting positions for the final stanza, Robles chose top and fought Long back to the mat before locking him up and turning him three times for three points each turn to erase a seven-point deficit with nine points of his own for a 12-10 win. The win was his 10th in a row and raised his record to 24-2 overall this season and a perfect 15-0 in duals.

National coverage
Speaking of Robles, Craig Sesker of USA Wrestling caught up with the highly-ranked Sun Devil this week and wrote this article:

Nationally known
For the second week in a row, the Sun Devils are not among the Top 25 team in the NWCA/USA Today Division I Team Coaches Poll that was released on Tuesday, but they are one of four teams receiving votes, placing them just outside the Top 25. During the 2009-10 campaign, the Sun Devils faced a total of seven teams that were ranked nationally at the time of the dual and all seven are currently still ranked in the Top 25, including: No. 2 Iowa State, No. 3 Ohio State, No. 4 Oklahoma State, No. 8 Oklahoma, No. 14 Oregon State, No. 15 Wisconsin and No. 19 Cal Poly.

Individually ranked
Three Sun Devils are currently ranked nationally this week with Anthony Robles leading the way as he remained No. 3 at 125 pounds according to Amateur Wrestling News. The same ranking service has heavyweight Erik Nye at No. 15 and Chris Drouin at No. 17 (141).

NCAA rankings
The NCAA released its second set of Top 33 rankings on February 12 which continues the process of selecting the 33 student-athletes that will compete in each weight class at the national championship event in March. The rankings are based upon the vote of coaches in each of the qualifying conference/regional tournaments and will be combined with a wrestler's winning percentage and RPI to determine the number of qualifiers to the national tournament from each qualifying tournament (if three are in the Top 33 from the Pac-10 at 125 before the Pac-10 Championships, then the conference will send three to the NCAA Championships at that weight class). In the recent release of the rankings, ASU has five individuals ranked in the Top 33, including No. 4 Anthony Robles (125), No. 27 Ben Ashmore (133), No. 13 Chris Drouin (141), No. 31 Jake Meredith (184) and No. 18 Erik Nye (heavyweight).

With the recent release of the Top 33 rankings, the NCAA also released the Top 33 RPI in each weight class with five Sun Devils standing among the Top 17 in their respective weight classes, including Anthony Robles, who is second at 125. The four others ranked in the Top 33 RPI include No. 17 Ben Ashmore (133), No. 11 Chris Drouin (141), No. 10 Vicente Varela (149) and No. 16 Erik Nye (heavyweight).

Tough sledding
Looking at the RPI lists, it is no wonder why any of those Sun Devils listed as all five of those wrestlers have faced at least seven opponents this year ranked in the Top 20 at the time of their matches. Although Vicente Varela is 0-9 on the year against Top 20 foes, he shot up the rankings as he has lost only once to a non-Top 20 foe (18-10 on the year) and has lost close matches to the then-ranked No. 2, No. 2, No. 3, No. 5 and No. 8 individuals. Both of Anthony Robles' losses (24-2 on the year) are to Top 7 wrestlers while Chris Drouin (17-9) is 6-6 against Top 20 foes this year that also includes a win over the No. 1 wrestler at the time.

Pac-10 rankings
UC Davis, the host of the 2010 Pac-10 Conference Wrestling Championships, has released another round of rankings for the conference with three individuals ranked in the Top 3, including No. 1 Anthony Robles (125), No. 3 Vicente Varela (149) and No. 3 Eirk Nye (heavyweight). Five others are ranked in the Top 5, including No. 4 Kyle DeBerry (165), No. 4 Eric Starks (174), No. 5 Ben Ashmore (133), No. 5 Te Edwards (157) and No. 5 Jake Meredith (184). The final two rankings are No. 6 Chris Drouin (141) and No. 8 Michael Hawkins (197).

Robles' rule
In his third year of competition for the Sun Devils, Anthony Robles have found great success against foes in the Pac-10 Conference as he has built a 29-3 all-time record, including a 7-0 mark this year, while standing 18-0 all-time (5-0 this year) in duals. Of those 29 wins, 27 have produced bonus points, including five major decisions, 11 technical falls, eight falls and three forfeit wins. His only two wins not to produce bonus points were a 7-5 decision over Marcus Orozco (UC Davis) in Robles' first collegiate match (2007-08) and an 8-3 decision over Jake Gonzales (Oregon State) last year in Corvallis. Robles also has won 19 in a row against Pac-10 foes with his last loss coming to No. 4 Tanner Gardner (Stanford), 5-3 sv, in the Round of 12 at the 2008 NCAA Championships. Gardner won 7-6 in the Pac-10 final two weeks earlier and No. 16 Boris Novachkov (Cal Poly) defeated Robles, 4-3, in the quarterfinals of the 2007 Reno Tournament of Champions for his only other loss.

