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Wrestling ready for 2011-12 season with 11 additions


September 01, 2011

2011-12 Sun Devil Schedule

Back in March, the spotlight exploded on the Arizona State University wrestling program as both Anthony Robles (125) and Bubba Jenkins (157) captured individual NCAA titles for Head Coach Shawn Charles’ program, the Sun Devils finished sixth nationally as a team and had three All-Americans, including Levi Cooper (heavyweight). But, with September on the horizon and the team’s successful previous season finishing more than five months, the current Sun Devil roster is set to get back to work by building on the success found in 2010-11 and translate that into a continued resurgence in 2011-12.

With Cooper the lone returning All-American following the graduations of both Robles and Jenkins, the Sun Devils will rely on a youthful line-up in 2011-12 that will feature several redshirted freshmen that are already highly regarded nationally (that class was among the Top 10 recruiting classes last year) as well as several returning upperclassmen, including Pac-10 champion Jake Meredith (184) and fellow returning NCAA participants Eric Starks (174) and Luke Macchiaroli (197). While the upper weights appear to remain in tact from last year, the questions will come at the lightest weights this season.

Heading into the season, 11 newcomers have joined the program, including eight true freshmen and three transfers. Combined, this group collected three National Junior College (NJCAA) individual titles and 23 total state crowns. Transfers Victor De Jesus (Lowell, Mass./Iowa Lakes CC) was a two-time national champion at 149 while P.J. Starnes (Schaumburg, Ill./Harper College) won the 157 title last year. Add to that four-time state champions Kory DeBerry (Tucson, Ariz./Sunnyside HS) and Mat Malnoske (Anchorage, Alaska/East Anchorage HS) and three-time winners Jake Gentzler (Andover, Kan./Andover Central HS), Jacob Graham (Phoenix/Thunderbird HS) and Preston McCalmon (Lafayette, Ga./Lafayette HS), and the Sun Devils appear to have added yet another talented group that will look to help the program continue its push to return to the top of the Pac-12 Conference, as well as the NCAA standings.

Others in the newly added group include two-time state champions Lucio Murillo (Tucson, Ariz./Sunnyside HS) and Blake Stauffer (Neosho, Mo./Neosho HS), one-time champion Alex Schmersahl (Centralia, Mo./Centralia HS) and state finalist Hans Rasmusson (Jupiter, Fla./Eastern Michigan Univ.).

The wrestlers are not the only new additions to the program as Travis Pascoe, a former All-American at Nebraska during Charles’ days with the Huskers, and Robles, the 2011 NCAA Champion and three-time All-American for the Sun Devils, have joined the staff. Pascoe, who replaces Ben Askren, will work with the heavier weights in the room while Robles, who went undefeated in 2011 and earned the NWCA Outstanding Wrestler of the Tournament Award after his win at 125 pounds, will serve as a volunteer in the program.

Among the newcomers to the Sun Devil wrestling family this season will be a pair of young men that are part of a family tradition at ASU. Kory DeBerry will be a true freshman this year while his older brother, Kyle DeBerry, will look to earn a starting position in the middle-weights once again for his redshirt senior campaign. Jacob Graham, a local product, will become the third Graham to join the program as he follows his older brother Darius Graham (2008-09) and their uncle Tom Graham (1980-83) as members of the Sun Devil wrestling family.

Family relatives will not be the only reunions this season as former teammates also will be reunited at the next level. Kory DeBerry, who, like his brother Kyle, wrestled for his father at Sunnyside HS, will be on the same roster again with Lucio Murillo, who spent all four seasons at SHS with Kory. The second set of high school teammates that will appear on the ASU roster this year come from East Anchorage HS in Anchorage, Alaska, as Malnoske and Nathan Hoffer will reunite. Both men won four state titles each in their days at EAHS and will look to capture more titles for the Sun Devils during their times in Tempe.

The Sun Devils also will look to add more wrestlers to their roster through the try-out process. ASU students that are interested in trying-out for the team should see Assistant Coach Brian Stith in his office, which is located on the second floor of the Carson Student-Athlete Center (south end of Sun Devil Stadium) to begin the process. All forms must be completed, signatures obtained and returned to Stith not later than September 16 (purple form is available in Coach Stith’s office and takes several days to complete... all students wishing to try-out for the team should begin the process more than one week ahead of the deadline to assure all items are completed as failure to do so will disqualify a student from the try-out). The team’s season is set to get underway soon with conditioning and Hell Week, but the real action will begin on November 13 as intrastate rivals Grand Canyon (NCAA Division II) and Embry-Riddle (NJCAA) will visit Tempe for one dual each against the Sun Devils. Those two duals will cap the State of Arizona Wrestling Festival inside Wells Fargo Arena (check back later on thesundevils.com for more details).

Following that opening weekend against the Antelopes and Eagles, the Sun Devils will have four more home events, including the Sun Devil Duals on December 29 (vs. Boise State & vs. Nebraska) and single duals against Iowa State (January 3), Oregon State (January 8) and Stanford (February 5). While ASU will also compete at the Northeast Duals, the Cliff Keen/Las Vegas Invitational, the Reno Tournament of Champions, the Virginia Duals and in four road duals at Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Cal Poly and CS Bakersfield, the program will look to be ready to win the final two events of the season: the conference and national tournaments.

First up will be the inaugural Pac-12 Conference Championships that will be hosted by Boise State. That last time the Sun Devils traveled to Boise, Idaho, for the conference meet (2003), seven Sun Devils reached the final of their weight classes with six capturing crowns to lead the program to its 14th Pac-10 title by a 134-127 score over runner-up and host BSU. From there, ASU will look to send as many individuals as it can from the Pac-12 event to the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships, which will return to St. Louis, Mo., and the Scottrade Center, March 15-17.

