Sophomore Ares Carpio (125) came ready to make a statement, as did the ASU wrestling team Friday night against Boise State in its first Pac-12 home match. The statement was made, as ASU defeated the Broncos, 21-15.
With a tight win over sophomore Nami Haddian, ASU looked to open up on a roll. That momentum was quickly halted by a 4-2 loss in the 133 pound match, with sophomore Cord Coronado falling to Boise State redshirt sophomore Ben DeMeulle.
Carpio said he embraces his role as the tone-setter for the team
“Our goal was to go out there and score first, and strike hard,” Carpio said. “Being a 125-pounder, I like the pressure. It helps me get pumped up, and makes my teammates feel empowered. It’s important for me to go out there in the first match and empower myself and my teammates and and get a win.”
The physicality of junior Preston McCalmon (149) in a tight match against Boise State redshirt sophomore Chris Castillo was impressive, but McCalmon ultimately came up short, losing 5-3 in overtime.
Redshirt junior Joel Smith (157) brought the Sun Devils within striking distance at the break, trailing 9-7 after a 10-2 major decision over Boise State redshirt sophomore Taylor West.
ASU head coach Shawn Charles expected big things from his lightweight group, and they delivered on Friday night.
“I was really excited about how these guys came together and won as a team. Carpio got us off to a great start,” Charles said. “Our lightweight guys battled and fought hard out there tonight, and even though we didn’t see it on the scoreboard, those guys went out there and gave us solid efforts.”
After getting through the lightweights, ASU was able to dominate in the second half with the upper weight classes at full strength. An electrifying 6-4 decision by graduate Nick Rex (165) over junior Holden Packard, followed by yet another pinfall by sophomore Roy Waters (174), Boise State’s Austin Dewey was the latest victim.
“Sometimes our heavier weight guys matchup better, and sometimes our lighter guys will match up better,” Charles said. “But lately it has been our upper five that have carried the team.”
Redshirt sophomore Blake Stauffer (184) took a commanding 8-0 lead in his match against the redshirt freshman Andrew Tiedeman and won in a 16-0 tech fall, putting the match out of reach for the Broncos with only two weight classes remaining.
Stauffer commented on the state of the match and his success of late.
“We go in sometimes, and we kind of knew earlier that it was set after my match, but the coaches told us, ‘It’s coming down to you guys,’” Stauffer said. “It wasn’t just a win, it was a way to get bonus points for the team, get the extra points for a major (decision).”
Next weekend, the Sun Devils face Iowa State at Wells Fargo Arena on Saturday, Feb. 1 at 8 p.m. MST.
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