The ASU wrestling team will put its undefeated Pac-12 record on the line this weekend when it travels to Boise State.
Before the Sun Devils (7-6, 2-0 Pac-12) visit the Broncos (5-5, 1-1 Pac-12), they will make a stop to face Utah Valley.
After last weekend’s disappointing performance at the Virginia Duals, coach Shawn Charles sat his wrestlers down to have a discussion about the state of the team.
“We discussed everything as a team and as a family,” Charles said. “I wanted to hear their voices, and I wanted them to hear the coaches’ voices.”
Redshirt senior No. 18 heavyweight Levi Cooper hopes the team talk will spur the team to perform better in this critical weekend.
“We had a real good team discussion in Virginia after our last dual so I’m hoping this weekend everyone is just ready to go out and wrestle as hard as they can,” Cooper said.
Fellow redshirt senior, 197-pound No. 6 Jake Meredith doesn’t think it is the lack of drive that has caused the Sun Devils’ struggles recently, but purely a lack of execution.
“Everyone has pretty much bought in at this point,” Meredith said. “Overall, everyone just needs to go out there and want to win. There is a difference between wrestling a seven-minute match and going out there to win a seven-minute match.”
The lighter weights (125 pounds to 164 pounds) have struggled recently.
Charles believes this is due to injuries to key wrestlers like redshirt sophomore Nathan Hoffer and freshman Trevor Willson as well as a lack of execution by the wrestlers who took their place.
“Our lightweights haven’t had the best of seasons yet,” Charles said. “I still know that we have greatness, so basically it’s about keeping them positive and keeping them through the process.”
The challenge from the Utah Valley Wolverines (1-2) will be from the heavyweight position.
Sophomore Adam Fager went 3-0 last week to propel the Wolverines to the UVU Open Title.
The Pac-12 matchup on Sunday against Boise State is even more intriguing, as the Broncos just knocked off conference powerhouse Oregon State (4-3, 1-1) in Corvallis.
Charles knows the impact the dual has on Pac-12 tournament seeding and overall confidence. Therefore, he has been preparing his guys all week.
“It’s an important dual,” Charles said. “We understand this is a big conference match for us and we are mentally and physically preparing all week for that dual meet on Sunday.”
Boise State finished an impressive 4-1 at last weekend’s Virginia Duals, but Meredith thinks the Sun Devils match up well.
“I was just looking it up and I think we match up well against them,” Meredith said. “It should be a close finish.”
One factor that will swing in the Sun Devils way is the crowd as there is expected to be a large amount of Sun Devil support come Sunday in Boise, Idaho.
“There’s going to be a lot of Sun Devil alumni there, hopefully more than the Broncos,” Charles said.
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