ASU Faces In-State Rival Embry-Riddle at Home Sunday

Nov. 22, 2007

Sun Devil Mat Notes (pdf)

TEMPE, Ariz. - The Arizona State University wrestling team (4-0, 2-0 Pac-10) will play host to its first home dual of the season this weekend as the Eagles of Embry-Riddle (1-0) visit Wells Fargo Arena for a 2 p.m. contest on Sunday afternoon. The dual will be the first of seven home dates for the Sun Devils as they will face nine teams in duals inside the Valley of the Sun.

Fans can receive admission for $2 this weekend at the Sun Devils' dual with the Eagles by bringing in nonperishable canned food items. The donated food products will be donated to local food banks.

Over the weekend, the Sun Devils sent many of its wrestlers to the Keystone Classic in Philadelphia where the team placed fifth overall. In the event, seven different Sun Devils placed among the Top 6 in their respective weight classes, including four runner-up finishes. Anthony Robles (125), Chris Drouin (141), Brent Chriswell (184) and Jason Trulson (197) each placed second in the tournament while Orlando Jiminez (141) and Quinton Pruett (285) each finished fifth with Alex Pavlenko (157) taking sixth.

Despite taking second place in their respective weight classes, a pair of Sun Devils each recorded upset victories in the semifinal round at the Keystone Classic. Anthony Robles picked up the biggest win of the tournament as the unranked freshman scored an 18-14 decision over No. 8 Javier Maldanado of UT Chattanooga at 125 pounds. The second upset of the tournament came at 184 pounds where No. 19 Brent Chriswell upset Rider's No. 13 Doug Umbehauer, 4-2.

With an upset victory and second-place showing in his first tournament, Anthony Robles earned his first collegiate national ranking this week as three publications have placed him among the Top 20. In the NWCA/InterMat rankings, Robles is ranked No. 20 at 125 pounds while standing No. 16 in both the Amateur Wrestling News and W.I.N. polls.

Senior Patrick Pitsch, ranked No. 3 in the NWCA/InterMat individual rankings at 165 pounds, dropped a 4-0 decision to No. 2 Eric Tannenbaum of Michigan Monday evening at the NWCA All-Star Classic presented by the United States Marine Corps in Eugene, Ore. Tannenbaum scored on an escape and takedown in the second period and then a riding point in the third for the victory in the exhibition event held on the Oregon campus.

With his loss, Arizona State is now 10-13-1 all-time in the All-Star Classic. Pitsch was the 27th different Sun Devil to compete in the event.

Patrick Pitsch will blog each week throughout the season, offering fans a behind the scenes look at Sun Devil wrestling. To access The Inside Trip, visit the wrestling page on

Arizona State holds an all-time record of 28-17-0 in its first home dual of the season and won last year's opener, 38-12, over Portland State. The Sun Devils, which also beat this week's foe, Embry-Riddle, on the same day, 31-9, used the win to snap a two-opener losing streak.

The Sun Devils hold an all-time record of 7-0-0 against their intrastate rivals from Prescott, with all seven duals taking place in Tempe. Last year, Arizona State won 7-of-10 bouts to secure a 31-9 victory over Embry-Riddle.

With the addition of wrestling to the athletic department at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, the Sun Devils now have a second competitor hailing from the state of Arizona, joining Embry-Riddle. With duals against both ERAU and GCU this year, the Sun Devils will face two instate rivals in the same season for the first time since 1981 when Arizona and Northern Arizona each had teams. On February 18, 1981, the Sun Devils won, 34-12, at Arizona in what would be the final meeting in the series that ASU won, 28-8-0. Two days later, ASU hosted NAU and won, 43-6, inside Wells Fargo Arena. The Lumberjacks' program was discontinued in 1988 with ASU leading the all-time series, 17-1-0. Including the Sun Devils' 7-0-0 record against ERAU, ASU holds an all-time mark of 52-9-0 against teams from the Grand Canyon State.

Although ranked at different levels, a pair of bouts will feature two highly regarded wrestlers this Sunday. The first will come at 165 pounds where No. 3 in Division I Patrick Pitsch will face No. 1 in NAIA Hayden Harrison. The second bout, coming at 184 pounds, will be No. 16 Brent Chriswell against No. 6 Travous DeGroat for the Eagles.

A week after eight Sun Devils competed for the first time in the college ranks, four more added their names to the list with two, Orlando Jimenez (141) and Imanibom Etukeren (285), each winning at least once. While Etukeren went 1-2 and did not place at the Keystone Classic, Jimenez turned in a strong performance with a 4-2 record and fifth-place finish. After falling in his first bout, Jimenez won three in a rod, including a pin in 1:40 over the sixth-seeded wrestler in the event, Mark Savino of Brown. After falling to the eventual third-place finisher and second-seeded Kyle Borshoff of American, Jimenez capped his tournament run with a 13-2 major decision victory over Fred Rogers of Rider. So far this year, 11 newcomers have competed for ASU and carry a combined 29-18 record with 13 bonus points victories (four majors, three tech falls and six falls).

