SUMMER NOTEBOOK: School's Back in Session & Action Continues

Aug. 28, 2009

TEMPE – Although classes are back in session this week, numerous things have been happening involving current and former members of the Arizona State University wrestling program, both over the past month and in the coming days, weeks and months. Here is a look back at the month of August, as well as many upcoming events:

SOCIAL NETWORKING - Recently, the Sun Devil coaching staff has been working on their social networking skills by creating, improving and updating pages on both Facebook and Twitter. The coaches are inviting all fans of the program to check out their two pages on Facebook, including the program’s official fan page, Sun Devil Wrestling, and the coaches’ page under Shawn Charles’ name. Both pages will be updated throughout the year with photos, video and updates on the progress of the Sun Devils. Speaking of updates, the coaches also will be ‘tweeting’ updates throughout the year and fans can follow those updates @ASUWrestling.

WE WANT YOU - While the Facebook and Twitter pages gives the program a chance to update everyone on what is going on, the Sun Devils are looking for you to update them on what you have been up to. When visiting the wrestling page on thesundevils.com, Sun Devil alumni, friends of the program and coaches (junior high school, high school and club teams) can click on their banner below the headlines area and fill out the form to keep in touch.

MARK IT DOWN - Speaking of updates, fans are encouraged to update their calendars by including the recently-released Sun Devil wrestling schedule that appears on thesundevils.com. ASU will host five home events this season, including a pair of duals with Top 5 teams from last year in Nebraska (Jan. 22) and Iowa State (Feb. 7). The Sun Devils will be taking on a tough schedule again this season as they will compete in the Las Vegas Invitational, the Reno Tournament of Champions, the NWCA National Duals and the Lone Star Duals. ASU also will once again face a pair of intrastate foes this season by hosting Grand Canyon (Nov. 29) and traveling to Prescott to take on Embry-Riddle (Jan. 24). All ASU students are encouraged to come out and support the Devils by making Wells Fargo Arena one of the loudest venues in the nation and, as always, students with their university identification cards get into the duals FREE! For a full schedule for the season, visit the wrestling page at thesundevils.com.

GOING GLOBAL - In just under one month from now, two former Sun Devils will be in Herning, Denmark, as members of Team USA to participate in the 2009 World Wrestling Championships. The event, which will run September 21-27, will see Danny Felix compete for the U.S. in the 55kg freestyle division while Zeke Jones will once again coach the men’s freestyle team. Felix, the 2009 U.S. World Team Trials Champion, will be competing in his first world championships event with all rounds of his weight class being held on the first day (Sept. 21). The elimination and repechage rounds will be held in the morning before the opening ceremonies with the finals taking place that night. While Felix will be in his first world event, Jones will be serving as a coach for the second time (2001) after competing in seven world tournaments, including 1991, when he won gold and in 1995 when he was third. Felix will be the eighth different Sun Devil to compete at the world event and the first since 1997 when Jones, Dan Henderson and Dan St. John all took on the world. The list of Team USA members with ties to the ASU program that have participated in the World Championship include Bobby Douglas, Rob Eiter, Henderson, Jones, Billy Rosado (bronze in 1995 at 118 FS), Townsend Saunders, Dan Severn, St. John and now Felix. Of those nine, Douglas and Jones both have competed and coached for the U.S. while Saunders’ lone appearance was as a coach (2003, women’s freestyle).

HITTING THE BEACH - While the summer might be over for the current Sun Devils, one former wrestler is headed to the beach this weekend to compete for the U.S. Jeff Funicello, for the third year in a row, will be representing Team USA at the World Beach Championships, which will be held August 30 in Obzor, Bulgaria. Funicello, the runner-up at the USA Team Trials in July, is the only American that has earned a medal at both of the previous world events as he took home bronze from both the 2007 and 2008 international events. He will once again compete in the lower of the two weight classes (under 85kg/187.5 pounds) and will try to become the first American to earn gold in the sand.

BRONZE IN POLAND - Leading up to the World Wrestling Championships, Team USA and several other non-team members traveled ‘across the pond’ to train and compete in international events. On August 14, the Poland Open wrapped up it’s two-day event where three American women captured medals, one of which was Kelsey Campbell, who took the bronze medal at 59kg (130 lbs.). A two-year member of the program, Campbell was the lone American to medal on the final day of competition by winning her first two matches, dropping the third, and then winning another two for the bronze finish. With her 4-1 record, Campbell also helped the U.S. collect 28 points, which was good enough to finish fifth (out of 24) in the team standings. Russia won with 68 points.

IN THE CAGE - Over the next two months, four former ASU wrestlers will be stepping back inside the octagon to fight on one of three UFC cards. Up first will be Aaron Simpson this Saturday night in Portland, Ore., where the ‘A-Train’, who is 5-0 in his MMA career, will take on Ed Herman in a middleweight (185 pounds) contest as part of UFC 102. September 16 will see C.B. Dollaway step into the octagon live on Spike TV as ‘The Doberman’ (9-3) faces Dan Miller in a middleweight fight as part of UFC Fight Night from Oklahoma City. The big card, however, comes on October 24 in Los Angeles where both Ryan Bader and Cain Velasquez will be part of the UFC 104 card. ‘Darth’ Bader (9-0) will meet Eric Shafer in a light heavyweight (205) fight on the undercard before Velasquez (6-0) takes on Ben Rothwell in a heavyweight battle.

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