It’s been 81 days and counting since the South Dakota State wrestling team has lost a dual match.
A historic winning streak for the Jackrabbits has now grown to 13 wins, a school record.
The No. 12 Jacks (13-2, 7-0) were successful on their East Coast trip, defeating Pittsburgh 25-13 and West Virginia 24-9.
Now, the focus for Chris Bono and the Jacks will shift to rival North Dakota State.
“We have to make sure that we take care of business Friday night and then we will get ready for the conference tournament,” Bono said.
The Jacks are expected to beat their Big 12 opponent. The Bison are unranked in the latest Intermat standings.
The Bison (7-9, 1-6) picked up their first Big 12 conferencewin this season. However, it’s uncommon for a team to have an entire week off at this point of conference play.
“They will be rested up,” Bono said. “We know they plan their schedule around trying to beat us.”
SDSU and NDSU match up evenly, as most of their strengths are at the same weight classes. The Jacks outnumber the Bison in ranked wrestlers six to one.
The top wrestler for the Jacks, No. 1 Seth Gross, kept rolling this past weekend. Gross recorded two wins including a 7-2 decision over Matthew Schmitt of West Virginia.
As the No. 1 wrestler in the 133-weight class, Bono has noticed wrestlers treating Gross differently.
“These guys are going out and clamming up against Gross,” Bono said. “They are laying on their bellies and just trying to not get pinned.”
Gross will be facing off against a former SDSU wrestler, and fellow Minnesotan, Cameron Sykora at the 133-weight class.
The matchup of the night will come from the 157-weight class, with No. 12 Luke Zilverberg and No. 8 Clayton Ream colliding with each other.
Ream, at the 157-weight class, is the top wrestler for the Bison. Ream has been on a tear this season, going 19-3. Zilverberg and Ream will face off in a ranked match. At the previous match between the two at the Bison Open in November, Ream won in an 8-3 decision.
“(Ream) has gotten the better of us over the years, that’s the match we want,” Bono said.
Last week, Zilverberg ranked 18th on the career wins list for SDSU.
Another Jack who is coming off of a big week is sophomore Henry Pohlmeyer.
“[I’m] really excited for Henry, he proved a point,” Bono said. “Hopefully we can get him in the talks for a NCAA qualifying spot.”
Pohlmeyer was able to get bonus points for the Jacks in both dual meets. Against Pitt, Pohlmeyer pinned Nick Zanetta in 5:36. Against WVU, Pohlmeyer managed to record bonus points for the Jacks with an 11-3 major decision against Christian Monserrat.
Pohlmeyer will face either freshman McGwire Midkiff or redshirt sophomore Nico Colunga. Where Pohlmeyer could have the opportunity to get bonus points once again.
At the 165-weight class, there will be an opportunity for the Jacks to get a big win against a wrestler who has been bouncing around the rankings this season.
NDSU’s Andrew Fogarty will be facing off against junior Logan Peterson. Despite the 165-weight class being a bit of a revolving door, Bono was adamant that the Jacks will be sticking with Peterson.
The Jacks have struggled in the 149-weight class this year. Senior Isaac Andrade filled in for redshirt freshman Colten Carlson against West Virginia. Bono said he expects Carlson to be back in the lineup against NDSU.
A weak spot for the Bison is at the 174-weight class, however, David Kocer will be coming off a historic week. Kocer became the second Jack to record 100 career wins in Division I history.
He will be facing off against a weak link in the Bison lineup, Dylan Urbach, who is 3-7 on the season.
The Battle for the Border Bell will start at 7 p.m. Feb. 17 in Frost Arena.
“Our guys will be fired up, it’s against NDSU,” Bono said. “We will have them ready to go.”