ASU wrestling coach Shawn Charles’ message has been for the team to stop focusing on just one match and to focus on season-long aspirations.
After a solid week of practice, and frequent reminders of that, the Sun Devils are prepared to welcome No. 18 Iowa State to Wells Fargo Arena on Saturday night.
Maintaining a healthy roster and being able to win consistently is a challenge in a sport where contact and physicality is elementary. The formulaic nature of wrestling means that there is not much room for strategic reform. Such is the nature of folkstyle wrestling, whose roots are derived from Greco-Roman and freestyle disciplines thousands of years old.
Why is this relevant to the 2013-14 ASU wrestling program? Because the mindset of the team reflects this background knowledge.
Sophomore Ares Carpio (125) explained this philosophy regarding the team’s preparation for No. 18 Iowa State, which boasts five ranked wrestlers on its roster, including Carpio’s opponent No. 18 sophomore Earl Hall.
“Our focus should not change,” Carpio said. “Each wrestler needs to do his part and go out there and wrestle to his best ability. If each wrestler does his best or better, then the team’s result will speak for itself.”
The middleweight-to-heavyweight segment of the match should be crucial once again. Last season, the Sun Devils dropped the 157-, 165-, 174-, and 184-pound matches consecutively. However, the 2012-13 squad was riddled with injuries, and none of the regular starters in those slots wrestled in those rounds.
This time around, ASU carries with them a 6-5 overall record — opposed to last season’s 7-10 — and the momentum of a win against Boise State, instead of being blown out by Oklahoma State the week before, the latest of a five-match losing streak.
It appears a return to fundamentals will continue to produce desirable results for the Sun Devils.
“We have been working on a number of positions that are seen in every match the majority of the time,” Charles said. “We believe if we improve on these common areas, we will continue to be more prepared than our opponents.”
It is something to watch for from the start Saturday night as the Sun Devils take on the Cyclones on Feb. 1 at 8 p.m.
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