Jackrabbit wrestlers open home slate with split

Zach Perry

Zach Perry

The Jackrabbit wrestling squad continued their season this past week with a split in two home matches against the Northern State Wolves (3-3) and the Northern Colorado Bears (4-9-1).

On Jan. 22, the Jacks recorded a 40-3 win over Northern State in Frost Arena. SDSU won nine matches in a row after falling behind 3-0. Scott Elliott started the winning ways with a 3-1 decision over Northern’s Donnie Bowdon at 174 pounds to tie the match at 3-3.

Zach Blindert would then notch a 7-2 decision over Chad Gibson at 184 pounds to give the Jacks a 6-3 lead they would not relinquish.

No. 16 Tyler Sorenson, Jason Stripling, Nick Flynn and newcomer Ryan Baxter each recorded wins by fall in the 197, heavyweight, 149 and 133- pound classes, respectively. Baxter – a sophomore from Rapid City – was recently brought on board to fill the hole in the 133-pound class but is no longer with the team.

Dustin Walraven added a 20-6 major decision in the 141-pound class, and both Alan Marvin and Weston Blasius also recorded wins for the Jacks.

On Jan. 25, it would be SDSU’s turn to get up early in the match only to watch the lead slip away, as they were defeated by Northern Colorado 29-15.

After falling behind 3-0, the Jackrabbits would take the lead after an 18-2 Sorenson win by technical fall, putting five points on the board.

Sorenson’s performance was followed by a Stripling victory by fall at 2:45 for an 11-3 SDSU lead. Stripling continues to be impressive in the heavyweight class, as his victory propels his duals record to 13-1 and his overall record to 25-9.

It seemed as though the Jacks were well on their way to a win in their conference opener, but the Bears had other ideas.

After a forfeit in the 125-pound class made the score 11-9, Northern Colorado went on to win the next five matches – a fall, technical fall and three decisions – to take an insurmountable 29-11 lead.

In the final match of the afternoon, at 174 pounds, SDSU’s Scott Elliott defeated Brandon Kammerzell by major decision 10-2 to make the final score 29-15. It was a tough loss, but head coach Jason Liles views it as an opportunity for SDSU’s young squad to gain experience.

“We have been starting 5 to 6 true freshman most matches,” coach Liles said, “and so far they have been doing a good job. They just need to keep progressing to get to another level.”

SDSU’s record on the season is now 7-6-1, and the Jacks will look to improve that record in conference play on the road this weekend.

The Jackrabbits will face a tough Wyoming team on Jan. 30 in Laramie at 8 p.m. The Cowboys are 7-2 overall this season and are coming off a 36-6 win over Duke and 12 days of rest.

“Wyoming is having a good year, but there is no difference in preparation this week,” Liles said. “We need to stay healthy and keep improving.”

Rest is a luxury that SDSU will not have, as the very next day they will travel south to Colorado Springs, Colo., to face the Air Force Academy (3-8) at 8:30 p.m.