Sorenson raises bar for future wrestlers

David Michaud

David Michaud

Tyler Sorenson became the first SDSU wrestler since the transition to Division I to win a match at the national tournament. The tournament was held in Omaha, Neb., from March 18 to 20.

Sorenson’s opening match against fourth-seeded Cam Simaz of Cornell (who went on to place third) was not what the Jacks wanted, though. Simaz began the match quickly, going up 7-2 in the first period. The match would only get worse from there, as Sorenson would lose 15-7.

After losing his first match, Sorenson took on James Hamel of Buffalo on the first night of competition. Sorenson appeared to be on his way to another two-and-out like last year, going behind 3-0 at the start of the second.

“The first round I didn’t wrestle great and was flat on my feet,” said Sorenson. “I knew I just had to turn it up and keep on him, and I could break him.”

Sorenson was not to be denied, though, coming back strong to record a takedown and two-point nearfall to end the period up 4-3. At the start of the third period, Sorenson recorded a quick escape to push the lead to 5-3, where it would stay for the rest of the match.

“You go to the national tournament with the expectation to win and be an All-American, so there’s quite a bit of pressure there, especially after being there last year and not having the success he wanted,” said head coach Jason Liles. “The win gave Sorenson confidence and took some pressure off him.”

Sorenson kept the ball rolling in his next match against 10-seeded Jesse Strawn of Old Dominion.

“He was wrestling to win, trying not to make any mistakes going into this match, so we felt like we had a good chance,” said Liles.

The match started the same way as his previous win, with Sorenson getting taken-down. That would be all the offense Strawn had in the match, though. Sorenson recorded a quick reversal, and from there it was the Jackrabbit’s match.

Tied at two with Sorenson where he is best at, on top, it was only a matter of time before he would record the near-fall. With the three point near-fall, Sorenson would take a 5-2 lead into the second period against the favored Strawn. The second period would end without either man scoring a point. In the third period Sorenson would score another three point near-fall and a riding time point to take the win 9-2, furthering his record-setting tournament.

That would be his last win and the end of his national tournament experience. His last match of the day came against unseeded Brent Jones of Virginia.

The match was not exactly what Sorenson wanted for the last match of his career, as he was pinned in 30 seconds by the man who went on to win the “most falls” award at the tournament.

“I think I would have been happy before the tournament if I knew that Sorenson would go 2-2. He got a taste of what it’s like to get some wins. He beat the 10th-seeded wrestler,” said Liles. “We wrestled some good people and had a good showing. I’m happy we wrestled well.”

Liles believes that Sorenson’s showing can only lead to good things for the Jacks going forward.

“Tyler set the standard that we can not only get to the national tournament but win matches there. It raises the bar that just qualifying isn’t good enough, you have to win while you’re there. That’s one step closer to our ultimate goal, which is to become an All-American,” said Liles.

Sorenson finishes his career tied for 24th on the all-time wins list. His season record ends at 31-7, SDSU’s second 30-win wrestler since the move to D-I. He was only the second Jackrabbit to qualify for the NCAA D-I tournament and the first two-time qualifier since the transition.