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ASU claims 4 titles at Daktronics Open

BROOKINGS, S.D. -- In their first tournament of the season, the Sun Devils earned four individual tournament championships, the most of any participating school at the Daktronics Open hosted by South Dakota State.

"Overall, it was a good performance for us, said head coach Zeke Jones. "I think we were the best conditioned team in the tournament and overall wrestled really hard and competed tough."

ASU led all teams with four tournament champions followed by Nebraska (3), South Dakota State (2), and Minnesota (1). The Sun Devils also had two finalists at both 149 and 165 for six total wrestlers in finals bouts.

At 125 lbs., Josh Kramer battled back through three consolation rounds prior to the third place match after Nebraska's Kris Williams bested him in the quarterfinals.

Ali Naser also made a comeback to the third place match after originally advancing to the semifinals of the main bracket at 133 lbs. In similar fashion, Josh Shields earned a third place finish (157 lbs.) after falling in the semis and working his way through the consolation bracket.

Josh Maruca and Oliver Pierce emerged as finalists at 149 lbs., with Maruca winning a 9-4 decision for first place and Pierce earning a second place finish. Anthony Valencia and Jacen Petersen ended in a tie for first at 165 lbs.

"Although it was a successful weekend, I am cautious because we still made mistakes and need to clean up several technical and tactical things. It's all part of the process of getting better."

Zahid Valencia (174 lbs.) and Tanner Hall (HWT) would finish the team's significant scoring with a pair of first place finishes to round out the Sun Devils' performance on the day. Each won four straight matches to earn the titles.

"I think we're ahead of schedule for November but certainly not the team we need to be in March. It'll be time to go back to work this week and get ready for New York next weekend."

Next weekend, the Sun Devils split between the Bearcat Open in Binghamton, NY and the Journeyman Classic in Troy, NY on Sunday, Nov. 13. ASU returns home to host top-five Ohio State in their regular season home opener on Saturday, Nov. 19 (1 p.m.).

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