CSUB drops dual to No. 9 Arizona State


Redshirt-sophomore Dominic Balmer in action against Arizona State on Wednesday, Jan. 24

Brad Meyer


The CSU Bakersfield wrestling team competed well against nationally ranked No. 9 Arizona State University on Wednesday, Jan. 24. However, the Roadrunners fell 24-14 with implications of a victory going down to the last two weight classes.

“Our guys always want to come out and wrestle with a chip on their shoulder and it seems like the better the opponent the more they want to battle,” said CSUB Head Coach Manny Rivera. “Some of those matches we lost I think we still had a lot of fight and really that’s what I expected from them.”

The dual meet started with redshirt-sophomore, Jacob Thalin. At 165 pounds, Thalin went the distance against his nationally-ranked opponent but fell 12-4 by major decision. 

Bryan Battisto (174) had the opportunity to challenge the nation’s number-one wrestler. A tough fought match that ended late in the third period due to a technical fall 25-9. 

Dominic Ducharme (184), after a well-executed single leg takedown late in the second period tied up his match 5-5 going into the third. Late in the third period, Ducharme and his opponent stayed tied 7-7. The final score would go to ASU, 9-7.

After three straight falls from CSUB, Matt Williams (197), ranked No. 14 in the country would be the first to come away with a victory. In the second period, he dominated the match having back to back takedowns one of which, a very high single leg that lead to four points near fall. He went up 11-2 going into the third and kept his wide margin finishing the match with a major decision 13-4. 

When asked about seeing ASU again in the Pac-12 Championship Matt Williams said, “The goal is to crush them now so that later when it comes, they don’t want anything to do with it. [This] confidence comes from our training.”

Up next, following the win we would see Mark Penyascek (184) fall to a top-five nationally ranked opponent. This match would go to a technical fall 23-8 in the third period. 

The redshirt-senior, Sergio Mendez (125), who had a comeback win against Fresno State Dec. 8 would again pull off another come from behind exciting finish. Down 10-7 with a minute left in the third, his aggressive takedown quickly lead to an additional four points near fault to secure his victory 13-10. 

Mendez said about his come-from-behind victories he attested his success to keeping composure, staying aggressive and wrestling all three rounds.

“I knew that if I couldn’t turn him on top I’d have to cut em’, I stayed aggressive and he went for a big move and I caught up em’ on his back [and] got some four near fault.,” siad Mendez.

Sean Nickell (133) wrestled well and ensured another victory for CSUB. The score was low finishing at 3-0 but that was due to Nickell’s ability to ride strong and prevent his opponent from escaping.

After back-to-back victories Russell Rohlfing (141) kept CSUB’s streak going with another dominant win. The first period was full of action however neither side scored. The second period belonged to Rohlfing and he would go up 5-0. Rohlfing, finished the match 7-0. He is ranked No. 25 in the nation, and helped bring the Roadrunners’ score to 14-17, only down three points for a possible victory over No. 9 ASU.

With two matches left, sophomore Kalani Tonge (149) faced a quality opponent who won during nationals in 2016. Tonge lost the tough fought match 5-1 but showed a lot of power and confidence holding his own the whole three rounds.

Last to wrestle was No. 16 Coleman Hammond (157). Hammond would wrestle three rounds, however ASU’s No. 6, Josh Shields, would take the victory to seal off ASU’s win over CSUB.

The next home dual for the Roadrunners will be another Pac-12 dual Jan. 31 at 7 p. m. against Cal Poly in the Icardo Center.