Arizona State scored four dual victories to open its 2007-08 season two weekends ago, all four of which came on the road. The Sun Devils opened the weekend with a 20-17 win at UC Davis before heading to the Portland State Duals where they won 45-6 over Pacific (Ore.), 30-7 over Southern Oregon and 36-9 over Portland State. The duals with the UCD Aggies and PSU Vikings were Pac-10 Conference contests giving ASU a 2-0 record in the league.

The Sun Devils have combined to win 55 bouts this year with nearly half of those victories producing bonus points. Of the 26 bonus point victories, Arizona State has won 11 by fall, seven by major decision, three by technical fall and added five forfeit victories.

Of those 11 wins by pin-fall, only three have come outside of the first period this year. Brent Chriswell (184) has recorded the fastest fall of the year as he pinned UC Davis' Jon Clark in just 33 seconds of his first match with the Sun Devils. At the Keystone Classic, Arizona State recorded four wins by fall, including three in the first two minutes of a bout.

Wrestlers are used to working hard in their seven-minute bouts, but three Sun Devils put in a little extra work over the weekend at the Keystone Classic with each competing in a lengthy bout. Imanibom Etukeren had the longest bout of the trio as he secured his first college win, 7-6, in the sixth sudden victory session, which roughly made the match last 18 minutes. Jake Cranford won his opening bout of the event in the fourth sudden victory period, 8-6, making his bout about 14 minutes. Kenny Lester picked up his win with a 3-1 decision in the third tie-breaker session, or about at 12 minutes.

While the team was in Philadelphia for the Keystone Classic, Kelsey Campbell was competing at the New York Athletic Club's Holiday Invitational, where she placed third in the 59kg (130 pounds) weight class. Campbell went 2-1 in the event, falling only to the eventual tournament runner-up in a 1-0, 0-1, 1-0 decision.

Despite its 4-0 start, the Sun Devils are not receiving vote in the national rankings this week, according to the USA Today/NWCA/InterMat Top 25 rankings (November 21). Individually in the InterMat/NWCA/NWMA rankings, four Sun Devils are listed among the Top 20 in their respective weight classes, including No. 3 Patrick Pitsch (165), No. 14 Jason Trulson (197), No. 18 Brent Chriswell (184) and No. 19 Anthony Robles (125).

In other individual rankings, Patrick Pitsch (165) is ranked No. 4 by Amateur Wrestling News and No. 3 by W.I.N. Magazine while Anthony Robles (125) is ranked No. 16 by both. Jason Trulson (197) and Brent Chriswell (184) are ranked No. 13 and No. 18, respectively, by W.I.N. and No. 17 and No. 16, respectively, by AWN.

The preseason rankings for the Pac-10 Conference were released by tournament host Oregon on November 12 and five Sun Devils have been selected to Top 5 placements. Patrick Pitsch, the two-time defending 165-pound champion, is No. 1 with Jason Trulson ranked No. 2 at 197 after finishing third last year. Rick Renzi (174) and Quinton Pruett (285) are both ranked No. 4 while Todd Schavrien (133) is No. 5. The next rankings are due out December 4.

This year, the Sun Devils have a first on their roster as Kelsey Campbell is the first woman to join the Arizona State program. A transfer from Pacific (Ore.), Campbell comes to Tempe after competing for the Boxers during the 2005-06 season and then representing the ASU Women's Club Team last year. During the 2006-07 season, Campbell competed in her first National Collegiate Women's Wrestling Championships and won the 63kg (138.5) national title as an unseeded competitor. In the event, she knocked off the No. 4, No. 1 and then No. 2 seeds on her way to her first tournament title.

Kelsey Campbell is currently ranked on a pair of national women's lists, including No. 1 at 59kg (130 pounds) in the Collegiate Women's Wrestling Association preseason rankings. She also is ranked No. 5 in's U.S. Senior Women's Rankings (May 2007).

Several former Sun Devils are currently ranked among the Top 10 in's U.S. Senior Freestyle Rankings, released November 2, as well as the Senior Greco-Roman Rankings, released May 16. In freestyle, current coaches Zach Roberson and Eric Larkin are ranked, standing third at 60kg (132) and sixth at 66kg (145.5), respectively, while former Sun Devil Danny Felix is currently ranked No. 6 at 55kg (121). In Greco-Roman, current Sun Devil Kenny Lester is ranked No. 9 at 120kg (264.5 pounds) while former Sun Devil Eric Albarracin is third at 55kg (121).

