Tyler Jones became a four-time all-American as he won second place at the NCAA Division II National Championships at Wheeling, West Virginia, last weekend.
SDSU ended the weekend with three All-Americans and a tenth-place finish in the team standings. Despite the successes, Coach Jason Liles expressed an overall sense of disappointment about the weekend.
Jones earned his 100th career victory with a pin in the first round of the 184-pound bracket. He then claimed a technical fall victory and another decision to advance into the championship round for a rematch of last year’s title match against Mauricio Wright of San Francisco State.
The match was a scoreless tie until the third period when Wright gained two critical points on a reversal and gained a third point for time advantage to pull out a 3-2 victory over Jones for the national title at 184.
Jones ended his season with a 30-2 record. The four-time All-American ended his SDSU career with a 102-17 mark and is one of only twelve Jackrabbit wrestlers to reach 100 career wins. Jones is now tenth on the all-time victories list among SDSU wrestlers.
“I thought Jones did everything he could,” Liles said.
Bryan Cowdin at 174 lost by pin in the first round, but won his next two matches to secure All-American status. After receiving another defeat, Cowdin pinned Kutztown’s Nick Brumbaugh and avenged his first-round defeat to claim seventh place and end his first season at SDSU with an 18-13 record.
“Cowdin had a good tournament and wrestled solid,” Liles said.
Tim Boldt at 197 started off the tournament with a loss to second-ranked Jeff Rusher of Chadron State. Then he struck
back with three consecutive major decisions in the consolation bracket before falling again to Rusher. Boldt then won his final match to claim fifth place, capping off a 34-10 season; the All-American’s 34 wins led SDSU for the season.
“Boldt had a solid tournament,” Liles said.
Jeremy Roe at 141 injured his knee in a loss to eventual third-place winner Shaine Jaime of Central Washington and was eliminated after a loss in next match. This ended his injury-plagued season with a 19-13 record.
Jared Barnes at 149 struggled in the tournament as he lost both of his matches, frustrating the coaching staff in the process. The redshirt freshman from Alcester ended the season with a 31-10 record.
“Jared Barnes laid an egg,” assistant coach Josh Hardman said. “He had his two worst matches of the year.”
Three-time All-American Tyler Bryant entered the tournament with high hopes in the 165-pound weight class and started the tournament with a victory before being knocking out of the tournament with two consecutive defeats in overtime.
Liles said that Bryant tends to wrestle close matches and that he won two overtimes matches at Nationals last year, en route to his second-place finish. Bryant ends his season with a 17-5 record and his SDSU career with a 96-32 mark.
“He had a great career,” Liles said. “It’s a shame he didn’t end it being a four-time All-American.”
SDSU placed tenth in the team standings with Central Oklahoma placing first. The placing was the lowest team showing in Liles’ ten-year tenure at SDSU.
“We had high expectations and we’re disappointed with our finish,” Liles said.
As the SDSU wrestlers head into the off-season, Liles will have the challenge of replacing two All-Americans and adding depth to the squad.
The Jacks’ recruiting priorities will include gaining commitments from wrestlers at the 125, 133, 184, and heavyweight classes. SDSU, however, will be able to benefit from the return of four National qualifiers and two All-Americans.
“We’ll have a good nucleus for next year,” Liles said.