Zahid Valencia

Riley Thomas, Business Manager

Zahid Valencia, a wrestler from Arizona State, shocked the wrestling world heard about Valencia will be suspended for using substances right after he won gold at the Matteo Pellicone International. Although it was a recreational drug and not a performance enhancement drug, Valencia was still suspended. Arizona will now had to rely on a new starter (Austin Clayton) for their last two competitions of their season. The Pac 12 championships were coming up soon and it was unclear if he would wrestle or not. If he was not able to wrestle he would no longer be able to wrestle at the NCAA tournament.

Valencia had a 3-0 record that led to dual victories. Valencia wrestled at 184 pounds and was ranked No. 1 for his weight class. Valencia was also a two time NCAA champion while wrestling in the 174 weight class. His overall record was 121-3, one of the highest amount of wins in ASU history.

His season record was 20-0. While Valencia was suspended for use of drugs, he was also not able to compete in the U.S. Olympic Wrestling trials. Losing Valencia as a starter for 184, ASU had a major disadvantage for winning the NCAA Championship. ASU’s coach Zeke Jones said. “Our goals remain the same, we want to kick some butt. This is still a really exciting group of guys. That’s why I’m keeping my chin up.”

Even though ASU lost a major contributor to the team, they still had multiple nationally ranked wrestlers including his brother Anthony Valencia who wrestled at 174 weight class. In his 2017 season, Valencia earned No.1 seed by being undefeated. He had to wrestle Mark Hall from Penn state, where he had lost and placed third in the championship. That was the same place Zahid Valencia made a name and reputation for himself.