ASU wrestling came home from Hampton, Va., with a seventh-place finish at the VA Duals this weekend, bouncing back from an embarrassing 35-7 loss against Chattanooga in the first day of matches.
Starting in the loaded National Bracket, featuring the likes of No. 15 Virginia Tech, No. 14 Edinboro, and tournament host Virginia, (eventual champion) the Sun Devils faced an uphill battle against steep competition.
Joel Smith, a redshirt junior 157-pounder, and Ares Carpio, a sophomore 125-pounder, both racked up pins in their matches against Old Dominion’s Tristan Warner and Brendon Jeske, sparking the team’s improved performance Saturday.
After edging out ODU, 21-15, ASU suffered another setback in a 25-11 loss to Rider, which landed them in the seventh-place match against Nebraska-Kearney.
Smith registered his second pin, (1:30) versus Colton Johnson of Nebraska-Kearney, making him undefeated on the day, en route to a 37-6 blowout over an overmatched Lopers squad. Redshirt sophomore Kalin Goodsite defeated Ryan Bauer, and sophomore Matt Kraus outmuscled Brock Couto in two major decisions, 13-4 and 16-5, respectively.
ASU head coach Shawn Charles went with a young lineup in Hampton, using seven freshmen and two sophomores in the Duels.
No. 25 Rider dropped out of the national rankings, and Edinboro and Virgina Tech swapped the 14th and 15th spots, while Virginia remained 13th.
In the Pac-12, No. 21 Stanford held onto its spot despite a loss to No. 24 Oregon State.
ASU takes on Northern Colorado and Utah Valley on Saturday, Jan. 18, at Wells Fargo Arena, with the first match starting at noon.
Reach the reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @modrich_22