Opponenet info: Stanford
The Cardinal enter the weekend with a 9-7-1 overall record and stand 1-3-1 in the Pac-10. Stanford, who faces CS Bakersfield on Friday night, is on a two-match unbeaten streak in the Pac-10 with its 20-16 win at UC Davis last weekend and a 20-20 tie with CS Fullerton one week prior to that. Three Cardinal are currently ranked in the Top 20 according to Amateur Wrestling News, including No. 13 Zack Giesen at 184 (25-4 on the year), No. 16 Nick Amuchastegui at 165 (25-4) and No. 20 Lucas Espericueta at 157 (16-6).

In the series: Stanford
Arizona State holds a 7-2-0 all-time lead in the series, but has dropped each of the last two, including a close 20-19 decision last year at Stanford and a 28-16 decision at home in 2008. The Sun Devils are 2-1-0 all-time against the Cardinal when the dual is held in Tempe, including wins of 32-12 and 30-15 in 2004 and 2006, respectively. The renewal of the series began recently with a dual in the 2003-04 season after ASU went 3-0 against SU from 1983-86.

Pac-10 prosperity
With a 3-2-0 record against Pac-10 foes this 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, ASU holds an 85-23-1 record. When counting in the other schools that no longer compete, ASU is 126-23-1 against 17 teams during that time.

By the numbers: Pac-10 success
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 1979.

Recap: Iowa State
The dual opened at 125 pounds and featured a highly-anticipated meeting between No. 3 Robles and No. 5 Andrew Long that did not disappoint. Both men worked for position in the first period before Long was credited with a takedown and worked for the fall before being awarded three near-fall points and a 5-0 lead. The lead became 6-2 at the end of the first as Robles reversed his foe and Long escaped. Long chose neutral to open the second and added four more points with a takedown and two near-fall before Robles escaped to make it 10-3. Robles, however, responded in the third as he chose top and flipped Long over for three near-fall points on three occasions in the stanza, going from seven points down to two points ahead at the end of the match. The Sun Devils, holding a 3-0 lead, lost the next match as No. 8 Nick Fanthorpe scored a 12-3 major decision over Ben Ashmore at 133 pounds to put the Cyclones on top, 4-3. But, the Sun Devils responded at 141 as No. 18 Drouin won by major decision to put ASU back on top, 7-4. In his meeting with No. 12 Dalton Jensen, Drouin took a 2-0 lead after the first period as he shot in and scored on a takedown and rode Jensen out. Drouin then chose neutral to start the second and scored on a pair of takedowns while Jensen escaped once to make it 6-1. Jensen chose top in the third, but Drouin escaped before taking Jensen down again and adding one point for riding time to win, 10-1. With a win at 149 pounds, ISU tied the match as No. 8 Mitch Mueller escaped with a close 3-2 decision over Vicente Varela. After a scoreless first, Varela chose down and escaped to open the second for a 1-0 lead. Mueller did the same to start the third, but scored on a takedown to make it 3-1 before Varela escaped. The Sun Devil took several shots in the closing seconds, but could not get the points for the upset to bring the score to 7-7. That win also marked the first of four in a row for the visitors as No. 17 Andrew Sorenson pinned Michael Swigart in 1:53 of the 157 pounds match; No. 3 Jon Reader won a 15-0 technical fall over Kyle DeBerry at 165; and Duke Burk scored a 7-2 decision over Eric Starks to give ISU a 21-7 lead. ASU picked up its final win of the day at 184 pounds with a very wild finish as Meredith took a 3-2 decision to upset No. 7 Jerome Ward. After a scoreless first period, Meredith chose bottom and escaped to make it 1-0. Meredith received one point on a second stall warning call on Ward just as the Cyclone took down Meredith to tie the score at 2-2 at the end of the second. Ward chose down to start the third and Meredith began to ride his opponent, taking away Ward's riding time bonus and nearly scoring two points on a near-fall count that was one count short. Still tied at 2-2 and with Meredith still looking for the turn, the referee called stalling on Ward once again and awarded Meredith a second penalty point with under 10 seconds remaining to put Meredith on top, 3-2. ISU won the final two matches of the day, including No. 1 Jake Varner winning by forfeit at 197 and No. 3 Dave Zambriskie scoring a 4-1 decision over ASU's No. 14 Erik Nye.

