The regular season is over for the SDSU wrestling team, as they now set their sights on the West Regional Tournament on March 7 in Greeley, Colo.
The Jacks finished with a mark of 9-11-1 in duals this year, but now it is all about individual matches and each wrestler pushing himself as far as he can go. The ultimate goal is to represent SDSU in the NCAA Tournament March 19 through 21 in St. Louis, Mo.
Last year in Fargo, the Jackrabbits finished last among six teams, tallying only 14 points and a record of 5-17. No Jackrabbit wrestler advanced to the NCAA Tournament, though Tyler Sorenson was voted first alternate in the 184-pound class. In last year’s regional, Northern Iowa placed first overall with 119 points and had six individual champions.
In Greeley, the Jackrabbits will try to better last year’s showing, and with senior Jason Stripling’s and Sorenson’s recent wrestling performances, the opportunity is certainly there.
Stripling had an impressive senior season, as he went 31-10 overall in the heavyweight division. With an 82-40 career record, Stripling is currently tied for 22nd on the SDSU all-time wins list. Stripling went 5-1 in matches against conference opponents this season, with two wins by fall, two by decision and one by forfeit. Stripling will look to continue his success this weekend. Stripling redshirted the 2007-08 season and did not wrestle in last year’s regional tournament.
Junior Tyler Sorenson also amassed a record of 5-1 against conference opponents this season, winning three matches by technical fall and two by major decision. His only loss came to No. 14, Andrew Anderson of Northern Iowa by way of a 6-5 decision in the final regular season match. Until that point, Sorenson was undefeated on the season, and he finished the year with a record of 12-1.
As a sophomore last season in Fargo, Sorenson was the best individual wrestler for the Jacks at the regional tournament. Sorenson entered as the top seed and finished in third place, having won three of four matches in the 184-pound class. Sorenson now wrestles in the 197-pound class and is currently No. 14 in the nation.
This year, the NCAA has determined that 13 wrestlers from the West Regional Tournament will receive automatic berths in the NCAA Tournament based on place finishes. Each weight class will receive at least one automatic bid to be given to the class champion. There are two bids up for grabs in each of the 149-, 184- and 197-pound classes.
When all regional tournaments have concluded, the NCAA Division I Wrestling Committee will meet to determine the allocation of 52 at-large tournament bids.