ASU wrestling heads to Oregon State, looking for confidence boost

2.7_Wrestling Former ASU wrestler Eric Starks tries to escape a take down from Stanford senior Nick Amuchastegui on Feb. 2, 2012. ASU looks to gain some momentum for the Pac-12 tournament against Oregon State this weekend. (Photo by Diana Lustig)

This week, his Sun Devils (7-10, 2-1 Pac-12) face their toughest conference competition yet as they head to Corvallis, Ore., to take on Oregon State.

Just as the Beavers (8-3, 2-1 Pac-12) hit their stride winning their past six duals, the Sun Devils dropped in their past five duals.

Regardless, Charles said his team is only focused on the end of the season.

“We are just taking it one day at a time, one match at a time and keeping our eye on the prize at the end of the year, and that’s the conference championship and the national championship,” he said.

Charles said the Beavers will give the Sun Devils a chance to boost their confidence before the conference tournament.

“We know we are in shape. We know we are technically sound,” he said. "We might be a bit under-matched in some of our matches. But we are going to go out there and bring the bass and the tempo and use this as an opportunity to get us more prepared for the conference tournament.”

Redshirt sophomore Joel Smith is coming off an impressive victory last weekend at Iowa State and agreed the Beavers are just what the Sun Devils need at this point in the season.

“We are looking forward to good competition,” he said. “It will be good for us to face our toughest competition before the Pac-12 tournament.”

The Oregon State squad boasts five ranked wrestlers, led by 141-pound senior No. 3 Michael Mangrum and No. 4 senior heavyweight Chad Hanke.

“They have some pretty talented guys,” Charles said. “They have a really solid lineup and a good dual meet team.”

A key for the Sun Devils this weekend will be not allowing extra points.

The Sun Devils have been notorious for giving up falls and pins all year, which has cost the team, Charles said.

“At all times, you don’t want to give up falls and that’s been a problem ever since I took it over,” Charles said. “That’s something the coaching staff is constantly working on.”

The injury bug is still bothering the Sun Devils, but star 174-pound redshirt freshman Blake Stauffer could return this weekend.

“He’s definitely released to start wrestling live again, but we don’t want to bring him back too soon and deal with this situation all over again," Charles said. "So it’s going to be a day-by-day type of thing for us to see where he’s at.”

Redshirt senior 197-pound wrestler Jake Meredith returned from a concussion last week, but suffered his worst loss of the season. Charles thinks the former Pac-10 champion still has some lingering effects and is also questionable this weekend.

“We still think that he might be having some issues going on with his concussion he had right before he wrestled Boise State,” Charles said.


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