After falling to both North Carolina and Ohio State just a couple of weeks back, No. 9 Arizona State made a trip this weekend to the chilly Midwest to compete in the SIUE Cougar Clash in Edwardsville, Illinois. Seven teams from all parts of the county were in Illinois on Sunday, including both Wisconsin and Army. When it was all said and done, Arizona State came out on top.
Many Sun Devils started to compete once the competition reached the quarterfinal stage; however, some of the wrestlers, including sophomore Josiah Kline (133 lb.), were forced to suit up for round one.
Kline started things off with a 10-2 major decision victory against Army’s Lane Peters. Unfortunately, the other first rounders had trouble getting into a groove. Senior Jacen Petersen lost 4-2 to Kent State’s Kade Byland, while fellow senior Austyn Harris (197 lb.) could not handle Kent State’s Shane Mast.
Freshman heavyweight (285 lb.), Brady Daniel, was another Sun Devil who found himself out of contention for first place after round one.
The quarterfinals saw the Devils show the rest of the field why they’re a top 10 team. Senior Ryan Millhof (125 lb.) pinned down Kent State’s Tomas Gutierrez in just over a minute, and freshman Brandon Courtney was able to pin Army’s Trey Chalifoux in 5:25, giving him a big win in his first collegiate match.
Junior Josh Maruca (149 lb.) kept the momentum moving in the right direction after he pinned Cleveland State’s Sam Matzek in 5:53. Furthermore, both grad student Christian Pagdilao (157 lb.) and junior Josh Shields (165 lb.) secured technical falls to advance to the semis as well. Junior Zahid Valencia closed out ASU’s strong quarterfinal showing by pinning Cleveland State’s Colton Carroll in 1:21.
Other ASU wrestlers who advanced to the semifinals were junior Josh Kramer (133 lb.) and sophomore Cory Crooks (133 lb.). Arizona State had a total of nine wrestlers that advanced to the semis in Sunday’s competition.
In the semifinals, Millhof started things off by cruising to a 14-5 major decision win over Chattanooga’s Alonzo Allen. Even though Courtney and Kramer would drop into the consolation semis, other ASU wrestlers like Maruca and Pagdilao would both pick up decisions and advance to the finals.
Valencia secured a fall, Shields came through with a major decision, and Kordell Norfleet (184 lb.) got a 9-3 decision versus Dominic Lampe of Chattanooga. All would advance to the finals for a chance to finish first.
Sun Devil Wrestling split its finals matches 3-3. Millhof defeated Chattanooga’s Fabian Gutierrez 8-4 before Maruca lost to Wisconsin’s Cole Martin 1-0. Christian Pagdilao won 2-0 facing off against Army’s Lucas Weiland.
Right after that, Josh Shields lost a close one, 5-4, to Evan Wick of Wisconsin. Valencia got a big 13-5 major decision victory over Wisconsin’s Ryan Christensen before Kordell Norfleet lost in his finals matchup with Army’s Noah Stewart.
When all the dust had settled after the last few matches had concluded, the Sun Devils had scored 136 points, putting themselves in first. The two teams that had come the closest to matching that score were Army and Wisconsin. Both had earned a total of 127.5 points.
No. 9 Arizona State’s next dual meet is by far their toughest of the season. The team will be in University Park, Pennsylvania on December 14th (Friday) to take on top-ranked Penn State. The meet is slated to start at 4:00 PM MT and will air on ESPN2.