Jacks impress in 2010 Daktronics Open

David Michaud

David MichaudSportswriter

The Jackrabbit wrestling team opened their season at the Warren Williamson/ Daktronics Open on Nov. 6 with 19 wrestlers competing.

The tournament, which featured over 10 teams, was the first of the season for wrestlers in our area, with all of the SDSU freshmen making their college wrestling debuts.

SDSU head wrestling coach Jason Liles felt good about the team’s performance.

“Overall it was good, we had some good showings, we had some not so good showings,” Liles said. “In an early tournament like that you can count on that to happen.”

On the mat, SDSU had its strongest finish from redshirt and junior, David Michaud, at 174. Michaud finished the day with the Jacks’ only first place finish, while recording four pins and receiving the Outstanding Wrestler award and Most Pins award.

Dustin Walraven, moving up to 149 this year, also put out a strong performance for the Jacks, placing third. On the way to his third place finish, Walraven defeated the No. 3 ranked wrestler in Division II, Augustana’s Nate Herda 7-3 in a thriller match that featured several overtimes.

In his semi-final match Walraven would lose to Division II’s top wrestler at 149, Esai Dominguez from University of Nebraska-Omaha. He would then battle his way through wrestle backs to take home third.

Another Jackrabbit wrestler took third as Aaron Pickrel came back from a quarterfinal defeat and made it to the consolation finals at 125. Pickrel lost to Josh Heinzer of Iowa Central, in a tight 6-5 match before rattling off four consecutive wins to take home third place. In the third place match Pickrel downed Al Meger of Augustana College, winning by a 4-1 decision.

Two Jackrabbit wrestlers placed fifth in SDSU’s home tournament. Senior heavyweight, Kevin Kelly, and junior 157 Nick Flynn, both won their final matches of the day, giving SDSU more placers in the Daktronics Open.

Kelly lost his second match of the day to Northern State’s Matt Meuleners 4-2 before reeling off two more wins. He then would fall into the fifth place match where he picked up the win via injury default.

Flynn got his day started with two wins, his first by pin over Ian Mills who was wrestling unattached. He would make it to the semi-finals before losing to NDSU’s Vince Salminen, who went on to take first.

His next match was against another Bison, Steven Monk, and the result was the same as Flynn dropped the match 15-3. Flynn’s final match of the day came against Austin Carmichael from Augustana. Flynn posted his second pin of the day to take the fifth place prize.

The Jackrabbit upperclassmen were not the only ones who placed for SDSU, freshman Tony Vaske and Chris Pilot both placed sixth in their first ever college tournament. Vaske and Pilot both finished the day 2-3, with Pilot injury defaulting out of his final match due to an ankle injury.

“The young guys competed well for their first competition. We definitely have some things to work on, but we’re focusing on the positives,” Schafer said.

There were several other freshmen competing for SDSU as well, and the coaches were pleased with what they saw.

“We learned how the young guys compete and how they battle on the mat,” said Liles. “We liked some of what we saw and we saw some things that we will need to change. We’re just going to keep working and getting better from here.”

SDSU will next travel to the Northwestern Duals on Sunday, Nov. 14 at Evanston, Ill.