2011-12 Newcomers to the Program
Kory DeBerry • 149/157 • Freshman • Tucson, Ariz. (Sunnyside HS)
Victor De Jesus • 149 • Junior • Lowell, Mass. (Iowa Lakes CC)
Jake Gentzler • 133 • Freshman • Andover, Kan. (Andover Central HS)
Jacob Graham • 174 • Freshman • Phoenix, Ariz. (Thunderbird HS)
Mat Malnoske • 149 • Freshman • Anchorage, Alaska (East Anchorage HS)
Preston McCalmon • 149 • Freshman • Lafayette, Ga. (Lafayette HS)
Lucio Murillo • 125 • Freshman • Tucson, Ariz. (Sunnyside HS)
Hans Rasmusson • 157 • RS-Freshman • Jupiter, Fla. (Eastern Michigan Univ.)
Alex Schmersahl • 141/149 • Centralia, Mo. (Centralia HS)
P.J. Starnes • 157 • RS-Junior • Schaumburg, Ill. (Harper College)
Blake Stauffer • 174 • Freshman • Neosho, Mo. (Neosho HS)

Quick Shots on Sun Devil Newcomers
Kory DeBerry • 149/157 • Freshman • Tucson, Ariz. (Sunnyside HS)
• Four-year starter for one of the state’s premier programs... captured four state titles... posted a 38-0 record as a senior en route to becoming just the 26th AIA Division I wrestler to win four state titles in a career... 2011 Dave Schultz High School Excellence Award winner for the state of Arizona... is the second DeBerry on the roster as he joins brother Kyle (senior) for the 2011-12 season... coached by his father, Robert.

Victor De Jesus • 149 • Junior • Lowell, Mass. (Iowa Lakes CC)
• Comes to Tempe after two seasons at Iowa Lakes Community College where he won a pair of national titles at 149 pounds... also was the 2010 and 2011 regional champion, finishing his career with a 44-8 overall record... went 117-23 in his prep career for Lowell High School... captured the Massachusetts state title as a senior... finished sixth at senior nationals as well.

Jake Gentzler • 133 • Freshman • Andover, Kan. (Andover Central HS)
• Reached the state final four times in his career and won the title three times for Andover Central High School... earned the state’s wrestler of the year honor for the 5A division as a senior... twice named the regional wrestler of the year... posted a career record of 148-11 in his four years on the mat for ACHS... competed in soccer all four years as well where he was a two-time all-conference selection.

Jacob Graham • 174 • Freshman • Phoenix, Ariz. (Thunderbird HS)
• Was a three-time Arizona state champion for Thunderbird High School... captured titles over his last three years at THS... went undefeated during his last two seasons to finish with a 127-7 career record... earned all-state honors in 2009, 2010 and 2011... high school All-American in 2010 and 2011... is the third Graham to join the Sun Devil program following his brother, Darius (2008-09), and their uncle Tom Graham (1980-83)

Mat Malnoske • 149 • Freshman • Anchorage, Alaska (East Anchorage HS)
• Captured four state titles for East Anchorage High School... finished sixth at the Reno Tournament of Champions... 2011 Dave Schultz High School Excellence Award winner for the state of Alaska... will be the second EAHS wrestler on the Sun Devil roster, joining Nathan Hoffer, who redshirted the 2010-11 season at ASU.

Preston McCalmon • 149 • Freshman • Lafayette, Ga. (Lafayette HS)
• Reached the Georgia state final all four years for Lafayette High School... won three state titles, including the last three seasons he competed (2009, 2010, 2011)... compiled a staggering career record of 198-21 while posting a 46-1 overall record as a senior... believed to be the first LHS wrestler to sign with an NCAA Division I program.

Lucio Murillo • 125 • Freshman • Tucson, Ariz. (Sunnyside HS)
• Was a four-year starter for Arizona power Sunnyside, reaching the state tournament final all four years... captured the state title in 2008 and 2009... collected several Outstanding Wrestler Awards throughout his career... won over 120 matches in his prep career under Robert DeBerry, who’s sons Kyle (senior) and Kory (freshman) both wrestler for ASU.

Hans Rasmusson • 157 • RS-Freshman • Jupiter, Fla. (Eastern Michigan Univ.)
• Comes to Tempe after one season at Eastern Michigan (Ypsilanti, Mich.), where he was 9-10 while reshirting his true freshman year... 7-of-9 wins came with bonus points, including three falls, two techs and two majors... four-time confernece champion for Jupiter High School... twice qualified for the state tournament and placed second in 2010... three-time district champion and two-time county champion... posted a career record of 169-32, setting JHS and country career win records.

Alex Schmersahl • 141/149 • Centralia, Mo. (Centralia HS)
• Was a two-sport standout for Centralia High School, advancing to the state title match in wrestling twice while also earning numerous awards as the football team’s quarterback... on the mat, took second in the state as a junior before winning his senior year... went 147-26 in his career, including a 48-0 record as a senior... also was fifth at state as a junior... second-team all-state at quarterback and was his conference’s offensive player of the year... all-district first-team at quarterback and all-district second-team at defensive back.

P.J. Starnes • 157 • RS-Junior • Schaumburg, Ill. (Harper College)
• Won the 2011 NJCAA title and was a two-time NJCAA All-American for Harper College... team captain and two-time MVP before earning his Associates in Art... wrestled four years for Schaumburg High School before graduating in 2008.

Blake Stauffer • 174 • Freshman • Neosho, Mo. (Neosho HS)
• Was a two-sport stand out for Neosho High School, starting in both wrestling and football... named the 2011 Missouri Wrestler of the Year... finished his career with a 193-9 record... two-time state champion after winning crowns as a junior (2010) and senior (2011)... took second at the 2011 FloNational Championships... earned academic all-state accolades three times in his career.