Wrestling gets walloped on the road

Shane Koob

Shane KoobSportswriter

Youth and inexperience: two words that come to mind when looking at the roster and the win/loss column for the Jackrabbit wrestling team.

It’s not the team’s fault. After being swept 49-0 by #21 Wyoming last Friday, and with a 38-6 loss last Saturday to Air Force (both matches on the road), the Jacks have now faced five top-25 college wrestling teams.

“I thought the kids competed well,” head coach Jason Liles said. “We shifted some kids around in weight classes, but we were a bit overwhelmed.”

Overwhelmed indeed. The closest chance for victory against Wyoming came from senior Kevin Kelly in the heavyweight class, as he dropped a 4-1 decision to UW’s Matthew McLaughlin.

Against Air Force last Saturday, the Jacks did receive a bit of a spark from 125-pound sophomore Aaron Pickrel, who pinned AF’s Tyler Spangler in two minutes and 45 seconds. That victory pushed his record to 20-8 and was his sixth win by fall this season.

“His take down in the Air Force match was the best he’s had since he’s been here. It’s a shot he normally doesn’t do and he set it up perfect” Liles said.

The Jacks now stand at 1-11-1 overall, with a 0-4 record in the Western Wrestling Conference. With this weekend off, Coach Liles explained what we can see when the Jacks return to wrestling on Feb. 11 against North Dakota State at Frost Arena.

“We’re going to do some wrestle-offs at a couple of weights. We’re just going to break down and simplify some things. Try to refresh everybody as far as the mind and body” Liles said.

Liles also said he was pleased to see Pickrel, who had battled a leg injury in previous weeks, back on the mat.

Junior David Michaud has also battled a few injuries over the course of the season, and that has prompted Liles to possibly enter the two in an open tournament during the “bye” week.

“They (Pickrel and Michaud) haven’t had the number of matches the others have had” Liles said.

The Jacks are set to host two WWC match-ups, with NDSU on Feb 11, and Utah Valley on Feb. 18. Both matches will begin at 7 p.m. at Frost Arena. The two home matches will wrap up the regular conference season for SDSU. Then, on March 5, the NCAA West Regionals will be held in Colorado Springs, Colo. with a chance to advance to the NCAA Championships on St. Patrick’s Day (March 17) in Philadelphia, Penn.