Arizona State's 21st-ranked wrestlers stand 11th after the first day of the 44-team Cliff Keen/Las Vegas Invitational at the Star of the Desert Arena in Primm, Nev.
Junior 125-pounder Anthony Robles pinned three of his four opponents and scored a technical fall on the day to advance to the semifinals and is one of four Sun Devils still alive in the competition with all four guaranteed a place among the top eight in the prestigious annual event.
No. 4 Ohio State leads the overall team race with 89 points while No. 9 Cornell (79), No. 12 Oklahoma (76), No. 7 Boise State (68.5) and No. 11 Nebraska (67) round out the top 5. The Sun Devils have accumulated 52.5 points and will look to add more on the final day of competition and return to the top 15 for the first time in three years.
Robles, ranked No. 2 nationally and seeded second in the tournament, opened the day with a pin of Seth Chavez (New Mexico Highlands) in 2:21 of the first period and went on to pin Kyle McCrite (North Idaho) in 3:59. Robles then stuck Kyle O’Brien (Western State) in 2:09 before winning a 17-2 technical fall (in 4:29) over seventh-seeded Jarod Patterson (Oklahoma) in the quarterfinals. Robles will face sixth-seeded and 12th-ranked Michael Martinez (Wyoming) in the semifinals on Saturday.
The three other Sun Devils remaining in the competition include Ben Ashmore at 133 pounds, Chris Drouin at 141 pounds and Erik Nye at heavyweight. Ashmore, seeded eighth in the tournament, won his first two matches with one-point decisions as he downed Eric Spint (Virginia Tech), 1-0, and Flint Ray (Utah Valley), 6-5. In the quarterfinals, he dropped a 12-3 major decision to top-seeded and 12th-ranked Tyler Graff (Wisconsin) to fall into the consolation rounds where he won another one-point decision, 5-4, over CJ Napier (Nebraska).
Drouin entered the tournament undefeated, ranked third in the nation and seeded second in the tournament and won two decisions to open his day. After taking down Mike Koehnlein (Nebraska), 7-2, and Juan Archuletta (Purdue), 8-2, Drouin suffered his first loss of the year as seventh-seeded and 18th-ranked Levi Jones (Boise State) won a 5-2 decision. In the consolation round, Drouin defeated Cole Schmitt (Wisconsin) to advance to the placement rounds on Saturday.