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Wrestling gains experience at Sunkist Kids International Open

October 27, 2009

Many current and former members of the Arizona State University wrestling program were on hand to compete in a pair of events over the weekend as the Sunkist Kids International Open and the USA Wrestling Grappling World Team Trials were held simultaneously in Phoenix. Fifteen current Sun Devils competed in the freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling events for their club team, Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club, while several others with ties to the program competed in the grappling and women’s freestyle events. In all, ASU athletes collected three grappling titles and five total medals, two Greco-Roman medals and one freestyle championship with two total medals, giving the program four titles and nine medals (Top 3 placements) overall.

The lone wrestling champion came in the women’s freestyle event as Kelsey Campbell, a silver medalist at the 2009 Pan-American Championships, went 4-0 to win the 59kg (130) division, defeating Deanna Rix, 1-0, 3-1, in the final. The other medal in freestyle came from Ben Askren, ASU wrestling’s Director of Operations, as the 2008 Olympian went 3-1 and dropped a close 2-1, 1-1, decision to Chris Pendelton in the final.

Eric Nye, who is ranked third in the latest USA Wrestling Greco-Roman rankings at 120kg (264.5), finished third overall in his division as he posted a 3-1 record to place the highest of any current Sun Devil competing. Kenny Lester finished sixth in the same division while Kyle DeBerry took sixth in the 74kg (163) freestyle division with a 2-3 record. In all, 13 current members of the program competed in the freestyle competition and will now turn their focus toward folkstyle (the high school and collegiate style) and the start of the collegiate season.

Several with ties to the program also competed in the grappling event and earned berths into the FILA World Grappling Championships that will be held in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., on December 11-13. Askren (no-gi 84kg), Jeff Funicello of American Pankration (gi 84kg, no-gi 84kg) and Lester (both gi and no-gi at 120kg and absolute) have qualified to compete for Team USA in two months. Askren, who has recently been fighting in MMA events, won four matches to claim the no-gi 84kg division, winning his first three matches with submissions and then taking the title with 6-0 decision over Jacob Volkmann.

Funicello was second in the 84kg gi competition to earn an automatic berth and was fourth in the no-gi division (could receive an at-large selection to the world event). Lester competed in four events and won two, including the 120kg and absolute gi divisions while placing third in no-gi 120kg and fourth in no-gi absolute. Another former heavyweight at ASU, Kellan Fluckiger, also competed in the no-gi 120kg division and placed fourth overall, which makes him a possible at-large selection to the world event as well.

The current Sun Devil squad will continue preparing for the start of their 2009-10 season by holding its Maroon and Gold Dual (wrestle-offs) on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. at the Riches Wrestling Complex on campus. The first duals of the season are just over two weeks away as the Sun Devils will travel to conference rivals UC Davis and CS Fullerton on November 13 and 15, respectively, to open the year.

2009 Sunkist Kids International Open
Saturday-Sunday, October 24-25
Phoenix, Ariz.
Greco-Roman - 74kg (163)
Orson Lor (SK) - DNP (0-2)

Greco Roman - 120kg (264.5)
Eric Nye (SK) - 3rd (3-1)
Kenny Lester (SK) - 6th (1-1)

Freestyle - 60kg (132.25)
Angel Alegre (SK) - dnp (0-2)
Travis Forster (SK) - dnp (0-2)
Kalin Goodsite (SK) - dnp (0-2)
Jake Hannaford (SK) - dnp (0-2)
Daniel Walker (SK) - dnp (1-2)

Freestyle - 66kg (145.5)
Vicente Varela (SK) - dnp (2-2)
Carlos Castro (SK) - dnp (0-2)
Wes Fimbrez (SK) - dnp (0-2)
Orlando Jimenez (SK) - dnp (0-2)

Freestyle - 74kg (163)
Kyle DeBerry (SK) - 6th (2-3)
Sergio Cortez (SK) - dnp (0-2)
Orson Lor (SK) - dnp (0-2)
Jerrad Trulson (SK) - dnp (0-2)

Freestyle - 84kg (185)
Ben Askren (SK) - 2nd (3-1)
Raymond Jordan (SK) - 4th (3-2)

Women’s Freestyle - 59kg (130)
Kelsey Campbell (SK) - Champion (4-0)

2009 USA Wrestling Grappling World Team Trials
Friday-Saturday, October 23-24
Phoenix, Ariz.
No Gi - 84kg (185)
Ben Askren (SK) - Champion (4-0)
Jeff Funicello (American Pankration) - 4th (2-2)

No Gi - 120kg (264.5)
Kenny Lester (SK) - 3rd
Kellan Fluckiger (SK) - 4th

No Gi - Absolute (Open)
Kenny Lester (SK) - 4th

Gi - 84kg (185)
Jeff Funicello (AP) - 2nd

Gi - 120kg (264.5)
Kenny Lester (SK) - Champion

Gi - Absolute (Open)
Kenny Lester (SK) - Champion