Robles captures Pac-10 wrestling title as ASU finishes fifth
Anthony Robles won the conference title at 125 pounds while Chris Drouin (141) and Eric Starks (174) placed second to lead the Arizona State University wrestling team to a fifth-place showing at the 2009 Pac-10 Wrestling Championships being held inside Titan Gym on the CS Fullerton campus Monday night. All 10 of the Sun Devils entered into the tournament placed among the Top 8 in their respective weight classes to help the team score 101.0 points overall.
Boise State repeated as the team champion with six individual champions and 172.5 points while Oregon State (128), CS Bakersfield (124.5), UC Davis (102.5) and ASU rounded out the Top 5. The remaining teams in the nine-team field included Cal Poly (89.5), Stanford (81.5), host CSUF (72.5) and Portland State (32).
The finals opened with Robles facing 17th-ranked Brandon Zoeteway (#3 seed) of CSB with the sophomore Sun Devil looking to control the pace early on. Robles shot in and secured the takedown in the first period and worked on top for a pair of three-point near falls to stake himself to an 8-0 lead through one. The Pac-10 runner-up last year, Robles chose top to start the second but Zoeteway escaped before Robles earned another takedown to make it 10-1. In the third period, Robles again scored the takedown and added three near-fall points for a 15-1 lead and then ended the match with another two-point nearfall for the 17-1 technical fall victory. Ranked 11th in the nation, Robles, who also was voted as the Most Outstanding Wrestler of the Tournament by the conference coaches, holds a 25-6 record on the year with 20 of those wins producing bonus points for the team, including three over Zoeteway (two tech falls and one pin).
Next up was Drouin, who fell in a high-action match, 9-8, to Elijah Nacita (#2 seed). After Nacita scored a takedown in the first period, he added three near-fall points to make it 5-0 early before Drouin escaped to make it 5-1 at the end of one. Nacita escaped to open the second period to make it 6-1 before Drouin fought back, scoring three takedowns of his own to three escapes from Nacita to make it 9-7 with one period to wrestle. Drouin chose neutral to start the third period and continued to push the pace, forcing two stalling calls on Nacita for one point and a 9-8 score, but Drouin could not find the takedown as time expired, giving his high school rival the victory. Drouin, who entered the tournament ranked No. 5 in the nation, fell to 27-6 on the season and finished second in the conference for the second season in a row.
The last final of the night for the Sun Devils came at 174 pounds where Starks (#2 seed) dropped a close decision to No. 12 Nate Lee (#1) of BSU, 5-2, to finish second as a true freshman. The match opened with Starks taking an early 2-0 lead with a takedown before Lee escaped. The Bronco junior then scored a takedown of his own to make it 3-2 at the end of one. Starks chose down to start the second, but could not escape, giving Lee the riding time advantage. In the third, Lee escaped to make it 4-2 and fought off several takedown attempts form Starks before adding the riding time point for the 5-2 decision.
Despite losing in the consolation semifinals, two Sun Devils bounced back to win their final match of the tournament and place fifth overall. Te Edwards (#8 seed) opened his day with an 8-2 loss to Lucas Espericueta (#3) of Stanford before rebounding nicely to capture fifth place at 157 pounds with a 10-8 decision over Joe Wilson (#6) of UC Davis. Similarly at 165 pounds, Kyle DeBerry (#6) lost a 6-2 decision to Joey Granata (#5) of CSUB in the consolation semifinals before taking fifth place by pinning Bryan Cantrell (#7) of Portland State in 2:51.
The third Sun Devil in the consolation semifinals came at 174 as Jake Meredith (#5 seed) opened the day with a tough 3-2 loss in the tie-breaker to Jon Clark (#3) of UCD and then was pinned by Brice Arand (#6) of OSU in 4:33 to finish sixth in the tournament.
Four Sun Devils competed in the seventh-eighth place match with one winning seventh place and the other three taking eighth. First up was David Prado (#8) at 133 pounds, who lost a 7-2 decision to Porfiro Madrigal (#7) of SU. Vicente Varela (#7) followed at 149 pounds and worked his way to a 10-0 major decision over Henry Kofa (#4) of PSU to take seventh. Jake Cranford (#7) was in a close battle with Bo Lukehart (#8) of CPU, but injured his leg and was forced to withdraw from the match. The final placement came at heavyweight, where Imanibom Etukeren (#8) dropped a 9-3 decision to Levi Cooper (#6) of PSU.
Next up for the Sun Devils will be the NCAA Wrestling Championships at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Mo. (March 19-21). The NCAA will announce its 52 at-large selections to the tournament on March 9.
Pac-10 Wrestling Championships
Day 2 ONLY - Monday, March 2 - Titan Gym (CS Fullerton)
#/# indicates tournament seed/national ranking (if applicable)
125 - #1/#11 Anthony Robles (3-0, Pac-10 Champion)
Final - #1 Robles tech fall #3/#17 Brandon Zoeteway (CSB), 17-1
133 - #8 David Prado (0-3, Eighth Place)
7th/8th Place - #7 Porfiro Madrigal (SU) dec. #8 Prado, 7-2
141 - #1/#5 Chris Drouin (2-1, Second Place)
Final - #2 Elijha Nacita (CSB) dec. #1 Drouin, 9-8
149 - #7 Vicente Varela (1-2, Seventh Place)
7th/8th Place - #7 Varela major #4 Henry Kofa (PSU), 10-0
157 - #8 Te Edwards (3-2, Fifth Place)
Conso Semi - #3 Lucas Espericueta (SU) dec. #8 Edwards, 8-2
5th/6th Place - #8 Edwards dec. #6 Joe Wilson (UCD), 10-8
165 - #6 Kyle DeBerry (2-2, Fifth Place)
Conso Semi - #5 Joey Granata (CSB) dec. #6 DeBerry, 6-2
5th/6th Place - #6 DeBerry pinned #7 Bryan Cantrell (PSU), 2:51
174 - #2 Eric Starks (2-1, Second Place)
Final - #1/#12 Nate Lee (BSU) dec. #2 Starks, 5-2
184 - #5 Jake Meredith (1-3, Sixth Place)
Conso Semi - #3 Jon Clark (UCD) dec. #5 Meredith, 3-2 tb
5th/6th Place - #6 Brice Arand (OSU) pinned #5 Meredith, 4:33
197 - #7 Jake Cranford (0-3, Eighth Place)
7th/8th Place - #8 Bo Lukehart (CSF) def. #7 Cranford, injury default at 4:10
285 - #8 Imanibom Etukeren (0-3, Eighth Place)
7th/8th Place - #6 Levi Cooper (PSU) dec. #8 Etukeren, 9-3