Wrestlers split last meets, head to championships

Adam Zobel

Adam Zobel

The SDSU wrestling squad split its final two duals of the season this past week, defeating Augustana and falling to Nebraska-Omaha.

The wrestlers began their week with a 22-16 victory over archrival Augustana last Thursday in Sioux Falls.

The Jacks scored a major decision from Tim Boldt at 197 and decisions by Jeremy Roe at 141 and Jared Barnes at 149. Roe was wrestling in his first match in about three weeks and defeated the seventh-ranked wrestler at 141 by the score of 6-3. Barnes won 6-1 and upset the seventh-ranked wrestler at 149 in Division II.

“Roe did well coming off an injury,” Coach Jason Liles said. “Barnes probably had his best match of the year.”

The Jackrabbit wrestlers concluded their dual season last Friday on the short end of a 24-17 score to Nebraska-Omaha.

The dual began at 141 with UNO’s fifth-ranked Roderick Ratcliff defeating Roe 12-6. SDSU bounced back with a pair of major decisions, by Barnes and Shawn Vanhove at 157.

Bryan Cowdin at 174 then gave the Jacks a boost with a 4-3 decision before Jones received another forfeit, his third in the last four matches.

SDSU had a 17-7 lead at that point, but the Mavericks were primed for a comeback.

The best match of the evening was at 197, featuring top-ranked Chad Wallace of UNO against fifth-ranked Boldt of SDSU. The match was tied at 2 in the third period before Wallace took down and pinned Boldt with less than 30 seconds left in the period to cut the SDSU lead to 17-13. Despite the loss, Liles said it was evident that the redshirt freshman had gained respect.

UNO tied the score with a 15-1 major decision at heavyweight. The Mavericks then claimed victory as their two ranked wrestlers at 125 and 133 defeated Ben Smith and Kris Dozark.

Despite the split, Liles was pleased with his team’s performance as they prepared for the postseason.

“We had a really good effort against Augustana; we wrestled aggressively,” Liles said. “I thought we had a good effort (against UNO). Wallace’s pin was a momentum shifter for them.”

SDSU ends it dual season with a 12-9 record.

The wrestlers now travel to Fargo this Saturday to participate on the NCC Championships. Individual berths to the NCAA Division II Championships are on the line with the top four wrestlers gaining spots in the tournament next month.

SDSU will bring eight wrestlers to the tournament. Liles believes all eight wrestlers have the potential to advance with Roe, Barnes, Bryant, Jones, and Boldt having a good chance to go to Nationals. Dozark and Cowdin also have the potential to string together some victories and place. Joe Kenton will wrestle at 157 if healthy; otherwise Vanhove will get the nod.

“Anything can happen at the conference tournament,” Liles said.