Jacks play host to Drexel on Alumni Weekend
WHAT’S ON TAP
South Dakota State opens its dual schedule by welcoming Drexel University to Frost Arena for Alumni Weekend. The Jacks are 38-25-1 all-time in dual openers.
SDSU hosted the 21st Warren Williamson/Daktronics Open on Sunday. Nine Jackrabbits placed in the open, including four starters. Juniors Cody Pack (157 pounds) and Joe Brewster (165 pounds) set the tone for SDSU, each garnering third place.
SCOUTING THE DRAGONS
Drexel will open its season Thursday with a pair of duals in Ames, Iowa against Grand View and Iowa State. Head coach Matt Azevedo is in his third season leading the Dragons. Azevedo boasts a 13-16 career record. The Dragons are led on the mat by senior Brandon Palik, who is ranked No. 15 (AWN) in the nation at 197 pounds.
Saturday’s dual will feature the top two ranked programs for their social media presence in the NWCA’s latest power rankings for the Best of Brand Awards. No. 1 Drexel and No. 2 SDSU both jumped two spots in the latest poll after being ranked No. 3 and No. 4 respectively in October’s power rankings. Both programs continue to expand their social media presence with their respective mantras of #GetJacked and #DragSwag.
Saturday’s dual will reunite a pair of Iowa State alums. Drexel head coach Matt Azevedo (ISU, 2002) wrestled for Chris Bono (ISU, 1997) while he was an assistant for the Cyclones.
Saturday’s dual will be the first matchup between the two schools on the mat.
2013-14 marks the 65th season of Jackrabbit wrestling. SDSU owns a 502-343-22 (.592) program record. Chris Bono is the 12th coach in Jackrabbit history and owns a 44-29 career (.603). SDSU has won six conference championships, with the last two coming in back-to-back seasons in 1996-97.
Sophomore Ben Gillette (125 pounds), who dropped from 141 pounds last season, pinned Tirso Lara (Unattached) at last weekend. Gillette sits at 1-2 on the year.
Senior Will James (133 pounds) went 2-2 in his Jackrabbit debut last weekend. James, who was tied for second with 21 wins wrestling unattached last season, picked up wins against foes from Iowa Central CC and Northern State, before dropping a 6-0 decision to Missouri’s Matt Manley in the quarterfinals.
Eric Orozco (141 pounds) is one of two seniors for the Jackrabbits. After redshirting a season ago, Orozco is slotted in to be the guy at 141 for the Jacks. Orozco went 9-8 last season wrestling unattached in open tournaments.
FRESH ON THE SCENE
Redshirt freshman Alex Kocer (149 pounds) tallied a team-best 7 wins at the Dak Open. Kocer, a five-time South Dakota state champion in high school, went 7-2 at the Dak Open, including a team-high three pins.
LEADER OF THE PACK
Returning NCAA qualifier Cody Pack (157 pounds) began his 2013-14 campaign in style with a third-place finish at the Dak Open after going 5-1. Included in Pack’s five wins were a technical fall, a major decision and a pin.
NOT YOUR AVERAGE JOE
Fresh off of a 5-1 Dak Open, junior Joe Brewster (165 pounds) looks to continue his winning ways as the Jacks move into dual action. Brewster went 7-10 in duals last season. Brewster currently is tied with a team-best .833 winning percentage.
REDSHIRT NO MORE
Freshman Brady Ayers (174 pounds) is set to make his Jackrabbit debut. Ayers went 2-2 last weekend, with his two wins coming by way of major decisions. Ayers is set to be the first freshman of the highly touted No. 6 recruiting class to have his redshirt pulled.
WHO WILL IT BE
Entering Saturday’s dual, the 184 slot is the lone spot up for grabs on the lineup card. Junior Shea Nolan and redshirt freshman Ben Schwery are both in contention for the spot.
TREY IS HABLE
Redshirt freshman Trey Hable (197 pounds) owns a 2-2 record on the year. Hable recorded a team-best 14 pins wrestling unattached for the Jacks last season.
THE BIG GUY
J.J. Everard (285 pounds) tallied three wins last weekend at the Dak Open. Everard looks to improve on a 5-20 true-freshman campaign last season.