ASU Wrestling Set to Host 2008 Sun Devils Duals Sunday

Jan. 3, 2008

Sun Devil Mat Notes (pdf)

TEMPE, Ariz. - Looking to remain undefeated in dual competition, the Arizona State University wrestling team (5-0, 2-0 Pac-10) will resume it's 2007-08 campaign following the holiday break by playing host to the 2008 Sun Devil Duals starting at noon Sunday inside Wells Fargo Arena. The Sun Devils are off to their best start since the 1992-93 team opened the year 6-0-0 and will welcome Army (4-2), Grand Canyon (0-5-1) and No. 23 Pennsylvania (1-0) to Tempe this weekend. All three teams will face one another with duals set for noon, 1:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. ASU also will be honoring the program's alumni in attendance during the Duals, including the members of the 1988 NCAA Championship team, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary.

Wells Fargo Arena will have a pair of mats on the floor Sunday as two duals will be held simultaneously. At noon, the Sun Devils and Army Black Knights will meet while the Penn Quakers and Grand Canyon Antelopes face one another on the second mat. At 1:30 p.m., it will be a battle of Arizona with the Devils and 'Lopes meeting on one mat while the East Coast battle of Army vs. Penn will take place on the second mat. In the 3 p.m. finale, it will be former teammates colliding as Thom Ortiz' Sun Devils face Zeke Jones' Quakers while Army and GCU square off on the second mat.

Since it is Alumni Weekend, several other events are planned as well. On Saturday (January 5), the program will conduct its first Alumni Golf Outing, opening with a shotgun start at 12:30 p.m. at ASU's Karsten Golf Course. The outing, which is open the public to participate (see for more information), will be followed by a fajita dinner at the course. The next day, at the Sun Devil Duals, all alumni in attendance will be honored on the mats during the Duals with a separate presentation taking place to honor the 1988 NCAA Championship team.

On Thursday, Anthony Robles taped an interview with ESPN's First Take, which airs on ESPN2 daily between 10 a.m. and noon EST (8 a.m.-10 a.m. Arizona). Although the specific time the segment with the Sun Devil wrestler will air is unknown, fans can look for the interview to be shown either Tuesday or Wednesday. More information, once it is known, will be placed on

Heading into the 1987-88 season, nine different Division I schools had captured the national wrestling title with none of those schools hailing further west than the state of Oklahoma. That season, coach Bobby Douglas' Sun Devils put together an impressive 17-2 dual record, falling only to defending national champion Iowa State (20-19) and Oklahoma State (22-16). When the postseason came, the Sun Devils captured their fourth Pac-10 title in a row and moved onto the NCAA Championships in Ames, Iowa, where seven Sun Devils earned All-America honors and stunned the wrestling community by winning the national team title, scoring 93 points to runner-up Iowa's 85.5. That day, Mike Davies led the way with his runner-up finish at 190 while Chip Park (126), Dan St. John (158) and Jim Gressley (167) each took third. Current ASU head coach Thom Ortiz (142) placed fourth, Rod Severn (HWT) took fifth and current Penn head coach Zeke Jones (118) finished sixth. Twenty years later, that Sun Devil team holds a historic distinction as being the lone western school to win the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships.

While many former Sun Devil wrestlers will be on hand this weekend, one in particular might stand out taller, especially in this day of the growing popularity of mixed martial arts (MMA). Dan Severn, known throughout the UFC and MMA circles as the 'The Beast', will be on hand inside Wells Fargo Arena Sunday, sporting his championship belts. The UFC Hall of Famer and ASU Sports Hall of Famer was a two-time All-American for the Sun Devils and a three-time conference champion (one WAC and two Pac-10 titles) in the late 70's and early 80's. The only Triple Crown winner in UFC history, Severn started his MMA career in 1994 and has competed ever since (including a unanimous decision victory in November). He holds a career MMA record of 80-15-7.

