Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.

ASU wrestling shocks No. 1 Penn State, hands Nittany Lions first loss since 2015

A record-setting crowd saw ASU wrestling snap No. 1 Penn State's 60-match dual win streak

ASU Wrestling vs Penn State-1.jpg

ASU redshirt sophomore, 125 LBS, Brandon Courtney, looks for a shot in ASU's 19-18 victory over number one ranked Penn State on Friday, Nov. 22, 2019, at the Desert Financial Arena in Tempe, Arizona.


The No. 10 ASU wrestling team (5-0) upset No. 1 Penn State 19-18 Friday night in front of a record-setting home crowd (8,522) to hand the Nittany Lions their first dual meet loss since 2015.

The Sun Devils were led by Brandon Courtney, Josh Maruca, Jacori Teemer and Kordell Norfleet, all of whom won their respective matches to put ASU on the scoreboard. 

Maruca, who won his 149-pound bout by one point over Jarod Verkleeren, helped contributed three points to the upset.

"I just wanted to go out there and put as many points on the board as I could and help my team win," he said. "That was my main thought process. (To) wrestle a guy in front of that big crowd, it (is) always fun. It just felt awesome to pull out the win there."

Teemer gave ASU a 10-8 lead heading into intermission by defeating PSU's Bo Pipher 9-4.

Teemer executed head coach Zeke Jones's message on coming out on a strong note and not playing a defensive game against such a tough opponent in Penn State.

"All of our guys came out of the gate firing," Jones said. "Nobody backed up and got scared. They stepped up and fought."

Following intermission, ASU dropped two matches to Penn State, including perhaps the most anticipated bout of the night, ASU redshirt junior Anthony Valencia and PSU's NCAA Champion Mark Hall at 174 pounds.

Valencia's major decision loss put the Sun Devils into a 15-10 hole with just three matches to go.

However, PSU chose to forfeit against ASU redshirt senior and defending national champion Zahid Valencia, which gave the Sun Devils six points and a 16-15 lead.

Next up came 197-pound junior Kordell Norfleet, who defeated PSU's Kyle Conel in a 10-4 decision to give ASU enough cushion to squeak out the win.

"I felt really confident that Kordell would win," Jones said. "I don't know they felt the same way. Their guy is highly ranked; NCAA All-American, high placing. Kordell's really good. He just hasn't had a chance to show it yet."

Norfleet, who hadn't competed on the mat in almost a year, gained confidence in his victory and was able to soak up the experience in an intense environment.

"It was like homecoming," Norfleet said. "At first, it was just relief to see my name up there, hear my name called, but once I shook coach Zeke's hand, everything just slowed down."

Although the win serves as a great moment for the Sun Devils this early on in their season, there is more work to be done, and Jones has no intention of taking his foot off the gas pedal.

"It's November; this isn't the national tournament," Jones said. "We've got to get better. It certainly feels good, but by no means is it the end goal or result. Arizona State is back, and I think people have belief again."


Reach the reporter at aklatsky@asu.edu and follow @averyklatsky on Twitter. 

Like The State Press on Facebook and follow @statepress on Twitter.


Continue supporting student journalism and donate to The State Press today.

Subscribe to Pressing Matters



×

Notice

This website uses cookies to make your expierence better and easier. By using this website you consent to our use of cookies. For more information, please see our Cookie Policy.