"Ready, set, wrestle!"
Those are the words that will officially begin the 2008-2009 ASU wrestling season Saturday as the Sun Devils counter UC Davis at Mesa High School.
UC Davis (0-0, 0-0 Pac-10) takes on the Sun Devils for only the fourth time in team history, looking to secure its first victory.
Last season in Davis, Calif, the Sun Devils defeated the Aggies 20-17 to open their 2007-2008 season.
If the Aggies do posses one advantage against the Sun Devils, it’s in experience level. Coach Lennie Zalesky returns eight of 10 wresters who competed in the 2008 Pac-10 Championships; that compares favorably to a youthful Sun Devil squad.
“We’ve got a hard first match,” ASU coach Thom Ortiz said. “[UC] Davis is a quality team and they’ve got a good coach.
“We’re going to focus on getting better. Each individual is focused on winning.”
ASU sophomore Anthony Robles, No. 8 nationally in the 125-pound weight class, faces a tough early test as he’s set to counter the Aggies senior No. 11 Marcos Orozco. When the two met last season, Robles secured a 7-5 victory.
“I think I need to surpass what I did last year,” Robles said. “I was one match away from being an All-American, and I didn’t quite [reach] my goal. But this year I’m trying to be a national champion, and I’m working as hard as I can to get to that.”
Robles won’t be the only Sun Devil feeling déjà vu Saturday.
UC Davis presents yet another intriguing match-up between aquatinted foes in the 141-pound class. ASU’s No. 7 Chris Drouin, a sophomore, will counter senior Nexi Delgado for the third time in his career.
Last season, Drouin defeated Delgado twice, a 9-4 decision in the opener and a 9-7 decision in the Pac-10 Championships.
Reach the reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org.