With a chance to win three duals this weekend, the 2007-08 Sun Devils could join an elite group if they can improve to 8-0 following the Sun Devil Duals on Sunday. With a sweep, Arizona State would be off to its best dual start since the 1988-89 team opened at 8-0 before a tie and a loss followed. The 1989-90 team opened the year 9-0 before a tie and a loss followed while the 1975-76 team holds the best start in program history as it went 15-0. If the team does improve to 8-0, it would mark the third time current head coach Thom Ortiz has been a part of a perfect start as he was a competitor on the 1988-89 and 1989-90 squads.

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 (Prescott). 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' 8-0-0 record against ERAU (after winning, 35-9, on November 25), ASU holds an all-time mark of 53-9-0 against teams from the Grand Canyon State.

Arizona State carries a combined 2-0-0 record all-time against its three opponents this weekend with both victories coming against Penn (the meetings with Grand Canyon and Army will be the first for ASU). The last meeting between the Sun Devils and Quakers came on February 9, 2001, with ASU taking a 25-13 victory in Tempe. The Sun Devils won the first meeting, 22-16, on January 22, 2000, as part of the NWCA National Duals held at Penn State (State College, Pa.).

For being on opposite sides of the nation, Arizona State and Penn have seen a lot of each other this year. At Penn's Keystone Classic (November 18), 10 different Sun Devils had one match with a Quaker opponent, posting a 4-6 record with wins by Anthony Robles (125), Chris Drouin (141), Jason Trulson (197) and Quinton Pruett (285). In Las Vegas, only one meeting between ASU and UP took place with Patrick Pitsch (165) winning the bout.

Eight competitors at the Sun Devil Duals will carry a national ranking, according to the NWCA/InterMat rankings released January 2 with nearly half of them coming from the 125-pound weight class. The lightest weight could produce the biggest battles as No. 19 Anthony Robles joins No. 8 Rollie Peterkin (Penn) and No. 16 Fernando Martinez (Army) in the rankings this week. ASU has two other ranked wrestlers in No. 10 Patrick Pitsch (165) and No. 18 Brent Chriswell (184) while Penn has two more as well in No. 13 Lior Zamir (184) and No. 15 Cesar Grajales (149). Army's Matt Kyler (141) rounds out the ranked competitors at No. 17 in his weight class.

Despite its 5-0 start, the Sun Devils are not receiving votes in the national rankings this week, according to the USA Today/NWCA/InterMat Top 25 rankings (January 2). Individually in the InterMat/NWCA/NWMA rankings, three Sun Devils are listed among the Top 20 in their respective weight classes, including No. 10 Patrick Pitsch (165), No. 18 Brent Chriswell (184) and No. 19 Anthony Robles (125).

The third round of Pac-10 Individual Rankings were released December 11 with five Sun Devils ranked among the Top 6 in their respective weight classes. Leading the way are a pair of top-ranked Sun Devils in Patrick Pitsch (165) and Jason Trulson (197) with Anthony Robles (125) ranked third; Brent Chriswell (184) is fifth; and Todd Schavrien (133) is ranked sixth.

Patrick Pitsch went 5-1 at the Cliff Keen/Las Vegas Invitational at the start of December to increase his season record to 6-1 overall before improving to 9-3 with a 3-2 showing at the Reno Tournament of Champions. With his first win in Reno, an 11-4 decision over Daniel Atondo (CS Bakersfield), Pitsch earned the 75th victory of his career. He now stands 77-40 overall at Arizona State.

Two other Sun Devils are close to milestone wins as well with Rick Renzi needing four more for 25 and Jason Trulson is six away from 50 victories.

The Sun Devils have combined to win 103 bouts this year with 41 of those victories producing bonus points. Of the 41 bonus point victories, Arizona State has won 18 by fall, 14 by major decision, four by technical fall and added five forfeit victories.

Of those 15 wins by pin-fall, only six 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. Last weekend, all three of ASU's falls came outside the first, including two in the second and one in the third.

