Wrestling set for conference showdown with Beavers
The Arizona State University wrestling team will host #15 Oregon State on Sunday, Jan. 8 at Wells Fargo Arena in a battle for conference bragging rights. Arguably the top two teams in the conference, Sunday’s dual promises to be a solid battle that will future several student-athletes with the ability to make a run at the NCAA Championships. The Beavers bring a 4-1 record to Tempe, Ariz., and have won the past five competitions between the two teams though ASU holds to overall series edge, 18-16. Events are set to get underway at 2 p.m. MST and a ive webcast of the dual will be available at foxsportsarizona.com.
• ASU remains unranked on the season
• Oregon State has won the past five duals between the two teams
• Levi Cooper leads the team with 18 victories on the season and just one dual loss
• Levi Cooper upset the top-ranked returning NCAA Champion in Zach Rey of Lehigh at the Northeast Duals
• Head Coach Shawn Charles is in his third season as head coach
• Redshirt freshman Shane McGough has logged seven of his 10 victories this year with bonus points (4 falls, 3 majors)
• The Sun Devils return one All-American this season in heavyweight Levi Cooper
• Cooper (HWT) is the only Sun Devil ranked by all of the major ranking services
• Fifteen Sun Devils have experienced their first collegiate action this season, representing the mass majority of competitors thus far.
IN THE RANKINGS - TEAM
The Sun Devils entered the season unranked for the first time since the 2008-09 season. This comes despite finishing sixth at the NCAA Championships last year, though the loss of national champions Anthony Robles and Bubba Jenkins and the very young team the Sun Devils will be fielding are likely to blame for their omittance. The team did not receive any votes in the most recent NWCA/USA Today Coaches Poll.
You can view a live video stream of the Oregon State dual at www.foxsportsarizona.com or follow along with a live play-by-play at trackwrestling.com. The broadcast will begin at approximately 2 p.m. MST.
STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE
Seven opponents on ASU’s 2011-12 schedule can be found within the NWCA/USA Today Coaches Poll that was released earlier this week, including #2 Oklahoma State, who the Sun Devils are set to face in Stillwater on Jan. 20. Other top 25 teams on this year’s slate include #9 Oklahoma, #15 Oregon State. Arizona State fell to #12 Lehigh, #23 Binghamtom and#14 Nebraska earlier this season, though they did beat Penn who, while unranked now, was #20 at the time.
IN THE RANKINGS - INDIVIDUAL
Returning All-American Levi Cooper is the only Sun Devil consistently ranked by all of the major ranking services, and did himself a huge favor in upsetting former No. 1 Zach Rey at the Northeast Duals. The victory rocketed Cooper from the mid-teens in most rankings to the top-10 across the board, peaking at No. 4 by The Open Mat. However, his sixth-place finish and injury at the Las Vegas invite hurt him in the polls as he has dropped to No. 14 in the Amateur Wrestling News Rankings and out of the top-10 in all other ranking systems. Cooper hasn’t won back-to-back duals since the Reno Tournament of Champions and will have a tough match this weekend with Oregon State’s defending Pac-12 champion Clayton Jack. However, he remains a sold top-15 wrestler and has shown he can go with the big dogs at any point.
SCOUTING THE COMPETITION: Oregon State
In what might be a battle of the top-two Pac-12 squads on Sunday, Arizona State has a 18-16 all-time record against Oregon State but the Beavers have been winners of the past five duals. ASU is 9-7 when facing Oregon State at home but have dropped the past two contests, including a 35-5 drubbing in 2010. The Beavers are currently ranked 15th in the post recent NWCA Coaches Poll and are paced by #3 Michael Mangrum at 141 pounds and #5 Clayton Jack in the heavyweight category. Five of Oregon State’s starters are ranked in the top-20 nationally by Amateur Wrestling News.
A LOOK BACK: Iowa State
Shane McGough and Tommy Burriel logged bonus-point victories but ASU was unable to upend the Cyclones of Iowa State who won their eighth-straight against the Sun Devils 25-14. The tides turned in the dual when Nathan Hoffer, up 5-3 halfway through his 141 matchup against Luke Goettl found himself out of position and was pinned to give ISU at least a nine-point swing and the 10-4 advantage early on in the competition. ASU showed it’s heart though as Kyle McIntosh, Burriel and Levi Cooper all won their matches to keep the score respectable thought the team dropped to 5-4 on the dual season.