ASU wrestling opened season at the Michigan State Open and NWCA Classic

The Sun Devils collected 10 medals and one upset win over the weekend

The wait finally concluded as ASU's 2017-18 wrestling season was back in action on Sunday at the Michigan State Open.

Twenty-one Sun Devils competed in the tournament, 16 in the open bracket and five in the freshman/sophomore bracket.

In the open bracket, ASU was able to earn eight medals — including one champion.

Redshirt sophomore Josh Shields utilized his excellent single-leg attack throughout the tournament and was able to earn a gold medal.

Redshirt sophomore Anthony Valencia also competed in the finals. He pinned his way through to the finals and found himself going toe-to-toe with Michigan’s redshirt freshman Logan Massa.

Valencia was not able to capitalize on his momentum leading up to the finals and ended his day with a silver medal.

Six other Sun Devils started their seasons off on the podium. 

Redshirt sophomore Josh Kramer, senior Ali Naser and redshirt senior Christian Pagdilao secured bronze medals.

Redshirt sophomore Josh Maruca collected a fourth-place medal and redshirt sophomore Nikko Villarreal took home a sixth-place medal.

Redshirt junior transfer Ryan Millhof wrestled his way into the semi-finals but medically forfeited the rest of the way through the tournament. However, his efforts still earned him a sixth-place medal

In the freshman/sophomore bracket, freshmen Brandon Courtney and Austin Clayton were successful in their first collegiate tournament.

Courtney was able to secure a gold and Clayton was able to find a fourth-place spot on the podium. 

While their teammates were competing in East Lansing, MI, redshirt sophomore Zahid Valencia and junior Tanner Hall were representing ASU in the National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) Classic. 

The NWCA Classic is a meet put on by the coaches' association featuring the best male and female wrestlers in the country. 

This year, Valencia and Tanner Hall were chosen to test their skills against two wrestlers from the nation’s No. 1-ranked team: Penn State. 

Hall’s opponent was Penn State Nick Nevills, a junior All-American who is ranked No. 4 in the country — this was the first time the two had squared off. 

The only two points scored were awarded to Nevills, giving Tanner Hall his first loss of the season.

Possibly the most anticipated match of the event featured Valencia and Penn State’s defending national champion sophomore Mark Hall. 

No. 1 Mark Hall is the only wrestler that was able to earn a win against Valencia during the 2017 NCAA tournament where the final score ended in favor of Hall 3-2. 

Fittingly, the final score on Sunday was 3-2 in favor of Valencia. 

Next, the Sun Devils will head to Ann Arbor to wrestle No. 3 Michigan and will travel to Columbus to take on Olympic champion Kyle Snyder and the No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes.


Reach the reporter at trittenh@asu.edu or follow @trittenhouse34 on Twitter. 

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