NDSU claims the Border Bell in victory over Jacks

By Jordan C. Smith Sportswriter

Saturday marked the first time that North Dakota State and South Dakota State would battle for the inaugural Border Bell. The Border Bell is a one hundred pound kettle-bell, and will be the first traveling trophy that the two teams will be fighting for yearly.

NDSU jumped out to an early lead of 15-0, but SDSU made a run that started with redshirt freshmen Alex Kocer. Going into the third period tied three all, Kocer fell behind 3-5. He did have the advantage in riding time, but that wouldn’t be enough to win. With less then a minute remaining, and Kocer’s riding time disappearing, Alex scored two points on a reversal to tie it up five all. Kocer won the match 6-5, and increased his season record to 14-4.

“I have always had a drive to win,” Kocer said. “We put so much hard work into it, and you don’t want to go out there and lose. It would feel like a waste if you didn’t give it your all, and that’s what I have been doing.”

After Kocer’s highly contested match in the 149-pound weight class, junior Cody Pack was up next in the 157-pound match. Last week Pack was the lone Jackrabbit that put any points up on the board against a hard-nosed Nebraska team. Pack went into the third period up 6-1, and was looking to score more. Pack finished the match winning 13-4 to score a major decision and narrow the NDSU gap to 15-7. Pack improved his record to 11-4 on the season.

“I have changed since last year,” Pack said. “I have bought in one hundred percent, I believe in everything coach Bono, coach Silva and coach Sorenson have been telling us everyday in the room. I trust my offense.”

That would be the closest that the Jackrabbits came to NDSU as the beef of their lineup would handle SDSU for the next three matches until redshirt freshman Trey Hable made a run breaking his own record for fastest fall of the season. Hable pinned his opponent in 42 seconds, eight seconds shy of his previous mark of 34 seconds. Hable improved to 5-6 for the season.

The Jackrabbits ultimately dropped the duel 30-13, and the inaugural Border Bell was awarded to the NDSU Bison. The Jackrabbits drop to 0-3 on the season and are looking for positives to rebound from.

“We lost, we lost the duel, and we lost the kettle bell,” head coach Chris Bono said. “It’s discouraging and I’m frustrated. We have not wrestled close to an OK match yet. Everybody in that lineup is better than what they are showing out there, I see it everyday.”

The Jackrabbits renew an age-old rivalry with Augustana this weekend as they head down to Sioux Falls to wrestle in the Sanford Pentagon this Sunday, Dec. 8 the duel is scheduled for 2 p.m. 

“This is a big deal,” Bono said. “We have this circled, and we are going to put a lot of emphasis on this. This a big, big deal for our program.”