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

Jan. 9, 2008

Week Four (January 9) - ASU Sweeps the Sun Devil Duals
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After a few weeks Christmas vacation, I'm back reporting on the wrestling team in and outside of competition. Last time, I left off with the Reno Tournament of Champions, so let's pick it up there. After a hard-fought two weeks of finals, the Devils finished off the year competing in Reno where we had four place-winners, lead by Jason Trulson taking second at 197. Jason battled as he does, wearing his opponents down then capitalizing on their fatigue for the win. After taking a ranked opponent into overtime, Jason could not pull out that late victory. Two wrestlers finishing in fourth place were Thor Moen (also at 197) and myself. Thor battled his way through to the semifinals, continuously wrestling hard before dropping a semifinal loss. Winning his wrestlebacks, Thor made it to the third place match before being defeated. It was a great job by Thor being unseeded and taking fourth place at 197. I struggled as I made the semis before dropping a tough loss, wrestling my way back into the third place bout before being defeated again and taking fourth place. Finally, we had some support from our freshmen class as Chris Drouin made his way into the medal rounds by taking fifth place. Chris continues to improve with every match, so really look for Chris to turn up the heat as we head into the New Year.

Leading into the Sun Devil Duals, the 1988 national championship team was going to be at the dual. Not only did this boost of support give us an edge on our competition, but the two-a-day practices and team unity really helped us prepare for the Black Knights of Army and the Penn Quakers. The dual started at 165 pounds with me opening the dual with a big pin to start the dual off on the right foot. After dropping the 174lb match, Jake Cranford came through with a big win, while Jason Trulson did his job securing a win. After losing a tough HWT match, Anthony Robles came away with a major decision before Todd Schavrien took the mat. For those of you who have been keeping up on our team, Todd has been in a little bit of a slump. Well, he certainly turned a corner Sunday night as he battled his way through three rounds and a takedown in overtime with a power high crotch for the victory. Following that, the Devils dropped the next two matches before Alex Pavlenko sealed the match with a 7-1 decision and a team win over Army, 22-13.

The next big match of the night was a battle of not only the team, but the head coaches. Thom Ortiz and Zeke Jones were teammates back in the day, so the match was personal between the Sun Devils and Quakers. The dual started off on a bad foot with us dropping the first two matches before the senior Jason Trulson secured ASU's first win. Big Kenny Lester -- also known as EZ-k-Baby -- took the mat for the heavyweights. Kenny has also struggled a bit this year finding his groove, but the redshirt freshmen came through with a huge pin to fire up the crowd and give us the lead. After being taken down, Kenny used his cunning eye to let his opponent think he was going to roll to his back, but a quick roll through hip heist and Kenny was on top ready for the pin. After dropping the 125lb match, Todd Schavrien continuing to push forward in the right direction and cruised his way to a victory before Chris Drouin's hard-nosed wrestling forced his opponent to quit due to an injury. I think Chris snapped his opponent down so hard that when the kid went to brace himself, he broke his wrist or something. I don't know for sure, but I liked his aggressiveness while also wishing the best to his opponent. With that default, the Sun Devils secured their victory to end the night undefeated in duals.

Not only was this a great night for the student-athletes, but the Devils really showed the 1988 team that the fire is still in the Devils. Everyone wrestled hard for all seven minutes and I think we are ready to make some noise this year. I want to thank everyone in attendance for coming to watch. Our next outing will be in California to take on Cal Poly, Cal State Bakersfield and Cal State Fullerton.

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

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