Copper State showdowns
For the third year in a row, the Sun Devils will wrestled two schools hailing from the state of Arizona, which, prior to the 2007-08 season, had not happened since 1981 when ASU won, 34-12, at Arizona and 43-6 at home against Northern Arizona. The Sun Devils won both meetings this year, including a 39-16 victory over Grand Canyon and 41-4 over Embry-Riddle. The dual with ERAU was to be in Prescott, but moved to Tempe because Nebraska was unable to come to Tempe. Has ASU traveled to face the Eagles, it would have been the program's second road dual against another Arizona school since 1993. In that 16 year span, the Sun Devils wrestled another Arizona school 13 times (13-0), defeating Embry-Riddle 10 times and Grand Canyon three times. Overall, the Sun Devils stand 57-9-0 all-time against teams from the state of Arizona, including 10-0-0 against ERAU and 3-0-0 against GCU, the lone remaining programs in the state.

At the Lone Star Duals (January 16), the Sun Devils won three duals in convincing fashion to not only snap a two-dual losing streak by starting a three-dual winning streak, but also bringing the program's all-time win total to 475. The milestone win came in the final of the three duals as Arizona State won 7-of-10 weight classes to score a 27-15 defeat of Utah Valley. The last time the team recorded a milestone victory was No. 450, a 31-16 defeat of Liberty at the Virginia Duals on January 13, 2007. With the recent win over Embry-Riddle, the Sun Devils are now 476-273-13 all-time as a varsity program.

Tied for third
With the Sun Devils' 41-4 defeat of Embry-Riddle, the team moved to 8-4-0 on the year and pushed head coach Shawn Charles into a tie for third for the most wins in a debut season of coaching the program. Lee Roy Smith (1992-93) leads the way with 12 wins (ASU would have to sweep its remaining four duals for Charles to tie) while both Ted Bredehoft (1962-63) and Thom Ortiz (2001-02) are tied for second with nine wins in their first season. Charles is currently tied with his collegiate coach, Bobby Douglas, who's team won eight duals in 1974-75.

Points o-plenty
The 41 points put up by the Sun Devils were the most since a 41-6 win at Grand Canyon on January 3, 2009, and came with seven wins by the Sun Devils that produced bonus points, including five that scored six points each for the team. Arizona State won by fall four times, including Anthony Robles at 125 (1:51), Ben Ashmore at 141 (1:50), Eric Starks at 184 (4:18) and Erik Nye at heavyweight (1:13) while Michael Hawkins won at 197 by forfeit. Vicente Varela and Kyle DeBerry added wins by major decision at 157 and 184, respectively, while Jake Hannaford added three more team points with his decision win at 149.

Out of place?
Looking at the results from the Embry-Riddle dual, you can notice that most of the Sun Devils moved up one weight, which was done to help ERAU as they were a late replacement for the dual that night. Competing outside of their normal weights (but still making weight at their normal weight classes) were Ben Ashmore (up to 141 from 133), Vicente Varela (up to 157 from 149), Te Edwards (up to 165 from 157), Kyle DeBerry (up to 174 from 165) and Eric Starks (up to 184 from 174).

Littles going strong
The Sun Devils in the four lightest weight classes have opened the 2010 calendar year a very strong showing as the group of Robles (125), Ashmore (133), Drouin (141) and Varela (149) have combined to go 24-10 while leading the team to a 5-5 dual record. Robles led the way with a perfect 10-0 record while Ashmore and Varela each have gone 5-5 and Drouin 5-4 overall. Of those 24 combined wins, the four men have won 19 with bonus points, including seven by fall, two by technical fall and nine by major decision (one forfeit win as well). One of the decision victories was huge as well as Drouin knocked off then-undefeated and No. 1 Reese Humphrey (Ohio State), 3-1 in sudden victory, at the National Duals. Also, when looking at the six losses, four came to foes ranked in the national Top 8, including both losses for Varlea, who dropped matches to the No. 2 and No. 3 wrestlers at 149 at the NWCA National Duals.

