Jackrabbits take on Iowa State in Cyclone Open

By JORDAN C. SMITH Sportswriter


 The Jackrabbit wrestling team had a strong showing in Iowa this past weekend as they attended the Harold Nichols Cyclone Open, hosted by Iowa State University. The Jacks saw nine wrestlers reach the quarterfinals, and four advance to the semifinals.

“They really responded, and also improved,” head coach Chris Bono said. “We corrected a bunch of mistakes, and we are just excited that the guys are listening, and they’re really coming around.”

The Cyclone Open featured some of the freshman that the Jackrabbits recruited this year. One of the standouts for the freshman was Zeke Andrade. Andrade wrestled unattached for SDSU, but wrestled hard nevertheless and eventually made his way to the title bout where he dropped a major decision.

“What we are really looking for from our freshmen is consistency,” Bono said. “They have shown signs of greatness, and they have shown signs of weakness.”

Alex Kocer, a redshirt freshman from Wagner, had another great tournament as he wrestled his way to a third-place finish. Kocer was one of the select few who won a match in the duel against the Drexel Dragons last week.

“He has been a pleasant welcome to the program,” Bono said in regards to Kocer. “He is doing a great job. He took a loss to kid that he had a major decision over in the Daktronics Open tournament, so we need some consistency from Alex. As a freshman though he is doing a great job, and we hope the team can rally around that.”

Sophomore J.J. Everard also had a bounce back tournament for the Jacks. Everard dropped his match against Drexel, but won three straight bouts in the Cyclone Open to advance to the semifinals. Everard eventually went on to wrestle for a fourth-place finish.

One of the key areas the Jackrabbits looked to work on leading up to the Cyclone Open was their bottom game. Head coach Chris Bono emphasized last week that Drexel was a top riding powerhouse, and that the Jacks had to improve on the bottom for future duels, and tournaments.

“They wrestled really well this week from the bottom,” Bono said. “Drexel is a top riding team, and we didn’t really see that this week. With Nebraska coming into town Sunday I am sure they are going to try and ride us. We are going to have our hands full, and see how much improvement they have really made.”

The Jackrabbits return to Frost Arena this Sunday as they host the Nebraska Huskers in a duel that is scheduled to start at 2 p.m. Nebraska was one of many teams that attended the Warren Williamson/Daktronics Open hosted by the Jackrabbits earlier this month. The Huskers had multiple wrestlers in title bouts and will be a tough challenge for the Jackrabbits.

“They are going to be solid in all areas,” Bono said. “They are good everywhere, they’re ranked 10th in the country for a reason. They are hard nosed, and they are well coached. We have our hands cut out for us.”