Wrestling set for Midlands, Oklahoma State
The No. 24 Arizona State University wrestling team jumps back into action following the holiday break in a big way as the Sun Devils (3-1, 1-0 Pac-10) will send several individuals to compete in the prestigious Midlands Championships this week before playing host to No. 2 Oklahoma State (3-0, 1-0 Big 12) on January 2 in Tempe. Four individuals attached to ASU and five unattached individuals will compete in the Midlands event in Evanston, Ill., on Wednesday and Thursday (December 29-30) before ASU and OSU meet at 6 p.m. on Sunday (any other mentions of a different start are incorrect and 6 p.m. local is accurate) inside Wells Fargo Arena to open the 2011 slate of duals.
• ASU is currently ranked No. 24 (NWCA/USA Today Coaches Poll)
• Robles (#3) and Jenkins (#3) remained in the national Top 3 this week
• Robles won his second tournament (Reno) and is undefeated this year
• Robles won his 100th career match to capture the Reno title
• TheMat.com named Robles the Athlete of the Week following Reno
• Robles is dominating opponents so far this year (14-0, only two decisions)
• Cooper claimed the heavyweight title in Reno, winning his first collegiate title
• Starks rebounded from an opening loss to win seven in a row and take third
• Coach Askren getting back on the mat for a Super Match at Midlands
• Lots of ways to watch the Sun Devils vs. Cowboys on January 2
• ASU is 4-36-0 all-time against OSU and 4-11-0 in Tempe
IN THE RANKINGS - TEAM
The Sun Devils remained in the Top 25 this week in the NWCA/USA Today Coaches Top 25 Poll, holding steady at No. 24. Cornell remained the top-ranked team in the nation while fellow Pac-10 team Boise State (#7) and Oregon State (#13) 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 Oregon State, No. 14 Nebraska and No. 22 American.
IN THE RANKINGS - INDIVIDUAL
According to Amateur Wrestling News, three Sun Devils are ranked nationally, including No. 3 Anthony Robles (125), No. 4 Bubba Jenkins (157) and No. 20 Levi Cooper (heavyweight). The ranking for Cooper is the first of his career while Robles and Jenkins remained in the Top 4 since the start of the season.
WATCH IT LIVE!
While the Sun Devils and Cowboys would enjoy seeing you in the stands in Tempe on January 2, they understand not everyone can make it to the dual. So, the Internet has you covered... three times over. Here are the ways you can see the action as its happens on Sunday, all three of which are FREE to use:
• FS Arizona: Just like with the previous two home events and the remaining two after this weekend, FS Arizona will be on hand inside Wells Fargo Arena to broadcast the dual with Scott Powell once again on the call this week. To watch the free web cast, visit FoxSportsArizona.com and click on the banner at the top of the page.
• Takedown Radio: For the second time in as many years, Takedown Radio will be on hand to broadcast a Sun Devil home dual and, once again, Scott Casber will be on the call with former Sun Devil All-American G.T. Taylor assisting. Fans can visit LiveSportsVideo.com to watch the action and hear the calls from Casber and Taylor throughout the dual.
• FloWrestling.org: Flowrestling's Big Live Duals Series is quickly growing in popularity and features top college dual meets live for free each and every week. During the first semester, Flo streamed broadcasts for eight of the best college dual meets in the nation. Mark Bader will be on the call on the live video, which can be found here: http://www.flowrestling.org/videos/coverage/view/237797/live
Not only will the action be `visible' on three free video platforms on Sunday, but fans can also view the statistics as they happen thanks to the NWCA's Live Scorebook. Visit the schedule page on the wrestling page of thesundevils.com and click on Live Scorebook on the schedule page for ASU's dual with Oklahoma State. Click HERE for the stat feed.
Arizona State wrestling has joined forces with Special Olympics Arizona this year to help in their campaign to end the use of the r-word. As part of their partnership, five individuals from Special Olympics Arizona will be on hand Sunday to compete in a weight lifting exhibition mid-way through the dual between ASU and Oklahoma State. The five competitors include Marcus Santellan, Daniel Nemecek, Toan Tran, Matthew Herbert and Tony Stromsness. All five are actively involved in Special Olympics Arizona in various athletic events.
THE EVENT: MIDLANDS
The 48th Midlands Championships will take place at Welsh-Ryan Arena in Evanston, Ill., the home venue of Northwestern University, on Wednesday and Thursday. Some of the top individuals and teams in the nation will be on hand for one of the toughest and elite events held each year. The Sun Devils that will be on hand to compete include Josh Sandoval (125), David Prado (133), Luke Macchiaroli (197) and Michael Hawkins (285). Also competing, but unattached from ASU, will be Dalton Miller (125), Nathan Hoffer (149), Joel Smith (149), Bobby Bowman (174) and Kevin Radford (184).
