The Jackrabbit wrestling’s tough early schedule has prepared the team to make a deep run in their first season of the Big 12. The Jacks are 10-5 on the year and riding a nine-dual winning streak.

JALEN WILSON Sports Reporter

Jackrabbit Wrestling wins ninth straight dual

Before the season began, the Jackrabbit wrestling team knew they had one of the toughest schedules in recent memory. 

Moving to the Big 12 conference would not be an easy task and the beginning of the season showed just that. The Jacks lost five of their first six matches, which were all against ranked opponents.

This all seems a distant memory as the Jacks have been winning nine-straight matches and having a five-match home winning streak. Fourth-year Head Coach Chris Bono said his team’s confidence is growing with every match, but doesn’t believe it is anything special.

“We don’t look at it as a streak. We look at it as lining up each week, ready to wrestle,” Bono said.

Bono led the Jacks to its first dual winning season in the past nine and has built a foundation that looks to be around for a while. He has constructed an atmosphere where teammates enjoy each other’s presence but also know that they have business to take care of on and off the mat.

“Our chemistry with one another is great,” Bono said. “It’s a tight-knit team, the closest one since I have been here. Everyone enjoys being around each other.”

Bono is helped by the leadership of some All-American’s on his squad by fifth-year senior Cody Pack and redshirt sophomore Nate Rotert. Pack, a three time national qualifier, has picked up right where he left off last season as the Jacks top rnaked wrestler.

Pack has a record of 21-2 in 157 pound weight class, with the best win to loss percentage on the team. Rotert has been just as exceptional as he has posted a record of 20-7 in the 197 pound weight class.

A surprise performer for the Jacks this season is David Kocer as he leads the team in total wins with 22 and will be looking to keep building on his strong sophomore season.

“In wrestling, if you win, you’re a leader, just the way it goes,” Bono said regarding his top performers.

With the nine match win streak in place, the Jacks may have hit their stride at the perfect time as they will be faced up against some tough competition over the next few matches in which they take face Utah Valley in Orem, Utah on Friday, then at Boise St. on Sunday. 

From there, they have a home match against West Virginia University and then head down to Oklahoma University, which is currently ranked seventh in the nation and will probably be the toughest match they have had all year.

“This upcoming trip is going to be tough for our guys, tough travel schedule, and another Big 12 conference match,” Bono said. “This is the way we set it up, tough schools at the end of the year getting the team sharpened up for the conference tournament.” 

The Jacks will have to rely on some of their veteran leaders to help a young squad overcome this rough stretch of matches. Bono has full confidence in his squad to perform at the level they are capable of.

“We got a good group of guys,” Bono said. “I love this team and love the guys on it.”