ASU Wrestlers to duel CSU Bakersfield, rival Grand Canyon University

Redshirt senior 184-pound wrestler Jake Meredith (right) stands toe-to-toe against redshirt sophomore Kevin Radford during the Sun Devils’ Maroon and Gold Wrestle-Offs on Oct. 26. (Photo by Kyle Newman)

The ASU wrestling team traveled 2,000 miles last weekend to face four opponents in three days.

This weekend, the Sun Devils have to travel only 20 miles to Grand Canyon University for duals against the Lopes and Pac-12 foe Cal State Bakersfield Saturday afternoon.

Redshirt sophomore Nathan Hoffer was one of only three wrestlers to go undefeated last weekend, but the 141-pounder is grateful to be back in town for competition.

“It’s going to be so great,” Hoffer said. “We aren’t going to have to travel, and it’s just going to be so much better here at home.”

Hoffer started out his freshman campaign last year with seven straight victories and is hoping to improve on his early-season success.

“I just want to keep it going, and I’ll be confident and ready to go this weekend,” Hoffer said.

Redshirt senior Jake Meredith was also undefeated last weekend, which was his first competition since the 2010-2011 season due to injury.

Meredith, like Hoffer, is pleased with his early season success but is still keeping his foot on the pedal early in the season.

I’ve got tons of confidence in me,” Meredith said. “If you want to be one of the best in the country, you have to be confident against whoever you wrestle.”

The Sun Devils first wrestle Cal State Bakersfield, which is coming off a 27-13 victory over fellow Pac-12 member Cal Poly in a non-conference matchup.

The Roadrunners finished last place in the conference last year, but ASU assistant head coach Brian Stith knows they are no pushovers.

“They are in our conference so we want to make a statement and come out with a strong victory,” Stith said. “We don’t know what to expect, but we know where their strongpoints are and we match up very well.”

The host, Grand Canyon University, earned the No. 5 preseason ranking in Division II and returns a national champion in 125-pound senior Kyle McCrite.

He has a nice supporting cast that includes three other preseason-ranked teammates:  149-pound senior No. 3 Bobby Ward, 184-pound senior No. 8 Celic Bell and No. 6 junior heavyweight Tyrell Fortune.

Stith is excited for the anticipation of facing their inter-city opponent for the first time.

“They have been waiting a long time to duel us, and it’s exciting for Arizona people,” Stith said.


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