ASU wrestling rolls in regular season finale vs. Cal Poly

The Sun Devils enter the Pac-12 Championships with a two-dual win streak

In Friday night's Beauty and the Beast meet where the wrestlers shared the spotlight with the ASU gymnastics team, the ASU wrestling team (6-10, 3-1 Pac-12) ended its regular season with a convincing 32-7 win over Cal Poly. The team will enter the Pac-12 Championships riding a two-dual winning streak.

The Sun Devils quickly gained separation with a perfect 6-0 start to the match and they never looked back, as they led by as much as 25-0.

ASU harnessed the electricity at Wells Fargo Arena and produced one of its best showings of the season on senior night. 

"More people, music pumping, girls competing hard, in a team effort," Coach Zeke Jones said. "It feels different. They fed off it." 

Notable ASU bonus points came from a Cal Poly forfeit at 149 pounds, a major decision victory at 125 pounds and a first period fall by redshirt junior Zahid Valencia at 174. The NCAA champion busted out of the gates aggressively and pounced on Cal Poly's freshman Nathan Tausch, winning the bout in one minute and 26 seconds.

"He was more explosive," Jones said. "He's tightened up his focus. It's no more games for him. Now it's time to get serious and buckle down." 

Graduate student Christian Pagdilao and redshirt seniors Jacen Petersen and Ryan Millhof all capped off their ASU dual careers with victories at 157, 184 and 125 pounds, respectively. Millhof returned to the lineup for the first time since December.

"(Millhof) looked calm, he looked cool, collected and scoring points," Jones said. "That gave the team a boost knowing he was back."

Also victorious Friday night was redshirt junior Josh Shields, who said that ASU will exceed expectations in the upcoming conference tournament in two weeks.  

"We're all just trying to have the best performance as possible," Shields said. "We have some kids on our team who are going to make jumps at Pac-12's."

For sophomore Josiah Kline, the Sun Devils' brutally tough 2018-19 schedule will prove to be beneficial in the long run.  

"Just knowing where we're at mentally and physically and knowing that we've wrestled pretty much the best of the best," Kline said. That's a good way of being battle-tested." 

The regular season has come to an end, but the Sun Devils will host the Pac-12 Championships in Tempe on Saturday, March 9 at 7 p.m. MST. ASU will look to capture its third consecutive conference championship.


 Reach the reporter at kmgianco@asu.edu and follow @Kaleb_Mart on Twitter.

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