Wrestling opens Pac-12 play against Arizona State

Danny Rice, Sports Reporter

A wrestling double-header starts Friday against Arizona State

By Danny Rice

Sports Reporter

With the Beavers being idle last weekend, head coach Jim Zalesky took the opportunity to put his team through their hardest training session since November. 

“It was crazy hard,” said No. 10 redshirt sophomore heavyweight Amarveer Dhesi. “Our team is looking good now. We needed it and we are now ready for this weekend.”

The No. 20 Beavers (5-4) start the weekend by heading down to the desert to open their Pac-12 schedule by squaring off against Arizona State on Friday at 4 p.m. The Beavers have a quick turnaround as they travel back home Saturday where they will face off against Northern Colorado at Gill Coliseum on Sunday at 2 p.m. 

Lineup Change

Zalesky and the Beavers are optimistic redshirt sophomore 141-pounder Jack Hathaway (9-9) is able to return this weekend after missing the last dual meet due to a shoulder injury. 

“(Hathaway) drilled last week and wrestled hard this week,” Zalesky said. “So hopefully he’ll be good to go for Friday.”

If Hathaway is unable to wrestle, Oregon State will again turn to redshirt junior Jared Reis (12-7) who wrestled in Hathaway’s place in the dual meet against Wyoming.

Pac-12 Opener

The Beavers are well aware of the significance of this weekend and in particular, their dual meet against Arizona State as it will have big implications.

“This match will be important for seeding down the road,” Zalesky said. “It is also important for us to keep the momentum going so we have to be ready to wrestle.”

Oregon State is 19-18 all-time against the Sun Devils (9-7, 0-2 Pac-12) with the Beavers winning eight of the last nine duals. 

While Arizona State has gone 0-2 in their Pac-12 bouts this season, they defeated a Utah Valley team that clipped the Beavers earlier in the season. 

The Beavers will also look to play spoilers Friday, as Arizona State will be having senior night, highlighted by No. 15 senior 149-pounder Matt Kraus (18-5) and No. 6 redshirt senior 184-pounder Blake Stauffer (14-2).

Northern Colorado’s Season

The Bears (2-4, 0-3 Big 12) will face Boise State Friday before traveling west to face the Beavers. They come into this weekend’s bouts coming off defeating a fellow Pac-12 opponent in Cal Poly 22-19.

Northern Colorado features redshirt seniors 149-pounder Tommy Box (23-9) and 197-pounder Trent Noon (18-6) who were ranked No. 32 and No. 18, respectively, by the coaches’ rankings released last week. 

The Bears will have a local talent on display Sunday when they trot out junior 157-pounder Eleazar De Luca (11-3), who attended Phoenix High School in Talent, Ore. He was a three-time high school state champion and attended Clackamas Community College before deciding to enroll at Northern Colorado. 

Oregon State is 19-7 all-time against the Bears with the Beavers winning 40-6 last season in Greeley, Co. 

Redshirt sophomore 197-pounder Cody Crawford is confident his team will get another win in front of the home fans.

“(Northern Colorado) has some tough guys, but if we go out and pressure them the whole time, we should get the job done.”

Important Matchups

In the only top-20 matchup of the weekend, Dhesi will get a chance to avenge one of his three losses when he faces No. 12 freshman Tanner Hall. Hall got the best of Dhesi 6-5 at the Midlands Championships in December. 

“For me, it’s just another match,” Dhesi said. “After my Olympic trials (in Canada), I took some time off and in my first tournament back, I faced him and didn’t do so well. But I’m ready now and I’m ready to go.”

Zalesky is anxious to see how redshirt freshman 184-pounder Corey Greigo does against a highly ranked wrestler in Stauffer

“(Greigo) has done well against other guys and hasn’t wrestled the same against ranked guys,” Zalesky said. “So we’ll see if he wrestles Stauffer like everyone else.”

Crawford is going to have his hands full Sunday when he faces Noon, a wrestler he’s lost to the last two times they’ve faced each other. 

“I’m always training to beat someone,” Crawford said. “He’s got me the past couple years at the end of the match. I just need to pressure him the whole time and I should come out on top.”

On Twitter @DRice1730