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Wrestling finishes 2-2 at Northeast Duals

November 28, 2011

The Arizona State University wrestling team had its hands full on Saturday, competing in four separate duals at the Journeyman/Asics Northeast Duals in Troy, N.Y. The Sun Devils finished two on the day, defeating Army and upsetting No. 20 Penn while falling to No. 10 Lehigh and Binghamton at the McDonough Sports Complex at Hudson Valley Community College.  Levi Cooper was the story of the day, going 4-0 in his matches and upsetting the top-ranked and returning NCAA heavyweight champion Zach Rey of Lehigh, 5-1.  Recaps of all the day’s matchups are below.

ASU, 23 – ARMY, 15
The Sun Devils ripped off four consecutive victories after falling behind early against the Black Knights to secure the victory in the day’s opener, 23-15.   Trailing 15-7 through matchups, senior Eric Starks got the tables turning with a 9-2 decision at 174 pounds over Collin Wittmeyer to bring the score to 15-10.  Redshirt freshman Kevin Radford was up next at 184 pounds in his first ever collegiate competition and he didn’t disappoint, winning by decision over Will Brown that set up Tommy Burriel’s 14-1 major decision over Daniel Mills to put the Sun Devils back in the lead, 17-15.  Levi Cooper won the heavyweight match by pin in 3:41 over Curtis Garner to close out the match and help the Sun Devils improve to 3-0 in duals thus far the season.

#10 Lehigh, 24 ASU, 10
Shutout victories by redshirt freshmen Shane McGough (133) and Nathan Hoffer (141) put the Sun Devils up early against their first ranked opponent of the season in #10 Lehigh.  But despite Hoffer’s major decision over Jim Carucci, 10-0, the Sun Devils couldn’t match the Mountain Hawks’ depth in the middle- and heavyweights en route to a 24-10 defeat.  The Sun Devils certainly showed some potential with their own heavyweights with true freshman Kevin Radford hanging tough with the top-ranked Robert Hamlin, despite the 10-2 major decision that was the final score.  It was impressive as it was just Radford’s second career match.  Tommy Burriel also did not go quietly into the night against #8 Joe Kennedy at 197 pounds, coming just shy in a 3-2 decision.  It was the heavyweight bout that will likely have people talking as the week goes on as Levi Cooper notched a reversal and a near-fall in the third period to upset the top-ranked Zach Rey, 5-1, in one of the biggest early-season upsets this year.  Rey was the NCAA heavyweight champion last season and looked prime to repeat this year.  Cooper’s victory wasn’t enough for the Sun Devils, only bringing the final score to 24-10, but it was certainly a confidence booster for the returning All-American.  The Sun Devils dropped to 3-1 on the season in duals.

Binghamtom, 28 – ASU, 15
Knotted at six after another Hoffer victory, Binghamton ripped off three consecutive wins, starting with a major decision by #10 Donnie Vinson over Victor De Jesus at 149 pounds and followed by two pins at 157 and 165 put the Sun Devils down 22-6 early and the team was unable to make up the deficit despite a pin by Eric Starks in the 174 bout and Levi Cooper’s third victory of the day over Nick Gwiazdowski – regarded by many as the top heavyweight recruit in the country out of high school this year.   The team fell 28-15 and dropped to 3-2 on the season in dual meets.

ASU, 22 – Penn, 21*
The days most exciting match game in the nightcap as the Sun Devils squared off in a back-and-forth affair with the #20 Penn Quakers. After Nathan Hoffer’s fourth victory of the day put ASU up 6-3 after the 141 match, Penn reeled of three straight victories that included a Lorenzo Thomas pin on Hans Rasmusson to go up 15-6.  Eric Starks put the Sun Devils right back in it with a pin of Ian Korb at the 4:03 mark to make the score 15-12 before redshirt freshman Kevin Radford earned a 5-2 decision over Erich Smith at 184 pounds to knot the score at 15.  However, ASU was forced to forfeit the 197 pound bout to give Penn the 21-15 lead heading into the final matchup of the dual in the heavyweight match.  Arizona State’s only hope at the time was to tie and would require Levi Cooper to either pin or force his opponent to forfeit just to do that.   Cooper, the MVP of the day, didn’t disappoint though as he worked Penn’s Anthony DiLonardo as much as he could and was finally rewarded with a pin with only about 45 second left in the match to knot the dual at 21.  However, after the match DiLonardo through his head gear, garnering an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and costing the Quakers a point and giving the Sun Devils the dual victory in return with a final score of 22-21. 

The Sun Devils improved to 4-2 on the season in duals with the effort and earned their first victory over a ranked opponent since Jan. 15, 2006, when the team defeated ninth-ranked Missouri.  ASU will be back in action next weekend at the 30th Cliff Keen/Las Vegas Invitational on Dec. 2 and 3.   Results from the days action are below.