The South Dakota State wrestling team returns to action at the Southern Scuffle after a one-month hiatus. Hosted by Tennessee at Chattanooga, competition is set for all day on Tuesday and Wednesday in Chattanooga, Tenn.
SDSU last wrestled in its first home dual of the season on Dec. 8. The Jacks hosted the SIUE Cougars and scored a 27-16 win fueled by four pins (Ben Gillette at 141, Dustin Walraven at 149, Cody Pack at 157 and Hunter Weddington at 184).
The win dropped moved SDSU's record to 3-5 on the season and propelled the team into its winter break.
First-year head coach Chris Bono and first-year assistant coaches Israel Silva and Andrew Sorenson lead SDSU. Bono posted a 39-17-0 record in three years at Tennessee at Chattanooga, including a 15-0 SoCon record. His squad won three SoCon regular season and tournament championships and he was named SoCon Coach of the Year all three seasons.
THIS WEEK'S COMPETITION
Southern Scuffle - In addition to SDSU, 22 other schools are scheduled to send participants to this year's Southern Scuffle. Of those 23, eight are ranked in the InterMat NCAA Division I tournament-strength rankings, the highest being top-ranked Penn State. Team rankings are listed in the left column.
Additionally, 68 wrestlers are ranked in the top-20 individually by InterMat. One-half of the nation's top-ranked wrestlers are set to compete at the Southern Scuffle (149, 165, 174, 184, 285). Two of the No. 1 wrestlers compete for No. 2 Oklahoma State (149, 174), while the other three wrestlers wrestle for Cornell (165), Penn State (184) and Minnesota (285). One weight class sports nine ranked wrestlers (149) and no weight class sports less than five ranked wrestlers (141, 197). Individual rankings are listed by weight below.
Southern Scuffle Coverage - The Southern Scuffle is being covered by multiple media outlets this year. Track Wrestling will have updated brackets, while Flowrestling will have live video streaming on both days. Tournament updates will be sent out via Twitter using #letsscuffle.
For links to more Southern Scuffle previews, visit the host preview at GoMocs.com.
SDSU Projected Competitors - Aaron Pickrel (125), Brance Simms (133), Ben Gillette (141), Dustin Walraven (149), Cody Pack (157), Joe Brewster (165), John Nething II (174), Troy Morisette (174), Joe Skow (197) J.J. Everard (285)
Ranked Wrestlers at the Southern Scuffle
125 (8) - No. 2 Nico Megaludis (Penn State), No. 4 Alan Waters (Missouri), No. 6 Jarrod Garnett (Virginia Tech), No. 7 David Thorn (Minnesota), No. 8 Matt Snyder (Virginia), No. 9 Nick Soto (Chattanooga), No. 10 Nahshon Garrett (Cornell), No. 12 Nathan Kraisser (North Carolina)
133 (6) - No. 5 Chris Dardanes (Minnesota), No. 6 Nathan McCormick (Missouri), No. 7 Jon Morrison (Oklahoma State), No. 8 Nick Arujau (Cornell), No. 16 George DiCamillo (Virginia), No. 17 Joey Ward (North Carolina)
141 (5) - No. 5 Evan Henderson (North Carolina), No. 6 K. Undrakhbayar (Citadel), No. 8 Zach Neibert (Virginia Tech), No. 11 Mike Nevinger (Cornell), No. 14 Nick Dardanes (Minnesota)
149 (9) - No. 1 Jordan Oliver (Oklahoma State), No. 2 Dylan Ness (Minnesota), No. 5 Andrew Alton (Penn State), No. 7 Cole VonOhlen (Air Force), No. 8 Nick Brascetta (Virginia Tech), No. 17 Daniel Young (Army), No. 18 Derek Valenti (Virginia), No. 19 Chris Villalonga (Cornell), No. 20 Drake Houdashelt (Missouri)
157 (6) - No. 5 Dylan Alton (Penn State), No. 6 Jesse Dong (Virginia Tech), No. 8 Alex Dieringer (Oklahoma State), No. 14 Jedd Moore (Virginia), No. 15 Josh Kreimier (Air Force), No. 16 Bobby Barnhisel (Navy)
165 (7) - No. 1 Kyle Dake (Cornell), No. 2 David Taylor (Penn State), No. 3 Peter Yates (Virginia Tech), No. 4 Tyler Caldwell (Oklahoma State), No. 7 Nick Sulzer (Virginia), No. 10 Cody Yohn (Minnesota), No. 15 Zach Toal (Missouri)
174 (8) - No. 1 Chris Perry (Oklahoma State), No. 3 Matt Brown (Penn State), No. 4 Logan Storley (Minnesota), No. 13 Cole Gracey (Army), No. 14 Blake Stauffer (Arizona State), No. 15 Matt Miller (Navy), No. 16 Jon Fausey (Virginia), No. 20 Cody Walters (Ohio)
184 (7) - No. 1 Ed Ruth (Penn State), No. 2 Steve Bosak (Cornell), No. 4 Kevin Steinhaus (Minnesota), No. 9 Mike Larson (Missouri), No. 13 Chris Chionuma (Oklahoma State), No. 18 Alex Utley (North Carolina), No. 19 Kevin Radford (Arizona State)
197 (5) - No. 3 Quentin Wright (Penn State), No. 7 Blake Rosholt (Oklahoma State), No. 9 Jake Meredith (Arizona State), No. 12 Brent Haynes (Missouri), No. 13 Scott Schiller (Minnesota)
285 (7) - No. 1 Tony Nelson (Minnesota), No. 2 Dom Bradley (Missouri), No. 3 Alan Gelogaev (Oklahoma State), No. 14 Levi Cooper (Arizona State), No. 15 Jimmy Lawson (Penn State), No. 16 Odie Delaney (Citadel), No. 17 Jeremy Johnson (Ohio)
INTERVIEW WITH JOHNATHAN KAROL AND COACH BONO
LAST WEEK'S COMPETITION
SDSU 27 - SIUE 16
The South Dakota State wrestling team ran the SIUE Cougars on Saturday night in Brookings, 27-16.
