ASU wrestling falls to Michigan in first top-10 test of the season

ASU wrestling fell 21-18 to No. 3 Michigan in its first test of the season

A week after ASU wrestling began the tournament season, they opened up their dual schedule against No. 3 Michigan. 

Today’s was the first of two during the holiday weekend. 

The dual featured four top-15 matchups and major early-season ranking implications.

To start the night off, the first of three marquee matchups took place – redshirt sophomore Josh Shields and No. 8 redshirt junior Alec Pantaleo of Michigan at 157 pounds. 

The match came down to the last thirty seconds with Pantaleo up 3-2, but No.11 Shields was able to scramble his way to a late takedown and ride Pantaleo out. 

Shields' win gave the Sun Devils a 3-0 lead.

After the dramatic start to the night, it was redshirt sophomore Anthony Valencia’s turn to wrestle Michigan's redshirt sophomore Logan Massa. It was the Sun Devils' second top-15 matchup in two weight classes. 

In another exciting match, No. 7 Valenica was not able to stop the offense of No. 3 Massa, ultimately losing 11-3.

In his first match after taking on Penn State's Mark Hall, redshirt sophomore Zahid Valencia had yet another test: Michigan redshirt sophomore Myles Amine. 

In another dramatic match, No.1 Valencia was able to outlast No. 4 Amine 4-2. 

After three matches, ASU led Michigan 6-4.

Following Valencia, freshman Kordell Norfleet took on Michigan redshirt senior Domenic Abounader.

To Michigan’s surprise, Norfleet was able to control the first period against No. 5 Abounader. However, the redshirt senior’s experience was too much for Norfleet’s quick offensive attacks, with the final score being 10-5 – giving Michigan the lead 7-6 over the Sun Devils. 

Ensuing the notable performance by Norfleet, freshman Cade Belshay encountered Michigan graduate student Kevin Beazley. 

Again, Michigan’s experience took the upper hand and No. 6 Beazley was able to extend Michigan’s team lead 10-6.

Following the night’s intermission, yet another top-5 match took place. ASU junior Tanner Hall opposed Michigan graduate student Adam Coon. 

No. 2 Coon was able to gain an early takedown and near-fall points, leaving No. 4 Hall trying to climb his way out of a hole the rest of the match. Hall was not able to make the comeback, and lost 5-2. 

After the heavyweight match and a forfeit at 125 pounds, Michigan lead the Sun Devils 13-12.

In an important match, at 133 pounds, senior Ali Naser competed against Michigan redshirt sophomore Stevan Micic. 

No. 2 Micic proved to be too much to handle for Nasser, winning 14-5.

With Michigan leading the team score 17-12, ASU needed a win out of redshirt sophomore Nikko Villarreal at 141 pounds. 

With an early scramble, Michigan redshirt sophomore Sal Profaci found himself up 6-0 on Villarreal. Profaci continued to capitalize on momentum to seal a Michigan victory 21-12.

The final match of the night featured redshirt sophomore Josh Maruca and Michigan redshirt junior Malik Amine at 149 pounds. 

No. 12 Maruca picked up the win after an unfortunate injury to Amine. The injury default resulted in the Sun Devils picking up six points. 

The final team score ended in favor of Michigan 21-18.

Next, the Sun Devils will travel to Columbus to face No. 2 Ohio State on Sunday, Nov. 12.

Reach the reporter at or follow @trittenhouse34 on Twitter. 

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