It’s down to the tail end of the season for the ASU wrestling team.
The Sun Devils (4-5, 2-1 Pac-10) will take on Cal Poly (3-8, 0-4 Pac-10) on Saturday in the first of four Pac-10 matchups that will close the season for ASU.
“[Cal Poly is] probably as young as us,” ASU coach Thom Ortiz said. “They’re tough kids, though. A bunch of tough California kids. It’s going to be an intense dual, and we’ll have to wrestle our best to win.”
ASU is hoping to rebound after a string of home losses that included CS Bakersfield, No. 11 Oklahoma and No. 9 Minnesota.
“[Cal Poly is] going to lose; that’s the plan,” said No. 6-ranked sophomore captain Chris Drouin.
Drouin — who wrestles in the 141-pound weight class — has been lights out in duals this season, going 8-1.
His closest margin of victory was an 11-7 decision over Minnesota’s then-No.9 Mike Thorn.
Freshman David Prado (125 pounds) will retain the starting position Saturday, as No. 11 sophomore Anthony Robles remains out with an illness.
He’s not alone. Junior Angel Alegre (133 pounds) has been busy preparing this week in place of sophomore Orlando Jimenez (illness).
Despite the substitutions, it will be business as usual for the Sun Devils on Saturday. Six freshmen are expected to take to the mats, including a string of five in a row from the 149-pound weight class to the 184-pound weight class.
“We’ve been busting our ass; everybody’s wrestled tough,” Drouin said. “We have some experience now, and I don’t see that intimidation in anyone’s face anymore.”
This week’s practice has focused a lot on position. With youth being the most shared characteristic on the team, position and execution have moved to the top of the agenda in practice.
“You don’t just come in here and wrestle!” Ortiz said to his team during Wednesday’s practice. “That’s just not how you do it. You have to get the position.”
His captain seemed to agree.
“At this point now, you just kind of focus on the little things that you need to fix,” Drouin said. “There’s always something that you can do better. Even when you win, there’s always something. At this point of the season, you’re not really making any big adjustments; you’re just doing the small things.”
The meet will take place at 7 p.m. at Wells Fargo Arena following the ASU men’s basketball game against Washington.
ASU announced Thursday that fans with ticket stubs from the basketball game will be able to purchase wrestling tickets at the discounted price of $3 (instead of the normal $7) after the basketball game.
As always, the meet is free for any ASU student with a valid ID.
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