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Wrestling rallies from early deficit to beat Stanford

GIVING A BEAT DOWN: Sophomore Jake Meredith wrestles against an Iowa State opponent last week. On Sunday afternoon, ASU wrestled against Stanford, winning 24-13. (Photo by Michael Arellano)

Six straight match victories and 24 straight points finished off the ASU wrestling dual season, as the Sun Devils notched a 24-13 victory over Stanford.

After falling behind the Cardinal (10-8-1, 2-3-1 Pac-10) 13-0 after four matches, the Sun Devils (9-7, 4-2 Pac-10) were ignited when senior heavyweight Erik Nye pinned heavily undersized Stanford freshman Kyler Hasson in the first period.

Stanford was originally going to forfeit the heavyweight match, but a last-second change paired Hasson, listed at 184 pounds, against Nye in the last dual match of his career.

The change, which was intended to lessen the six points awarded for a forfeit, didn’t make a difference when Nye pinned Hasson in less than three minutes and almost cut the Cardinal lead in half.

ASU coach Shawn Charles said he was not happy with the sudden change by the Stanford coaching staff after he was told that it would be a forfeit.

“I really think they put us in an awkward situation because our heavyweight is assuming that he was getting a forfeit,” he said. “I let the coach know that I would never put him in that situation. I would have let him know up front.”

The Stanford wrestler coming out on the mat didn’t faze Nye, who registered his 24th and final career dual victory at ASU.

“I was actually happy,” Nye said. “I knew that guy was smaller, so I could throw him around a little bit easier. I will never turn down a match.”

Hasson was easily giving up more than 60 pounds in the match, and Nye quickly took control before pinning him at 2:32 in the first period.

“After the match, I shook his hand and was like ‘You’ve got some [guts], man,’” Nye said. “I wouldn’t have done that.”

From that point on, Stanford could only watch as their lead quickly vanished.

No. 4 junior Anthony Robles (125) scored a major decision in the following match over No. 23 Stanford freshman Ryan Mango.

Then, No. 27 junior Ben Ashmore (133) tied the score at 13 with a close victory over No. 33 Stanford junior Justin Paulsen, followed by another major decision for junior No. 13 Chris Drouin (141) over Stanford freshman Bret Baumbach.

“Down low we’re a little bit stronger of a team then we are up high,” Charles said. “When we send guys to nationals, we are going to send the majority of our guys from 125 to 157, and obviously you have to throw Nye in there.”

Victories by sophomore Vicente Varela (149) and sophomore Te Edwards (157) gave ASU a total score of 24.

The conclusion of the dual season sends the Sun Devils to UC Davis for the Pac-10 Championships on Feb 26-27.

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