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ASU tops UNC for seventh top-25 win of season

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- In the final regular-season meet of the season, the No. 5 Sun Devil wrestling team (15-2) took advantage in the back half of the lineup, taking six straight matches to defeat No. 8 North Carolina, 22-9 on Sunday afternoon at Carmichael Arena.

ASU ended the dual season 15-2 with seven top-25 wins and four top-15 wins. The win total is the most by a Sun Devil wrestling team since 1989-90, when the program finished with 18.

The bout with the Tar Heels began with Brandon Courtney (125) improving his dual record to 15-2 as he won by decision over Joey Melendez, 6-3.

UNC would counter with three straight decision wins at 133, 141 and 149. ASU contested in each match as the three wrestlers (Josh Kramer, Corey Crooks, Josh Maruca) lost by a combined four points, which came against ranked opponents, Zach Sherman (141) and 2019 All-American Austin O'Connor (149).

For the second consecutive match, Jacori Teemer (157) proved to come up clutch yet again over another ranked opponent as he pulled a reversal in the second overtime to beat No. 24 A.C. Headlee, 3-2. Teemer wraps up his first year of dual action in the Maroon and Gold with a 15-5 record and six bonus-point wins.

Following a ranked win for Teemer, senior Josh Shields had his own opportunity to add a ranked win to his resume as he went up against No. 14 Kennedy Monday. Shields didn't allow a takedown and took home the decision win, 6-2 to tie the score at nine apiece.

Redshirt junior Anthony Valencia got right back into his winning ways after falling to No. 3 Jordan Kutler on Friday. Valencia picked up his sixth major of the season over Clay Lautt, 10-2 to push his season win total to 20.

Cade Belshay (197) returned to form on Sunday afternoon as he took a decision win over Joey Mazzara for his first victory since early November. He will look to ride the momentum into Pac-12's in two weeks.

Kordell Norfleet and Tanner Hall finished off the Tar Heels with a pair of decision victories, as the Sun Devils got back on track leading into postseason action.

Next up, ASU will take a week off before heading to compete in the Pac-12 Championships in Palo Alto, California on Saturday, March 7. The all-day event will televised live on the Pac-12 App and Pac-12 Network Bay Area. To purchase tickets, visit https://gostanford.evenue.net/cgi-bin/ncommerce3/SEGetGroupList?prc=P12W&caller=PR&linkID=stanford&RDAT=&RSRC

Results:
125 - #8 Brandon Courtney (ASU) Dec Joey Melendez (UNC), 6-3
133 - Jaime Hernandez (UNC) Dec Josh Kramer (ASU), 7-6
141 -- #16 Zach Sherman (UNC) Dec Cory Crooks, 4-2
149 - #5 Austin O'Connor (UNC) Dec Josh Maruca, 4-2
157 - #12 Jacori Teemer (ASU) SV-2 #24 A.C. Headlee, 3-2
165 - #6 Josh Shields (ASU) Dec #14 Kennedy Monday (UNC), 6-2
174 - #9 Anthony Valencia (ASU) MD Clay Lautt (UNC), 10-2
184 - Cade Belshay (ASU) Dec Joey Mazzara, 8-6
197 - #9 Kordell Norfleet (ASU) Dec Brandon Whitman (UNC), 10-5
285 - #4 Tanner Hall (ASU) Dec Andrew Gunning (UNC), 2-1

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