No. 7 ASU wrestling had a strong start to the season Sunday as the team grabbed eight weight-class titles at the Mountaineer Open in Boone, North Carolina.
The Sun Devils went undefeated and compiled 11 major wins and seven pins. Brandon Courtney, Michael McGee, Kordell Norfleet, Kyle Parco, Jacori Teemer, Cohlton Schultz, Anthony Valencia and Jesse Vasquez all collected tournament titles after going undefeated in their respective weight classes.
“I think the energy was good. They fed off each other. They want to help each other. They want to win for each other. Sometimes they even want to outdo each other. And those are signs of a good team,” head coach Zeke Jones said.
This year, ASU has seven All-Americans in Courtney, Mcgee, Teemer, Valencia, Shultz, Norfleet and Parco, who transferred from Fresno State.
"After Fresno State canceled their program due to COVID-19, I committed to Utah Valley University," Parco said. "But after some other opportunities opened up, I decided to go to ASU because of the program, the success the program has had and the coaches out here, you can't beat the coaches that you have here. I felt really proud of putting on the maroon and gold singlet."
Heading into Friday’s match, Jones wants even more from his team.
"I expect more aggressiveness from this team," Jones said. "I expect them to be more physical. I expect them to be fast and quick. I expect them to compete. We're just so fortunate to be able to wrestle for Arizona State. There are a lot of people that are struggling out there, and we know that we're blessed to be able to do what we do every day."
Teemer, Vasquez and Norfleet had a long route to their titles, as each had to go through four bouts.
When asked whether competing in four bouts is exhausting, Teemer said, “It wasn't that taxing because coach Jones does a good job during practice, getting us ready for tournaments like that. I just gotta get used to it and get my body right."
Teemer beat Appalachian State's Tommy Askey 14-5, then took a 20-5 tech fall over Gardner-Webb and an 11-5 win over Air Force's Giano Petrucelli. Teemer finished the day with a 13-4 major decision win over the Mountaineers' Cody Bond.
"I just go out and score points, and I like to get big leads," Teemer said. "So, I just like having fun and entertaining the crowd. I think the team did well overall, we went eight for eight in the invitational division. Everyone executed. To beat OU, I feel like we put in enough work in the intrasquad and we're ready to go."
In the open portion of the tournament, freshman Cael Valencia finished on top of the 174 class. Named by InterMat as the preseason Pac-12 Newcomer of the Year, Valencia is one of the Sun Devils' top newcomers.
"Cael did well," Jones said. "True freshman (in his) first college tournament, he held together and had one really tough match. He had to grit it out and was able to really wrestle strong."
Freshman Max Wilner and redshirt junior Chad Porter also won their respective weight classes. Norfleet outscored his competition 58-8 and Shultz recorded three-straight pins. Redshirt freshman Julian Chlebove also had a good showcase, beating Jared Van Vleet of Air Force.
"We competed well. We've got kids that are great competitors, and they know how to win, and they know how when the lights turn on, what to do, they've always been good at it," Jones said. "And this year now, we have a lot of them that are like that. So, I think they're enjoying it."
The Sun Devils will face off against No. 17 Oklahoma at Desert Financial Arena on Nov. 19 for the home opener.
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