SUPER MATCH: ASKREN vs. HERBERT
At the Midlands, two former NCAA champions will renew their rivalry as current assistant coach Ben Askren, the 2007 NCAA champion at 174 pounds, will face current Northwestern assistant coach Jake Herbert, the 2007 NCAA runner-up at 174 to Askren. The match, a six-minute modified folkstyle match (no riding time), will pit a pair of Team USA members against one another including 2008 Olympian Askren and two-time World Team Member Herbert. The match will be aired live on FloWrestling.org at 3:30 p.m. Central (2:30 p.m. Arizona).
SCOUTING: OKLAHOMA STATE
The Cowboys enter the weekend ranked No. 2 nationally and hold a 3-0 record (1-0 Big 12) with two wins over Top 10 opponents, a 17-16 road win at No. 3 Minnesota and a 22-12 win at home over No. 8 Oklahoma. Eight individuals are currently ranked in the Top 20 nationally, including No. 1 Jordan Oliver (133), No. 5 Clayton Foster (197), No. 7 Jon Morrison (125) and No. 8 Jamal Parks (149) in the Top 8 nationally.
THE SERIES: ASU vs. OSU
The Cowboys hold a 36-4-0 all-time record in the series and have won 14 in a row, including the last five in Tempe. Oklahoma State also leads the series, 11-4-0, when the dual is held in Tempe. Arizona State's last win in the series came on February 3, 1993, in a 24-20 decision in Tempe. OSU won last year's meeting, 21-9, in Stillwater, Okla. (November 20, 2009).
QUICK RECAP: RENO TOC
The last action the Sun Devils had before the holiday break was at the Reno Tournament of Champions in Reno, Nev., where the Sun Devils placed fourth overall as a team with four placers and two individual champions. Anthony Robles (125) remained perfect on the year and captured his second tournament title of the month while Levi Cooper, the lone unseeded wrestler to reach the final, won the heavyweight crown, the first of his career. Also placing for the Sun Devils were Eric Starks, who won seven matches in a row in the consolation rounds to take third at 174 pounds, and Bubba Jenkins, who took sixth at 157 pounds after medically forfeiting out for the tournament.
On the strength of another 5-0 tournament run, Anthony Robles remained undefeated on the year at 14-0 with just five of those victories not coming via technical fall (two decision, one major decision and two falls). Overall in his nine wins by technical fall, Robles has outscored his opponents 145-4 and when including the three other non-falls, Robles holds a scoring advantage of 173-9 this year. The program's record holder for career tech falls (32) and season tech falls (10), Robles is off to the best start of his career, surpassing the 10 in a row he opened last season with. For all of his accomplishments in Reno and the records he is setting at Arizona State, Robles was selected as TheMat.com Athlete of the Week (audio podcast with Robles is also available at that link).
With his title in Reno, Robles not only remained undefeated on the season, but he also collected the 100th victory of his stellar career, moving to 100-23 all-time at Arizona State. Ranked No. 23 on the program's all-time win list, Robles is three wins from moving into the Top 20 all-time with 103 wins, equalling Rod Severn, David Douglas and current head coach Shawn Charles for 19th all-time.
At the Las Vegas Invitational, heavyweight Levi Cooper was one win away from placing in the Top 8, missing out by one point. In Reno, Cooper made sure he placed and won all five of his matches to take his first collegiate title. Unseeded in the tournament, Cooper opened with a fall in 2:49 before winning four decisions in a row, including two over Pac-10 foes. In the final, Cooper took on Jeremy Johnson of Ohio, who was seeded fourth, and scored a 3-2 decision win for the crown. Cooper was the only unseeded wrestler to reach the final of a weight class in Reno.
STARKS BOUNCES BACK
In Reno, Eric Starks opened the tournament with a loss by fall (4:06) to Andre Petrosky of North Carolina. Despite the loss, Starks bounced back and ripped off seven wins in a row, including three bonus-point victories, to finish third overall at 174 pounds, his first tournament placement of the season. The closest match he had in the consolations was a three-point decision (10-7) before defeating Nick Purdue of Ohio, 6-1, in the third-place match.
TURNING THE CORNER
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.
A LITTLE REVENGE
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.
Following their time in Reno, the Sun Devils have won 27 matches by fall with five of those coming in one minute or less, including a pin in 31 seconds by David Prado (133). Overall, 19-of-27 falls have come in the first period of action with 13-of-19 coming within the first two minutes of the start of the match. Currently, Prado's pin in 31 seconds over Justin Solberg of North Dakota State in Reno stands as the fastest by a Sun Devil this season.
AHEAD OF THE PAC(-10)
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 earlier this season.
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.
BY THE NUMBERS: PAC-10 SUCCESS
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.
COPPER STATE COMPETITIONS
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 Feb. 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.
NEXT TIME OUT
Arizona State will mix dual competitions with tournament action next weekend as the Sun Devils travel to Hampton, Va., to take part in the Virginia Duals, January 7-8. The match-ups will be announced early next week and be based upon seeding derived from the latest national rankings.