Dragons derail Jackrabbits in pursuit of first victory

Jordan C. Smith


 The Jackrabbit wrestling team dropped their season opener Saturday by a score of 26-10 to the Drexel Dragons of Philadelphia. The duel started at 157 pounds that saw a highly competitive match for the Jackrabbit’s own Cody Pack and Drexel’s Austin Sommer, but Pack eventually fell. The Jacks managed back-to-back wins by decision from junior Joe Brewster, and freshman Brady Ayers. After the two wins the Jacks couldn’t muster another win until the 149-pound finale that featured redshirt freshman Alex Kocer. Kocer ran away with a 14-3 major decision.

“Im not happy with the performance,” head coach Chris Bono said. “We didn’t wrestle with fire today, and that is not how we run the program.”

Even though the Jacks did have a few bright spots throughout the duel, the overall outlook on the day was grim. The reoccurring theme was a lack of passion. It was very clear that head coach Bono was upset with the lack of effort, and lack activity on the mat.

“We want to be active for a lot of reasons,” Bono said. “We’re not going to score points standing around, we’re not going to win standing around, and you’re not going to get fans not scoring any points. It doesn’t make sense to me to stand around. We want to create an environment in here where people want to watch wrestling.”

The wrestling philosophy is different in the east where they stress power on the top. This held true Saturday as the Jackrabbit wrestlers spent most of the morning on the bottom fighting for position against the Dragons.

“We need to get better on the bottom,” Bono said. “It’s an east coast thing, these guys are good on top and we knew that. They came in here and shoved that strategy down out throats.” 

The win for true freshman Brady Ayers, and redshirt freshman Alex Kocer is hopefully a sign of good things to come in the future. 

“It’s a pretty good feeling to get that first one out of the way,” Brady Ayers said. “I came out and did what I had to do, so it’s nice to get that under my belt.”

Both freshman admitted to having nerves coming into this first duel, which is expected, but both came out and performed as well as you hope they can for the first duel.

“We need to stop holding back,” Alex Kocer said. “We are all guilty of it, and I don’t know what is causing it, but it is something we need to fix going into the future.”

Next week the Jackrabbits travel down to Iowa to compete in the Cyclone Open. Last week the Jacks hosted their own open which featured all of their usual starters, plus a few freshman.

“It will be the same deal as last week,” Bono said. “All of our redshirts will be there as well.”

Both freshmen noted that a duel is much more of a mental game, where as an open has much more of an everyday practice feel to it.

“A duel is a lot more of waiting around and it is more of a mental game,” Kocer said. “In a tournament it seems like you’re always moving and don’t have to really think about stuff. You just go out there and do what you are used to doing.”

SDSU will compete next at The Open is slated to start at 9:00 am Nov. 16 in Ames, Iowa. Following the open the Jacks will be back home on the Nov. 24 hosting a duel against Big Ten foe Nebraska.