Sorenson Omaha bound

David Michaud

David Michaud

SDSU’s Tyler Sorenson won the 197 weight division at the Western Wrestling Conference (WWC) March 6 at Frost Arena, securing his second straight trip to nationals.

The Jacks placed four other wrestlers in the top four. David Michaud took home true second honors at 184 and Aaron Pickrel 125, Dustin Walraven 141 and Kevin Kelly 285 all recorded fourth-place finishes. As a team the Jacks placed sixth.

“Our kids wrestled well,” said head coach Jason Liles. “Getting a champ, a true second and three fourth-place finishes was good for us.”

The high point for the Jacks was the same as it had been all season, senior Tyler Sorenson. Sorenson entered the tournament with the No. 1 seed and left the same way. He won his first two matches 7-4 and 7-3 over Neil Delaney and Josh Wood before putting on his most impressive performance of the night.

In the finals, Sorenson met a familiar foe, NDSU’s Drew Ross. Having wrestled Ross only 16 days earlier, Sorenson was well aware of the challenges he presented. In this match, though, it appeared that there were no challenges at all. Sorenson went out fast and strong, taking an early lead and never looking back, winning the match by technical fall 17-2 at the end of regulation.

With this win, Sorenson becomes the first Jackrabbit wrestler in the Division I era to qualify for the national tournament twice.

“Sorenson had a great weekend and we look forward to him representing our university and wrestling program at the national tournament,” said assistant coach Zach Schaffer.

At 184, David Michaud entered the tournament unseeded but battled his way for a true second-place finish. Michaud’s first match looked like most of his others, as he lost to Air Force’s James Ciccone 11-5. That match would be Michaud’s only loss on the day.

Michaud would win his next four matches over Patrick Prentice of Northern Colorado, Kenny Moenkedick of NDSU, Monte Shmaulhaus of Utah Valley and Andy O’Loughlin of UNI. With the four wins in a row Michaud posted SDSU’s only true second of the tournament.

The heavyweight bracket offered a small surprise for the Jacks, as Kevin Kelly recorded his second win of the season to take a fourth-place finish for the Jacks. Kelly’s first match was another close battle as he lost to Christian Brantley of UNI 6-2. He would then get a bye and face No. 2 seed Justin Tell of Northern Colorado.

Kelly avenged a loss earlier in the season by beating Tell 3-1, putting him in the third place match. In the third place match Kelly would suffer his first pin-loss of the day against LJ Helbig of Wyoming, giving him fourth place.

At possibly the toughest weight class in the conference, 141, SDSU’s Dustin Walraven missed out on an automatic bid to nationals by one match.

In the only weight offering three automatic bids, Walraven needed to win his third-place bout against Kenneth Hashimoto in order to become only the third SDSU wrestler ever to qualify for the D-I national tournament.

It was not to be though, as Hashimoto again proved to be too good for Walraven to overcome.

With Hashimoto leading 4-3 at the end of the third period, Walraven had to go for anything he could get. Unfortunately, it wasn’t anything that would work against a savvy wrestler such as Hashimoto, as he instead recorded the takedown and the win 6-3. With the loss and fourth place finish, Walraven was knocked from making the national tournament.

The other SDSU place-winner was Aaron Pickrel at 125. Pickrel would go 2-2 on the day, recording another fourth place finish for the Jacks.

In his third-place match Pickrel faced a man he beat earlier in the day, Anthony Mustari of UNC. This match would be very different than the first, as Mustari would win 8-3.

Other SDSU wrestlers that competed in the meet were 133 Tyler Johnson, 149 Nick Hagar, 157 Nick Flynn and 165 Seth Moe. None of these wrestlers recorded any wins at the tournament.

SDSU’s only senior, Tyler Sorenson, will compete at the Division I National Tournament in Omaha, Neb. between March 18-20.