Taking down the top
At the NWCA National Duals, Chris Drouin did something that no one else had done this year and that was defeat Reese Humphrey of Ohio State, who entered the match at 141 pounds as the top-ranked wrestler in the nation and undefeated at 18-0. Despite pushing the action throughout the match, Drouin's lone score came in the third period on an escape just as Humphrey had done in the second period. With a distinct advantage in shots and offensive moves, Drouin continued to push, but no scoring took place and the match went into overtime. In the one-minute period, Drouin again stalked Humphrey and eventually blasted through on a double-leg attempt and finished the shot with two points for the takedown and a 3-1 win.

See you next year
Four individuals have signed National Letters of Intent to continue their education and compete for the wrestling program at Arizona State upon completion of their high school careers. The soon-to-be Sun Devils include Louis Trujillo of Rio Rancho, N.M.; Nathan Hoffer of Anchorage, Alaska; Joel Smith of Collins Hill, Ga.; and local product Shane McGough of Scottsdale. According to InterMat, three of those signees are ranked among the Top 100 recruits this season, including Trujillo, who enters his senior season ranked as the No. 27 recruit and No. 4 at 135 pounds. Hoffer is the No. 66 recruit and No. 5 at 140 pounds while Smith is the No. 82 recruit and No. 9 at 140 pounds. McGough, although not ranked among the Top 100 recruits, enters the season ranked No. 9 nationally at 130 pounds and is one of the top wrestlers in the state.

Taking notice
With four strong recruits signed, head coach Shawn Charles' 2010 recruiting class is already being lauded as one of the best in the nation as InterMat has pegged it as the No. 10 class in the nation following the early signing period. The schools ahead of the Sun Devils include No. 1 Iowa, No. 2 Northwestern, No. 3 Iowa State, No. 4 Penn State, No. 5 Cornell, No. 6 Cal Poly, No. 7 Minnesota, No. 8 Missouri and No. 9 Ohio State.

Away from the team
Here are some other things happening involving former members of the program:
• In the world of mixed martial arts (MMA), four former Sun Devil wrestlers have found out who, when and where their next fights will be in the UFC with three making the trip to Australia for the UFC's first event 'down under'. On February 20, in Sydney, Australia, three Sun Devils will fight in UFC 110 with Cain Velasquez (7-0) and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (32-5-1) fighting in the main event. Ryan Bader (11-0) will meet Keith Jardine (14-7-1) in a light heavyweight fight while C.B. Dollaway also will fight in the middleweight division against Goran Reljic (8-0). Recently (January 11), Aaron Simpson remained undefeated (7-0) as he won a split decision with Tom Lawlor (6-2) at UFC Fight Night in Fairfax, Va.
• Former Sun Devil Kelsey Campbell recently competed at the Ivan Yarygin Memorial International in Krasnoyarsk, Russia, over the weekend and brought home the gold medal at 59kg (130 pounds) in an annual event widely considered one of the toughest in the world. Campbell, a 2009 U.S. National Champion and runner-up at the 2009 World Team Trials, went 4-0 in the freestyle tournament and defeated Natalya Smimova (Russia), 0-1, 1-0, 1-0, in the championship match. For her outstanding effort, she was also named this week's Athlete of the Week.
• Dave Schultz Success: four individuals with ties to the Sun Devil program were in action last weekend at the Dave Schultz Memorial with the team's Director of Operations Ben Askren bringing home the gold as he took the 74kg freestyle title by pinning Trent Paulson in the final. Volunteer coach Raymond Jordan took second at 84kg, falling in the final to Chris Pendelton, 5-2, 3-1 while former letterwinner Danny Felix took third at 55kg. Kelsey Campbell took fourth in the women's 59kg freestyle competition after just having returned from Russia (see previous note).

Get connected, stay connected
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.

Do we know you?
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.

Next time out
The Sun Devils will be off from competition as they prepare to bring home their 17th title as they travel to Davis, Calif., for the 2010 Pac-10 Wrestling Championships. The tournament, also used to select the individuals that will compete in the NCAA Wrestling Championships, will be held on the UC Davis campus on Friday-Saturday, Feb. 26-27.