SDSU led from the beginning and never trailed in its first home dual of the season.
The Jacks started the dual on top, as the Cougars forfeited the 125-pound match to Aaron Pickrel.
After a Cougar decision at 133 pounds, the Jacks went on a run.
Ben Gillette started it with a pin of Drew Vrbenec at 141. Gillette was behind on the scoreboard, but used Vrbenec's position to his advantage by using his back for the pin.
In the 149-pound match, Dustin Walraven scored a decision versus Dillon Pousson. Walraven chipped away at the scoreboard and added the one-minute advantage in riding time for a 6-1 decision.
At 157, Cody Pack pushed the Jackrabbit lead higher with a pin versus Grant Sullivan. Pack dominated the first period, scoring takedowns at will. After a pair of takedown, escape combinations, Pack pinned his opponent at 2:11.
"Cody has the skills," head coach Chris Bono said. "He needs to believe he can do that against the top guys in the country, because he can. It is all in his hands; we have given him all of the tools. Once he decides that he can beat those guys, he can do it. I think tonight was a big turning point for him. I think we will see a different Cody second semester. He has done a great job academically and turned his whole life around. I look for big things from him."
The two teams broke for intermission after the 157-pound match.
SIUE scored two decisions at 165 and 174, the first in overtime and the latter in the closing seconds.
Hunter Weddington turned fortunes around, taking a page from Gillette's playbook. Weddington trailed on the scoreboard, but used Jake Tindle's position against him and scored the pin. The nine-point swing put the dual out of reach, as the Jacks led 27-9 with only two matches remaining.
"Gillette and Weddington's wins were big," said Bono. "Those are our true freshmen. They do not know any better than to go out there and fight. That is what we preach. It is a seven-minute match and we need to wrestle every second of it. Those two have been working their tails off and I am glad to see them having good fortune."
The Cougars scored a major decision at 197 and decision at 285, but it was not enough as SDSU held on for a 27-16 win.
"There were a lot of positives, but we have a lot of stuff we need to work on," Bono said. "I am proud of some of these guys, who kept fighting and came back to get falls; that is how you win matches and tournaments. We want to try and pin every opponent. I am happy for those young guys who got some wins to build confidence. We lost some matches I thought we should have won by one point here and one point there; we need to win close matches. We want to win all 10 matches, regardless. That is our goal. It is nice to win one and these guys seem to feed off of each other, but we try to win every match. The team score is what it is. If each individual goes out and takes care of his match, the team score will take care of itself. We will get back in the wrestling room and get going again."
"We are going to have a complete training phase," said Bono. "The guys do not have school, and that is big. It means we will have two or three workouts each day. We will work individually with them around finals and make sure they are studying. The guys will have time off during finals week with optional workouts, but I am sure they will come in for individual workouts. We will work hard for a handful of days before letting them leave for break. Now is the time to pick up the training and get ready for the second part of our schedule."
TOP-10 RECRUITING CLASS
Head coach Chris Bono and assistant coaches Israel Silva and Andrew Sorenson announced the signing of the sixth-best recruiting class in the nation (The Open Mat, Amateur Wrestling News).
Eight student-athletes joined the Jackrabbit wrestling team on signing day, including three ranked by Amateur Wrestling News. Brandon Brunner, Hank Goettl, Colin Holler, Coltan Laganiere, Paul Mascarenas, Austin Oyen, Nathan Rotert and Matt Seabold make up the best recruiting class in SDSU history.
The No. 6 ranking makes it the best recruiting class for any sport in the history of Jackrabbit athletics.
SDSU returns home for a dual versus Simpson College on Jan. 11. Former Jackrabbit assistant wrestling coach Nate Hansen leads the Storm after coaching five seasons at SDSU. Start time is set for 7 p.m. in Frost Arena.