Jacks excited to host third-ranked Hawkeyes

After facing two nationally ranked teams in the first two duals of the season, the South Dakota State wrestling team will face another daunting challenge this Friday: the USA Today No. 3 ranked Iowa Hawkeyes in Brookings. 

The Jackrabbits look to bounce back as they suffered their first loss of the season against the No. 16 Minnesota Gophers. In the dual, the Jackrabbits lost the last four matches, including a decisive heavyweight disqualification that led to the Jacks’ narrow defeat. 

“We’re over it. [We] took a couple days to digest it and talk about what was good and bad, but we put it behind us,” said Head Coach Chris Bono. 

They will need to come back strong, as the Iowa Hawkeyes have the top ranked 125- and 133-pounders in the country with seniors Thomas Gilman and Cory Clark, according to InterMat. Sam Stoll, sophomore heavyweight for the Hawkeyes, is ranked sixth. 

“We see it as an opportunity and we love it. It’s a chance to wrestle the best in the country,” Bono said. 

The Jackrabbits boast ranked wrestlers in sophomore 133-pounder Seth Gross, ranked seventh, and junior 197-pounder Nathan Rotert, ranked fifth. 

The 133 match will feature two top 10 wrestlers, as Clark and Gross will take each other on.

Bono said the keys for the Jackrabbits to topple Iowa include fighting every second they are on the mat and being physical.

In the last home dual against the then No. 18 ranked Iowa State Cyclones, Bono said they tried to create a “circus-like atmosphere.” It paid off, as the Jackrabbits beat the Cyclones 27-9.

Bono hopes they’ll have the same crowd and result.

“There’s 1,200 pre-sold tickets [for the Iowa dual], and we are going to have the band and the cheerleaders so hopefully we can create a hostile environment for those guys,” Bono said. 

The Jacks hope to use home advantage to top the Hawkeyes. 

“Our guys wrestled better at home versus Iowa State than what we did at Minnesota, and that is sometimes because of the home and away advantages,” Bono said. “We still need to put together another good performance.”