The ASU wrestling team had a homecoming of sorts at its maroon and gold scrimmage Thursday night at the Sun Devil Fitness Complex in Tempe, and it included some very famous alumni.
Current UFC fighters and ASU wrestling alumni C.B. Dollaway and Ryan Bader served a honorary coaches for the Maroon and Gold teams, respectively.
“It’s cool I get to come back” Bader said. “It brings back memories of when I was here and I was wrestling … it was a great time. I met my best friends, some of my business partners and everybody I still keep in touch with here at ASU. So it’s cool to be back.”
Bader and Dollaway weren’t the only notable alumni present at the maroon and gold scrimmage, either. Also present were UFC flyweight title challenger John Moraga and 2011 NCAA 125-pound wrestling champion Anthony Robles.
“This is the first year they’ve done this in the SRC. I remember when I was wrestling, it was in the wrestling room,” Robles said. “It’s just a great way to get the student athletes out here and just the regular students just to see it and get exposed to wrestling if they haven’t been before.”
If the regular students hadn’t been introduced to the sport before, they certainly got a good show from 149-pound wrestlers sophomore Preston McCalmon and redshirt junior Nathan Hoffer.
Hoffer’s and McCalmon’s match was a back-an-forth battle throughout, but Hoffer would pull out the win by a 7-6 margin in overtime.
ASU wrestling coach Shawn Charles said Hoffer and McCalmon put on a show.
“That was probably the best match of the night,” Charles said. “I think all of our guys wrestled hardm I’m just saying that 149 (pounds), that was a standout match. It went to overtime, both guys were fighting tooth-and-nail to win that match and by the end you could hear both of them got an applause for their efforts.”
While Charles was happy with most of the matches he said he still needs to “get back to the drawing board” on some of the lower weight classes.
“Our 125 pounder (sophomore Ares Carpio), I think he ended up doing very well but he needs to be busier out there on the mat,” he said. “Our 133-pounder (redshirt freshman Tyler Liberatore) looked like he hit a wall in the third period and we need to make sure he is managing his weight properly so that that doesn’t happen.”
Charles said he thinksthose were the only two weight classes that need a little bit more work before the team begins the season.
The Sun Devils will have three weeks to make those changes before they open their season Nov. 16 at No. 13 Illinois.
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