No. 9 ASU wrestling wins first tournament championship this season

The Sun Devils won the Virginia Duals with victories over multiple top-25 teams

Another tournament has passed and the story remains the same; No. 9 ASU wrestling fought its way to a first place finish at the Virginia Duals in Hampton, VA.

The Sun Devils look to be finding their groove a month before the Pac-12 championships begin. Multiple ASU wrestlers pulled off upsets over some of the top wrestlers in the country, while ASU’s core middle weights continued to impress.

On Friday, the Sun Devils found themselves stacked against two other teams in their pool: University of Virginia and Iowa State.

Virginia, their first opponent, was already 0-1 on the day and ASU looked to capitalize. 

Redshirt sophomore 125-pounder Josh Kramer set the tone in the first match of the tournament after upsetting Virginia redshirt freshman No. 8 Louis Hayes. 

After Kramer pulled off the upset, senior 133-pounder Ali Naser found himself in a tough match with Virginia sophomore No. 3 Jack Mueller, and Naser pulled of the upset as well. 

The Sun Devils kept the steam going and almost left Virginia without any points – the final score ended 35-3.

ASU’s next opponent, Iowa State, pulled off a slim victory over Virginia 21-18 earlier in the day, and although it was closer than their dual against Virginia, ASU beat Iowa State 25-13.

ASU's two victories gave the Sun Devils a spot in the championship bracket.

Last season, ASU advanced to the championship bracket and bounced back from a few set backs to come away with a third place trophy.

This year, it was a different story. 

In ASU’s semifinal match-up, they faced No.17 Northern Iowa.

The dual went just as expected, ASU held a slim lead going into the heavyweight match, but No. 4 junior heavyweight Tanner Hall bear hugged his opponent straight to his back and picked up a second period fall on the edge of the mat, ensuring ASU a 24-16 victory in the dual.

The finals were set and ASU faced No. 10 Virginia Tech.

Redshirt junior 125-pounder Ryan Millhof and Naser picked up seven points to start the meet up with convincing wins. 

After a loss at 141 pounds, redshirt sophomores Josh Maruca and Josh Shields found a way to grind out a win, giving ASU a 13-3 lead halfway through the dual.

Virginia Tech redshirt sophomore 165-pounder David McFadden knocked off redshirt sophomore Anthony Valencia. However, Valencia’s brother, Zahid Valencia, got the ball rolling for ASU, picking up a 21-6 technical fall victory.

Although Zahid put ASU up 18-7, Virginia Tech picked up two major victories at 184 and 197 pounds.

The score going into the last match was 18-15.

Hall controlled the final match from the starting whistle, winning his match 6-1 and securing a 21-15 ASU victory, helping the Sun Devils earn their first tournament victory this season. 

*All rankings taken from Flowrestling.com


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

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