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Valencia repeats as champ in Vegas, named OW

Zahid Valencia was named Outstanding Wrestler in Vegas (Photo/Tony Rotundo, WrestlersAreWarriors.com)

LAS VEGAS -- For the second consecutive year, No. 6 Arizona State's Zahid Valencia won the 174 lbs. title at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational, also named the Most Outstanding Wrestler of the Tournament. Winning six straight matches en route to the title, Valencia remains undefeated on the season.

The Sun Devils also improved four places as a team from last season, going from seventh to third in 2017. ASU finished with 113.5 points behind No. 2 Ohio State (155.5) and No. 9 Michigan (140).

A third-place finish was the best for ASU in over 17 years and the first top-five finish since finishing fifth in 2005.

The Sun Devils have had title winners at CKLV in three of the last four seasons, with Blake Stauffer also winning (184) in 2014.

Last season, Valencia became just the second Sun Devil freshman to win a CKLV title after Eric Larkin.

"It feels pretty good knowing that the hard work I've put in with my coaches and teammates resulted in a win, so I'd say it was a pretty successful weekend," said Valencia.

Like in 2016, the Sun Devils had placewinners in five of 10 weights, with Josh Shields improving from a fifth-place finish last year to third-place this year and Tanner Hall moving up from fourth to second.

Josh Maruca (149/5th), Anthony Valencia (165/7th) also finished in the top eight in their respective weight classes, with A. Valencia placing for the second straight season.

The Sun Devils take a break from competition until the Midlands Championships (Dec. 29-30) at the end of the month and will restart dual competition after the new year.

Comments

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jackstraww (1) a week and a half ago
I think they should have given to one of the freshmen that wrestled well above their seed. LaMont or Yanni should have one the award imo.