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ASU Wrestling: Sun Devils kick off their season in the Dakotas

After a strong start to the season at the Bison Open on Saturday, Arizona State Wrestling dominated in a dual meet against South Dakota State to close out the weekend.

NCAA Wrestling: DI Wrestling Championships Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The Sun Devils hit the ground running this weekend as they were in North and South Dakota for the official start of their 2018-2019 season. The team had seven first-place finishes at the Bison Open in Fargo, North Dakota on Saturday. On Sunday, Arizona State kept their foot on the gas as they defeated South Dakota State to get their first dual meet win of the season.

Seventeen Sun Devils suited up for the Bison Open. Of those 17 that wrestled, 16 were able to place in Saturday’s competition: ASU had seven champions, four second-place finishers, one third and one fourth-place finisher, and three sixth-place finishers at the event.

The Sun Devils had the top two finishers in both the 133 lb. weight class and the 165 lb. weight class. In the 133 lb. weight class, sophomore Josiah Kline was able to withstand teammate junior Josh Kramer and win a close match by decision 3-2. In the 165 lb. bracket, junior Josh Shields overcame fellow Sun Devil senior Jacen Petersen 12-4 to claim the top spot on the podium. Junior Zahid Valencia was on cruise control Saturday, wrestling in the 174 lb. division, Valencia won all three of his matches by falls. In the finals match against North Dakota State’s Jesse Shearer, Valencia was able to secure a fall in just over a minute giving him the victory.

Other first-place finishers from Saturday were senior 125 lb. Ryan Millhof, junior 149 lb. Josh Maruca, graduate student Christian Pagdilao wrestling up in the 157 lb. weight class, and sophomore 184 lb. Kordell Norfleet.

The action continued today in The Mount Rushmore State against the Jackrabbits. The Devils split the first two matches; however, ASU would go on to win the next six giving them a commanding lead over South Dakota State. During the streak, Shields won his matchup in the 165 lb. weight class against SDSU’s Logan Peterson by a major decision 16-4. Also, Valencia defeated his opponent in the 174 lb. weight class, Brett Bye, via an inside cradle early in the first period. The six match streak would eventually come to an end as 197 lb. wrestler, senior Austyn Harris, would fall to South Dakota State’s Zach Carlson. At this point there was only one match left, and ASU led SDSU 27-9.

The last match of the day ended well for the Sun Devils: heavyweight freshman Brady Daniel eluded a takedown from SDSU’s Blake Wolters to send the match into the sudden victory round. No points were scored during SV, and the match headed into overtime where Daniel would come out on top by a final score of 9-8 lifting Arizona State to a big 30-9 team victory over a top-25 ranked South Dakota State University.

After a successful weekend away from Tempe, ASU will now look forward to next weekend’s meets against North Carolina and a strong Ohio State team inside Wells Fargo.