Four Sun Devils placed in the Top 6 and the team finished 11th at the 2007 Reno Tournament of Champions as Jason Trulson and Thor Moen, both competing at 197 pounds, led the way with Top 4 showings. Trulson, the second-seed, worked his way to the final where he dropped a tough 3-1 decision to top-seeded No. 6 Wynn Michalak of Central Michigan in the final. Moen opened with three wins in a row to reach the semifinals before falling to Michalak before splitting his final two bouts to place fourth overall. Patrick Pitsch was the top-seed at 165 pounds and reached the semifinals before falling to the consolations. After winning his first wrestleback, Pitsch dropped a 7-3 decision to No. 9 Jake Dieffenbach (Oklahoma State) to finish fourth. Chris Drouin earned fifth place at 141 pounds, the first tournament placement in his collegiate career, as he posted a 4-2 record, advancing to the semifinals before settling for fifth place with a 5-0 defeat of Wyoming's Cole Dallaserra.

Six Sun Devils competed in the first home bouts of their careers with five winning their matches against Embry-Riddle (November 25). Redshirt freshmen Anthony Robles (125), Todd Schavrien (133), Chris Drouin (141), Jerrad Trulson (149) and Imanibom Etukeren (285) each won their debuts while Jalonn Wilkins (157) dropped a close decision. Wilkins is scheduled to compete in Reno this weekend at 149 pounds and could score his first collegiate win.

Through the first half of the season, 22 wrestlers have competed for Arizona State with more than half (13) seeing their first collegiate duals as redshirt freshmen. The group has combined to go 55-45 with 24 victories earning the team bonus points. Of those 24 wins, nine (of the team's 18) have been by fall, eight (of 14) by major decision, four (of four) by technical fall and three (of five) by forfeit.

In the dual with Embry-Riddle, Jason Trulson opened the dual with a pin of Justin Masotti in 3:32 of the 197 bout before younger brother Jerrad Trulson won a 6-4 decision at 149 pounds over Trace Billet. The victories by the brothers marked the first time since the 2002-03 season that a pair of brothers competed in the same dual with each winning a bout. The last time it happened was on January 5, 2003, when Chris Smith pinned his opponent from ERAU at 5:29 of the 141 bout and was followed by brother Mike Smith winning a 7-1 decision at 157. One month earlier, on December 5, 2002, brothers Evan Larkin and Eric Larkin each won forfeits against Portland State at 141 and 149, respectively.

Over the past several weeks, the Sun Devil wrestling team has been getting out in the community more and working with local children. On November 22, the day before Thanksgiving, the Sun Devils visited the Crossroad Youth Intervention Center in Phoenix where they interacted with the children while handing out dinner and dessert. On November 27, the wrestlers headed over to the UMOM New Day Center in Phoenix where they read to numerous children from the community.

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 (November 18). 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.

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.

Senior 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

Kelsey Campbell was invited to compete in the West-Midwest Duals at Menlo College on December 2 and walked away with a clean sweep, winning all four of her bouts. Campbell opened the day with a pin of Tina Linhasmout (West Valley CC) in 51 seconds before defeating Raissa Dickinson (Simon Frasier), 3-0, 2-1. Campbell then blanked Marina Piccolotti (Oklahoma City Univ.), the No. 2-ranked women at 63kg, in a 3-0, 5-0 decision. Campbell's final bout of the day saw her defeat Deni Torgeson (Simon Frasier), 0-1, 2-0, 1-0.

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. 2 at 59kg in the Collegiate Women's Wrestling Association rankings. She also is ranked No. 5 in's U.S. Senior Women's Rankings (May 2007).

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

The Sun Devils return to action on the road next weekend with three Pac-10 duals in three days. Arizona State opens the weekend on January 11 with a 7 p.m. dual at Cal Poly (at San Luis Obispo, Calif.) before facing CS Bakersfield at 5 p.m. on January 12 (at Bakersfield, Calif.). The trip ends on January 13 with a 2 p.m. dual against CS Fullerton (at Fullerton, Calif.).

Now on Pac-12 Network
9:15 AM PT

Airing on:

  • Pac-12 Network
Get Pac-12 Networks
Pac-12 Networks Channel Finder