Tuesday, September 28, 2021

2022: The Preseason: Arizona State Sun Devils

 Looks to be another great year for the Arizona State Sun Devils.  Last year produced a 4th place finish with 5 All Americans.  I think this year could be even better. They won't even remotely be challenged in the PAC-12.  It's so rewarding to see a team in the south doing so well.  And before you correct me, I realize that Arizona isn't "the south" as in how people think of "the south." What I'm saying here is that what states are below Arizona? South of Arizona?  MEXICO!  Arizona, a state where it doesn't get negative 90 below zero like it does in Montana, Wyoming and North Dakota.  My main point is, kids don't have a lot of nice winter climates to choose from when it comes to DI wrestling.  ASU provides one. 

I also want to comment on how Arizona State has become a home for wrestlers rejected by their old schools. If Old Dominion doesn't want a tremendous talent like Michael McGee, Arizona State does. If Fresno State gives Kyle Parco a shove out the door, Arizona State's door is wide open.  

Brandon Courtney 
Record: 69-19
NCAA: 20'NQ, 21'2nd 
PAC 12: 20'1st, 21'1st 
RENO: 19'6th
CKLV: 20'6th 

Last year's NCAA runner-up, 2021-2022 for Courtney will be a year of "Defending the Silver" because he'll have his work cut out for him if he wants to make an NCAA finals appearance against Spencer Lee of Iowa again. Very capable of doing so, but he has a HUGE target on his back and he'll need to be aware of that every step of the way.  PAC-12 wise, should easily win his third title. 

Michael McGee
Record: 84-20
NCAA: 18'NQ, 19'R12, 21'6th
MAC: 18'1st, 19'1st
PAC 12: 21'3rd
RENO: 19'3rd

Winning a PAC-12 title this season is certainly within doing for McGee, but he'll need to watch out for the upset.  Chance Rich of CSU-Bakersfield upset him last season and McGee also has to contend with 2021 PAC-21 champion Devan Turner of Oregon State.  McGee was 6th at the NCAA's last season and with the assortment of talent at 133 this year, I think somewhere in the 6th-8th place range is about where he'll finish again.  

Kyle Parco
Record: 35-6
NCAA: 21'6th
BIG 12: 21'3rd
RENO: 20'2nd 

With all of the hype, press and attention focused on Shane Griffith at Stanford, it is really a shame that Kyle Parco's story over at Fresno State got buried underneath it.  When Terry Tumey cold heartedly axed the wrestling program, Parco turned around and shoved it straight back in Tumey's face by having an All American performance of 6th at the NCAA's.  He'll be challenged by Stanford's Jaden Abas, but I do think winning a PAC-12 title is within Parco's grasp.  As to the NCAA's, I think Parco is as good as 3rd & maybe I ought to give him a bit more credit than that.  He gave Sammy Sasso of Ohio State all he could handle in an 11-10 loss. Is it asinine to think that he might be able to turn that into a win?  Either way, I am a big fan of this kid and hope with four years left to his resume, one of those includes a national title. 

Jacori Teemer
Record: 40-10
NCAA: 20'NQ, 21'4th
PAC 12: 20'1st, 21'1st 
MIDLANDS: 19'5th
CKLV: 20'8th 

This guy is quick, holy cow does he have speed. He'll cake walk his way through the PAC-12's. I'd like to think maybe Hunter Willits of Oregon State might give him a match, but he looked very comfortable in a 9-4 victory over him last season.  As to the NCAA's?  I think Teemer is capable of winning a national title. It's really a matter of being able to generate his offense.  Ryan Deakin of Northwestern beat him twice last season, 8-5 and 1-0. I didn't see the 8-5 match, but here is my take away from the 1-0 match.  Deakin did an outstanding job of overcrowding Teemer. He stayed right on top of him, making it impossible for Teemer to be able to get to his offense.  Honestly, same thing in his 4-1 loss to David Carr of Iowa State.  I think if Teemer can create distance, keep himself from getting tied up, that gives him space to get to his techniques.  If he can get to them, it's difficult to keep him from executing them.  

Anthony Valencia
Record: 100-26
NCAA: 17'R12, 18'NQ, 20'NQ*, 21'8th
PAC 12: 17'1st, 18'1st, 20'1st, 21'1st 
CKLV: 17'5th, 18'7th, 20'5th
MIDLANDS: 17'3rd, 18'4th, 19'R12

I think Anthony Valencia can win the NCAA title this season. I already know your rebuttal and I have a counter rebuttal of my own.  Yes, Keegan O'Toole tech'd Valencia 16-1 last season. Not taking anything away from him on that. Great win, under any circumstances. However, Valencia was hurt and let's look at a few other facts real quick. 

NCAA champion Shane Griffith of Stanford has but one loss in his varsity career (he lost twice as a redshirt) and that one loss is to Anthony Valencia.  Alex Marinelli of Iowa has only been pinned twice in his collegiate career, and I'll give you a guess as to who one of those two people are. (The other is David McFadden of Virginia Tech).  He majored Jake Wentzel of Pittsburgh, NCAA runner-up, 15-3.  He owns two falls and a major over All American Demetrius Romero of Utah Valley.  

Yes, I believe Valencia can win the NCAA title. 

With that said, winning a fifth PAC-12 title is going to be a challenge. Probably more of a challenge than it ever has been.  He could have to go through both Evan Wick of Cal Poly and Shane Griffith in route.  

Cael Valencia

Again, I rarely say much about freshmen who have yet to step onto a collegiate mat, but he is a Valencia. Chances are, he's gonna be good.  Calling a NCAA qualifier for now, maybe more by midseason. 

Kordell Norfleet
Record: 45-20
NCAA: 18'NQ, 20'NQ, 21'R12
PAC 12: 18'1st, 20'1st, 21'1st 

He'll completely dominate the PAC-12, I have no doubt about that.  As to the NCAA's? He's All American material, I'm just not sure where. Some great wins, such as 9-8 over Greg Bulsak and 4-3 tiebreaker over Jake Woodley. Yet some ugly losses, like 9-1 vs Rocky Elam.  At this point I'm thinking somewhere in the 6th-8th place range. 

Cohlton Schultz
Record: 25-3
NCAA: 21'4th
PAC 12: 21'1st 

Another shoe-in PAC-12 titlist for the Sun Devils, I think Schultz finishes in the same spot he did last year come NCAA's.  He's 0-2 vs Anthony Cassioppi of Iowa, having lost 4-1 and 5-0 to the Hawkeye.  Schultz relies on a lot of upperbody techniques and may have to try different strategies if he looks to turn such losses into wins.  Nevertheless, will have another standout season. 


125 - As good as Runner-up
133- 6th-7th-8th
141 - DNQ
149 - 3rd (What the hell, maybe even Runner-up) 
157 - Champion 
165 - Champion 
174 - NQ
184 - DNQ
197 - 6th-7th-8th
HWT - 4th 

That's the best I can see it happening for Arizona State and at that, what a great year.  The most All American Arizona State has ever produced in one season was 8 in 1990.  The second most was 7 in 1988 (also the year they won the NCAA team title).  They have a very good chance to tie that record again in 2022. 

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