Anthony Robles just continues to do what he does best. He just keeps on winning.
The Arizona State senior, who began his rise to wrestling fame when he compiled a 92-0 record during his final two years at nearby Mesa High School, was the lone Sun Devil to win a title at the Cliff Keen/Las Vegas Invitational.
Robles was born with one leg, which hasn’t hampered him in the least as he has crafted a stellar college career at 125 pounds. He’s now 9-0 on the season and just five wins from reaching 100 for his career.
ASU was ranked No. 22 going into the Las Vega Invite, but that national mark can be attributed in large part to Robles and fellow senior, Bubba Jenkins, who transferred in from Penn State to wrestle his final year in Tempe.
Jenkins was the 2008 NCAA runner-up at 149 pounds, but now competes in the 157 weight class. He took second place in Las Vegas, one of three Sun Devil wrestlers to place in the Top 8 of their respective classes and help their team to a tie for 12th place.
The other Top 8 finisher was Jake Meredith, a junior from California, who took eighth at 184 pounds.
Robles was dominant as usual in the tournament, opening with a 16-0 score over Jarrod Garnett of Virginia Tech, who is ranked No. 7 in the country. In the final, he won a major decision over eighth-ranked Jarrod Patterson of Oklahoma and finished the event 5-0 with a combined score of 71-5 over his five opponents.
Jenkins scored a 3-2 decision over sixth-ranked Bryce Saddoris of Navy to open, but it was the final, a grudge match with Adam Hall, that drew a lot of attention.
He took on third-ranked Hall of Boise State, whom he had beaten in a 12-4 major decision earlier in the season at the NWCA All-Star Classic, and grappled to an overtime decision. Hall got his revenge this time, but not until the second period of overtime when Jenkins started down and was unable to escape.
Meredith was able to guarantee a Top 8 finish in his 184 class with an opening-day 3-1 upset of 18th-ranked Tommy Spellman of Virginia Tech.
Shawn Charles is in his second season as head coach of the wrestling team, only the sixth in the program’s 47-year history. He’s trying to return the program to the prominence it enjoyed in the early ’90s when he was an All-American at ASU and the school won three Pac-10 championships and enjoyed Top 10 national rankings.
His next step on the road back will be in Nevada on Dec. 19, when his Sun Devils will take part in the Reno Tournament of Champions.
(Photo: ASU Athletics/Alex Ryan)