The Inside Trip - Behind the Scenes of ASU Wrestling with Patrick Pitsch

Nov. 26, 2007

Week Two (November 26) - ASU Downs Embry-Riddle, 35-9
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First, sorry for not having a report for all of you last week... it was hard with the team split as I went to the NWCA All-Star Classic in Oregon while the rest of the team went to Pennsylvania for the Keystone Classic, but I am back, healthy and hungry for the rest of the wrestling season. The all-star meet went well, but unfortunately, I lost 4-0. I gained some good food for thought for the next time I face my opponent.

Outside the wrestling room, the Sun Devils have also done some fun things as we went to Phoenix to play and hand out food to the kids from the Crossroads Youth Intervention program the day before Thanksgiving. The kids went nuts when we showed up. Running up on us like a pack of wolves, they jumped on us, basically mugging us for attention. It really makes you feel good when you can shed some light on these kids who maybe do not get to hang out with a bunch of college athletes for a night. We closed off the night handing dinner and dessert out to them. As we returned to the mats the next day, we prepared ourselves from our first home dual of the year against Embry-Riddle University.

Rounding out our first home match with a convincing win, the freshmen (or a new name I thought up for them is the 'new kids on the block') for the Sun Devils did well along with some help from the old-schoolers as ASU rolled through the weights. The night started with our seasoned veteran, senior Jason Trulson, getting us off on the right foot.

197: Jason used his superior top work to cinch his opponent up in a cradle for the pin. This is important for the team to see a big win to start the dual off on the right foot. It really gets everyone fired up for the rest of the matches. Way to start it off Jason!

HWT: A new face of the Devils, Imanibom Etukeren ('Iman' for short), made his home match debut with a decision win. He used his strength and positioning to cruise his way to victory. I liked how he used hand fakes and head pulls to keep his opponent off guard at all times. Iman also seemed to wizzer his opponent to the mat, defending a takedown while dislocating his opponents arm. Surprisingly, this was normal for his foe as he popped it back in and continued the match.

125: Again, Anthony 'I'm going to get your wrists' Robles took charge on the mat with a technical fall in the second to eliminate another victim while using his bone-crushing grip to tilt his opponent numerous times for victory.

133: Todd Schavrien opened his home match debut with some excitement. Todd had solid takedowns and turns on top to build his lead to what looked like a major decision in the making. His opponent was determined to gain some points back and, some how, magically slipped Todd into hypnosis as he threw him on his back for four points. As Todd snapped out of it, he escaped, but was then taken down. Todd put up the W, but was frustrated about his performance in the last period. Speaking from experience, I know how he felt. I have been there and its going to happen. It could have been first home match jitters or many other factors, but believe me, you did many things right and the score did not reflect how Todd picked apart his opponent.

141: Chris Druin also was in the same boat as Todd as he got off to a slow start, but managed the keep grinding away at the match for his first home meet victory. I was glad to see how Chris really kept attacking and looking for opportunities to score throughout the match. His 'go get'em' attitude is really going to payoff in the tougher matches as the season goes on.

149: Jerrad Trulson opened his first home victory with a dogfight of a match. Jerrad kept his head in the match the whole time looking for his chance to score and, when it was there, he took it, scoring key takedowns in the third period for victory. It really was great to see how he kept on his opponent after battling in the trenches the first two periods as his opponent wormed out of a few early takedowns, but Jerrad kept after him and managed to take what was his and beat his opponent with a few clutch takedowns.

157: Replacing Alex Pavlenko for the night, Jalonn Wilkins took the stage as he battled against an opponent who might have been a foot taller than Jalonn. Having this height factor really made it tough on the short, but stout Jalonn Wilkins. We like to call him 'Baby Bus' because he reminds us of the former fullback from the Steelers, Jerome 'The Bus' Bettis. Although Jalonn did not win the match, he battled through every position and kept after it. For his first go, Jalonn did an excellent job and will continue to grow as a wrestler as the year progresses.

165: I took to the mat with the attitude that I was going to destroy my opponent to show him what D-1 wrestling was all about. After battling for takedowns and trying to hold him down, I finally felt my opponent break late in the third after I took him down. I felt a calm come over his body and right then, I knew it was time to put him out of his misery of stepping on the mat with me as I rolled him over for the pin late in the third.

174: We forfeited this weight, keeping Rick Renzi fresh for the upcoming tournament. I know Rick was ready to wrestle, but this little break for him could be a blessing in disguise because next week, we will look for big things out of Ricky at the Las Vegas tournament.

184: Filling in for Brent Chriswell, Jake Cranford took to the mat for the last match of the evening. Giving the crowd a show, Jake showed his throwing ability as he double over hooked his opponent's arms and stepped in for the throw, taking his opponent from his feet straight to his back and gaining the pin.

As you can see, we have a scrappy group of wrestlers who work hard every day in the practice room to put on a show for our fans. You have to love the fight that our team has for the fans and each other. So, if you can make it out to see us for a match, you are in for some fireworks because every match is going to be great. I would also like to thank the support we had from the fans and parents. We had Todd Schavrien's dad out from Poway, Calif., and Chris Drouin's entire family out from Temecula, Calif. Thank you for coming to support us! And thanks for everyone else who came to the meet. It means a lot when we have great fans come to support us! Go Devils!

Until next time....keep the faith and watch out for the 'inside trip!'

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