​ASU wrestling defeats CSU Bakersfield in final home match

Despite woes at lighter weight classes, the Sun Devils were able to overpower the Roadrunners

The Sun Devils (9-4, 3-1 Pac-12) defeated the Roadrunners 26-15 Thursday evening and redshirt freshman Zahid Valencia led the way, improving to 30-0.

“Overall, the result and getting the hand raised is good for the team,” ASU head coach Zeke Jones said following the match. “We just can’t quite seem to put together a full dual meet where we can get 10 wins, and until we do that, we have to keep plugging and have to keep working.”

ASU’s No. 23 redshirt freshman Josh Maruca followed his upset win last weekend against Oregon State with a dominating performance over CSUB’s redshirt senior Everett Pratt. He received the 22-9 major decision and trimmed the Roadrunner's lead 7-4 after being down early 7-0.

The match of the night did not disappoint, as Anthony Valencia and Lorenzo De La Riva kept the match close until the third period. It was tied 4-4 until Valencia scored two takedowns (2 points each) to give him the 8-4 lead.

“At one point I thought the match was (De La Riva’s),” CSU Bakersfield head coach Manny Rivera said. “I think the break favored Anthony, then he came back and came full steam at him and got the takedown, which changed the momentum.”

De La Riva was only able to score a 1-point escape from that moment forward, while Valencia was awarded his ninth point due to riding time. He came away with the 9-5 decision and gave ASU an 11-7 lead.

Despite and overwhelming performance, the Sun Devils continued to struggle in the lighter weight classes, as they lost the 125 lbs., 133 lbs., 141lbs. matches – giving up a combined 35 match points in the three individual matches.

“The goal is to improve daily and take each guy and see what they need to work on,” Jones said regarding their struggles. “Obviously, we need to get Villarreal and Kramer off the bottom, but we are good takedown guys who need to finish once we get to the legs.”

Zahid Valencia remains undefeated

Days after he was ranked eighth in the Most Dominant Wrestler category by Intermat, ASU’s No. 1 Valencia pinned CSUB’s redshirt sophomore Bryan Battisto during the first period.

He earned his 30th win of the season and back-to-back pins during the first period to stay undefeated. He is chasing ASU wrestling icon and NCAA champion Anthony Robles as the most recent ASU wrestler to finish a season without a loss.

As to what Valencia needs to do in order to stay undefeated, he said he would just continue to have fun.

“I need to keep doing what the coaches are telling me to do,” Valencia said. “(Coaches) have been here before so I need to stay on their game plan.”

Next up for ASU is a road meet versus Boise State (1-8, 0-3 Pac-12) on Sunday, Feb. 12 at 4:00 p.m. MST.


Reach the reporter at fcorral1@asu.edu or follow @felipecorraljr on Twitter.

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