It was senior night at the final home meet of the year for ASU wrestling at Wells Fargo Arena, but the OSU group of ranked seniors came looking to play spoiler to the ceremonies.
Sophomore Ares Carpio (125) was deft and quick, impressively handling junior Pat Rollins to give the Sun Devils the early lead. OSU sophomore Drew Van Anrooy fought back and barely edged ASU redshirt sophomore Kalin Goodsite (133) 3-2 to even the match at three apiece.
Sophomore Matt Kraus (149) registered two three-point near-falls, giving him a 6-1 lead over redshirt freshman Joey Delgado heading into the third period. Kraus was solid, giving the team bonus points as he improved upon his lead, highlighted by a five-point takedown to give ASU a four point lead over the Beavers with a 13-1 major decision victory.
Kraus noted the significance of getting bonus points in a match.
“It definitely helped. I mean, we won by a point,” Kraus said. “If neither of us or only one of us gets the point, then we lose or tie.”
Kraus said his determination was what got him the point, thanks to encouragement from the coaching staff.
“You have the coaches yelling at you to get bonus points, but some kids just lay down and glide to the win,” Kraus said. “I knew how big a bonus point could be for our team, so I went out there and got it. That kind of got into my game a little big, shooting single (leg), I rolled him up, and it worked out for me, and it felt good.”
Junior Preston McCalmon (149) continued to struggle, and had the misfortune of running into OSU’s No. 10 senior Scott Sakaguchi. McCalmon fell behind 5-0 in the second period, and the deficit was too much to overcome. McCalmon was in great position for a takedown midway through the third, but effort was to no avail, as time ran out and MCalmon fell, 5-2.
No. 9 senior R.J. Pena of OSU provided a similar challenge to the red-hot junior Joel Smith, who trailed 8-0 after two periods, and failed to capitalize on chances to strike until late in the third, losing a 12-3 major decision. The win gave Pena and the Beavers a 10-7 lead heading into the break.
The second group of weight classes started with senior Nick Rex at 165, who faced OSU sophomore Toney Chay in his final match at Wells Fargo Arena. Rex fought an extremely physical and close match and led 2-1. Chay went to the edge often and frequently went out of bounds, and caused stoppages, and was able to notch an escape point to tie the match at two. Rex earned a takedown to increase his lead to 4-2, ultimately prevailing 5-2 in his final home dual.
Rex’s roommate, Kraus, talked about Rex’s win.
“He’s only been here for a year, but we’re all really close with him,” Kraus said. “He’s a great guy, and it was awesome that he got his win and for us to win as a team.”
Sophomore Ray Waters (174) got out to a 2-0 in the first period over his opponent junior No. 20 Joe Latham and clung to a 5-4 advantage before the start of the third period. Waters again faltered in the third period, and could not finish, falling 9-5.
Sophomore No. 18 Blake Stauffer anchored the ASU heavyweight group, dominating in the second period, only allowing two points in the first two rounds as he lead 15-2 entering the third. Stauffer registered multiple near-falls and scored crucial bonus points to defeat OSU senior Austin Morehead 17-8. The win gave the Sun Devils a 14-13 lead over the Beavers with just two matches remaining.
Coach Shawn Charles was thrilled with the team’s performance in the upset.
“They came down to the wire, and those guys going out there and getting those bonus points was the difference between the team winning the matches,” Charles said. “At the end of the day, we want these guys to understand that the program is bigger than just one individual, and they represent Sun Devil Nation.”
Charles was equally impressed by his opponent, which currently sits atop the Pac-12 standings.
“I have the utmost respect for that coaching staff and that program, and they have a lot of tough kids,” Charles said. “They’ve got heart, and they were continuously trying to score points … We knew that (OSU) were going to give us everything they had.”
Sophomore Wes Moore replaced the injured redshirt sophomore Josh DaSilveria, and led OSU sophomore Zach Cardwell 3-0 after two periods, finishing off Cardwell in a 5-1 decision. With just one match to go, the Sun Devils led 17-13 over the conference-leading Beavers, heavyweight redshirt junior Chase Eskam looked to hold on against OSU freshman Amaveer Dheshi. Eskam fell 4-3 to Dhesi, but ASU squeaked out a 17-16 victory over No. 22 Oregon State.
ASU begins the California segment of their road trip on Friday against Cal Poly at 8 p.m. MST.
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