Over the summer, former Sun Devil Jeff Funicello competed in a trio of World Championship events in Antalya, Turkey, and brought home a bronze medal for the USA in beach wrestling at the 2007 FILA World Championships. Funicello also became the first Sun Devil to compete on the world stage in two newer events, including Sombo (seventh place) and grappling (did not place). His bronze medal is just the fourth World medal earned by a Sun Devil, following a gold (1991) and bronze (1995) by Zeke Jones and silver (1989) by Gary Bohay (Canada) in freestyle wrestling.

If the Arizona State roster appears to be filled with freshmen, there is a reason: it is. Of the 38 wrestlers on the roster this year, 24 are freshmen, making up 64 percent of the team. Of those 24 rookies, 12 are true freshmen while the other 12 redshirted last year.

Of the five remaining starters to open the season, all five saw action last year. Alex Pavlenko (157) has dropped down from 174 where he was a starter before the return of this year's starter, Rick Renzi (174). Patrick Pitsch (165) and Jason Trulson (197) both were the primary starter at their respective weights while Quinton Pruett (heavyweight) saw limited action at both 197 and heavyweight.

The Sun Devil roster is comprised of 38 student-athletes this year with nearly all four 'corner' of the continental United States represented. From Washington in the northwest to California and Arizona in the southwest to Florida in the southeast and as far northeast as New York, the 2007-08 roster has at least one wrestler from 14 different states. Arizona (13) and California (8) lead the way while multiple athletes hail from Washington (3), Nevada (2), New York (2) and Oregon (2). The remaining states represented include Colorado, Florida, Kansas, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas.

Five wrestlers that were in the starting lineup for much of last year are gone from the roster with four of those Sun Devils graduating. John Espinoza (125), Chris Remsen (149), Brian Stith (157) and Greg Gifford (184) all earned their degrees while 133-pound starter Shawn Jones left the University following his freshman year for his Morman mission.

Seniors Patrick Pitsch, Rick Renzi and Jason Trulson and junior Quinton Pruett have been selected as the team's captains for the 2007-08 season.

The 2007-08 season will see the Sun Devils compete in 17 duals, including nine home duals, and five tournaments. In the regular season, Arizona State will send competitors to the Keystone Classic (Philadelphia), Cliff Keen/Las Vegas Invitational and Reno Tournament of Champions, all of which come before the end of the December. Following 12 duals after the turn of the New Year, the Sun Devils will head to Eugene, Ore., for the 2007 Pac-10 Championships (March 2-3) and conclude the season at the 2007 NCAA Wrestling Championships (March 20-22).

Of those 17 duals on the Sun Devils' schedule this season, five teams are ranked among the national Top 25 according the November 12 USA Today/NWCA/InterMat poll. On the list are No. 2 Iowa State, No. 4 Iowa, No. 21 Oklahoma, No. 23 Penn and No. 24 Oregon State.

Senior Patrick Pitsch is the team's lone returning Pac-10 champion, having won the crown at 165 pounds each of the past two seasons. Last year, the No. 2 seed in the tournament opened the event with an 11-2 major over Evan Barbre (Cal Poly) before downing No. 3-seed Brian Perry (Stanford), 7-4. Pitsch closed out the tournament with a close 3-2 decision over top-seeded Dustin Noack (UC Davis) to defend his title. In 2006, Pitsch was seeded third and knocked off No. 6 Risto Marttinen (CS Fullerton), 11-3, No. 2 Ray Blake (Stanford), 4-1, and No. 5 Brian Busby (CS Bakersfield), 7-5, for his first crown. Pitsch will look to become only the 17th Sun Devil to win three conference crowns in a career and the 14th Sun Devil to win three Pac-10 titles in a career (ASU was in the WAC prior to the 1979 meet).

Wells Fargo Arena serves as the home of Arizona State's home wrestling duals, as well as basketball (men and women), women's gymnastics and women's volleyball. Opened in the spring of 1974, the 14,198-seat arena has been the home venue of some of the Sun Devil greats with all 16 Pac-10 team titles and one of the two Western Athletic Conference crowns attained by ASU. Since its opening, 57 Sun Devils have captured 109 individual conference titles while 67 different athletes have earned a total of 98 All-America honors. The Sun Devils stand 164-54-2 all-time inside Wells Fargo Arena (202-88-2 all-time at home). With its 36-3 defeat of Utah Valley State on January 10, 2005, ASU recorded its 150th victory at WFA.

The Sun Devils return to the road for their second tournament of the year as they are set to compete in the Clif Keen/Las Vegas Invitational, November 30-December 1 in Las Vegas.

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