Of the 31 wrestlers on UC Davis’ roster, only six are returning from last season.
Of those six, five were unable to compete Friday night against No. 17 Arizona State.
This proved to be a major disadvantage as the nationally ranked Sun Devils defeated the Aggies by a final score of 38-6 in the season opener for both teams.
In the ten bouts on Friday night, junior captain Ricky Alcala was the only upperclassman to compete for the Aggies. He won his match in the 285-pound bracket by decision over Eric Nye.
Along with Alcala, eight redshirt freshmen suited up against Arizona State and despite a loss, showed they could handle adversity.
“I think we did better than our score showed,” Alcala said, “but as long as our guys didn’t quit and wrestled hard, I’m okay with it. We’re upset but we can’t take it too hard because it’s the first time for these guys and Arizona State is no slouch team. They’re in our conference for the Pac-10, and along with Boise State they are our toughest competition.”
Alcala and Nye were tied 1-1 after three periods. The score remained through a sudden death overtime period and two 30-second rideouts.
In the second rideout, Alcala used a quick escape and earned two points for a takedown leading to a final score of 4-3.
Alcala’s victory at the 285-pound class proved to be one of just two individual wins for the Aggies.
The other UC Davis win came in the 197-pound class.
Rory McBryde defeated Michael Hawkins by holding him down for one minute longer than Hawkins was able to hold McBryde down.
Called “riding time,” the extra point awarded to McBryde led to a 3-2 decision.
While the Aggies were unable to come out with the victory in their conference opener, coach Lenny Zalesky was still pleased with what he saw in his team.
“I feel that my team fought,” Zalesky said. “We knew it would be tough going into this match, but with having so many guys out on injuries, we still competed really well in the individual matches.”
Zalesky hopes his team will have battled through the injuries by this weekend as it travels to compete in the Fullerton Open on Saturday.
GRACE SPRAGUE can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.