Wrestling team achieves historic win with victory over Utah Valley State

Kirk Danielson

Kirk Danielson

The SDSU wrestling team has been capturing victory after victory durinthe past few weeks. With big wins at the Virginia Duals, and a good showing against Utah Valley State at home last weekend, the team has upped its record to 5-4 going into the second half of the season.

The Jacks started out the season 1-4, with the team’s only win coming against Campbell University (North Carolina) at the North Carolina State Duals. The team has stepped it up recently. With injuries behind them, trophy in hand and their eyes west, they are looking to finish the season strong as a part of the Western Wrestling Conference.

On Jan. 12 and 13, the Jacks swept the competition to win the American College Division Title at the Virginia Duals, in Hampton, Va. In the first match, SDSU crushed Anderson University (South Carolina), 49-6. Later in the day, the team fell behind, 9-0, before rattling off seven straight victories to win, 30-9, against Roger Williams (Rhode Island). In the final test, SDSU won its last eight matches to finish off Newport News Apprentice (Virginia), 31-7, and brought the trophy back to SDSU.

“I’m really proud of the guys, the whole team. We needed to go out and get a big W and win that thing, and bring back something here so that we can show something,” said redshirt freshman Tyler Sorenson.

Last Saturday, the Jacks hosted their first home dual match of the season against the Utah Valley State Wolverines at Frost Arena. The 500-plus fans in attendance watched as the Jacks avenged last season’s 25-16 loss to the Wolverines by winning big, 34-6, in their inaugural meet as a part of the Western Wrestling Conference.

Derek Pirner (141), Sean Flynn (157), Ryan Meyer (165), Nate Althoff (174), Tyler Sorensen (184) and Jason Stripling (heavyweight) all won their respective matches for the Jackrabbits. Stripling capped off the match with the team’s only pinfall of the night in the first period.

“Utah Valley State is hard to wrestle, because they don’t wrestle a conventional style. They kind of hang back and make you do all the work. I think it was difficult for some of our winding down, junior young guys to figure that out,” said Head Coach Jason Liles.

The victory against Utah Valley State was historical for the Jackrabbits. It was their first victory as part of the Western Wrestling Conference.

“We’ve been telling the guys all week, that this is something you don’t realize now, but it’s a little piece of history that can never change. You win this dual, you’ll be part of a first big win in a new conference, and that doesn’t happen very often,” said Liles.

Redshirt freshman Tyler Sorenson said, “It’s like coach said, we made history tonight.”

Part of the reason for the recent success of the Jackrabbits has been the performance of some redshirt freshmen.

“We got like four or five guys that were redshirted last year, and that was a really good redshirt class. And this year, we got them eligible to wrestle, and they’ve all stepped up big for us,” said senior Brad Gregory.

This weekend the Jacks head west to Oregon to take on Portland State and Pacific University.

“We’re on a swing now, this is our fourth win in a row, and hopefully we can keep that going now that we’re back in our core conference schools,” said Liles. “We’re hoping that we can go out there and have a good western roadtrip and win two, push our win streak to six in a row and then come back home.”

The Jacks will be at home next on Feb. 2 and 3, to take on Eastern Illinois and Northern Colorado.

#1.883869:804531713.jpg:tm1-21-07 Wrestling (46).jpg:SDSU’s Nate Althoff squares off against Marc Fenwick of Utah Valley State on Jan. 20 in Frost Arena. Althoff defeated Fenwich 4-2 in the 174-pound weight class in the Jackrabbit victory.:Troy Miller