Top-ranked senior Anthony Robles ran his undefeated mark to 26-0 with two victories by technical fall this past weekend in what was a tough road trip overall for the ASU wrestling team.
Robles won his 18th and 19th matches of the year as the Sun Devils (5-11) lost 35-8 to No. 14 Nebraska (12-4) on Friday night in Lincoln and 33-14 to No. 15 Iowa State (9-8) in Ames on Sunday.
“It was a tough weekend for us,” Robles said. “Nebraska was a tough loss, but overall I think we wrestled pretty well despite what the scoreboard showed.”
Redshirt sophomore Levi Cooper was the only other winner on Friday night for ASU, upsetting No. 10 junior heavyweight Tucker Lane 3-1 in an overtime thriller.
“For me, that was the most talented kid I’ve been able to beat,” Cooper said. “Now I can continue to improve and build of off that win.”
While there were some positives to be taken away from the Nebraska match, ASU did not feel good about their showing at Iowa State on Sunday afternoon.
“ISU was a little different than the Nebraska meet,” Robles said. “I think we let who they were and the reputation of their program get into our heads a bit, and I think we gave them too much respect before we stepped out on the mat.”
In addition to Robles’ victory, redshirt freshmen Kalin Goodsite and Carlos Castro notched wins against ISU. The match was defined by the Cyclones’ ability to score bonus points against ASU. Points during the last four matches of the dual turned the event from a close contest into a lopsided loss for the visiting Sun Devils.
“This was an eye-opener of what is to come,” Robles said. “I think it was a shock to some of the guys, but hopefully they learn from it so they can be better prepared come time for the Pac-10 tournament.”
The Sun Devils are running out of time to fix their errors and nurse themselves back to health before the all-important Pac-10 Championships begin on Feb. 27.
“It’s not necessarily a good thing we’re making mistakes out on the mat,” Cooper said. “But if we fix those mistakes here in the next few weeks, and with Bubba [Jenkins] and Eric [Starks] coming back soon, I think we could surprise a few people at the Pac-10 tournament.”
Another tough road trip is just around the corner for ASU, as the Sun Devils will travel to Corvallis, Ore., to take on No. 21 Oregon State on Friday before heading to Palo Alto, Calif., to wrestle Stanford on Sunday.
“Once you get to the national tournament, you’re going to feel tired, everyone’s going to feel tired,” Robles said. “I think these [tough road trips] are going to prepare us for that, because it’s really who wants it the most that’s going to end up winning.”
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