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Photo by: Robby Gallagher

SDSU wrestlers westbound

Courtesy: SDSU Sports Info
Release: 01/25/2013 10:23:15

South Dakota State (4-6, 0-1 WWC) at Air Force (8-1)
Sunday, Jan. 27, 2013, 1 p.m. MT
Colorado Springs, Colo. (Clune Arena)
Live Stats (TrackWrestling.com)
Live Video (GoAirForceFalcons.com)

South Dakota State (4-6, 0-1 WWC) vs. Western State (6-3)
Sunday, Jan. 27, 2013, 2:30 p.m. MT (approx.)

Colorado Springs, Colo. (Clune Arena, Air Force)

South Dakota State is back in action again this weekend, facing Western Wrestling Conference opponent Air Force and Western State in Colorado Springs. Start times are set for 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m., respectively, on the Air Force campus.

Last weekend, in perhaps its most publicized dual this season, the Jackrabbits battled Western Wrestling Conference leader and 15th-ranked Wyoming in Spearfish, S.D. On the campus of Black Hills State, SDSU wrestled the Cowboys tough, but was unable to hold off the Pokes in the late matches and lost 21-13.

The loss dropped the Jacks to 4-6 overall, 0-1 WWC. Wyoming improved to 7-3 overall, 2-0 WWC and jumped one spot in the USA Today/NWCA/AWN Division I Coaches Poll to No. 14.

First-year head coach Chris Bono and first-year assistant coaches Israel Silva and Andrew Sorenson leads 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.

The NCAA released its first coaches' panel rankings for the 2012-13 season. Final rankings are one of the tools used to determine the qualifiers for the NCAA Championships.

Dustin Walraven (19-9 overall, 7-3 duals) checked in at No. 31 in the 149-pound weight class in the initial rankings.

Complete rankings are available on NCAA.com.

Air Force Falcons
- The Jacks face the Falcons for the 10th time in school history, dating back to the 1992-93 season. Last season, Air Force handed SDSU its second conference dual loss of the season in late January.

The Falcons finished fourth at last season's West Regional, one point behind third-place North Dakota State. Two Air Force wrestlers qualified for the NCAA Championships, one via first-place finish and the other via third. Both qualifiers; Josh Kreimier (157) and Cole VonOhlen (149); returned to the Falcons lineup this season.

Air Force enters the weekend at 8-1 overall. The Falcons open the conference slate on Friday versus North Dakota State before hosting the Jacks on Sunday.

Air Force defeated former WWC member Northern Iowa 19-18 in early January, its first win versus the Panthers since 2002. Its other notable win was at Stanford in Menlo, Calif. The Falcons won seven of 10 matches and doubled up the Cardinal 24-12.

SDSU faces its second nationally ranked opponent in as many weeks, as Air Force is ranked No. 24 in InterMat NCAA Division I tournament-strength rankings and in Gregg Henry's/WrestlingReport D-I Rankings.

Additionally, two Falcon wrestlers are ranked individually by InterMat. Josh Martinez is ranked No. 11 at 125 pounds and Cole VonOhlen is ranked No. 4 at 149. Along with Martinez (No. 11) and VonOhlen (No. 3), Josh Kremier (No. 22, 157) and Josh Mohr (No. 32, 197) are ranked by Gregg Henry's/WrestlingReport D-I Rankings.

Martinez (No. 10), VonOhlen (No. 4) and Kremier (No. 23) also checked in on the initial coaches' rankings.

The two teams have one common opponent in Stanford, a loss for SDSU, but a win for the Falcons. Air Force was also at the Cliff Keen Invitational in Las Vegas and finished 11th in the team standings.

Live scoring for the dual are available via TrackWrestling.com and live video is available via GoAirForceFalcons.com.

Air Force Probable Starters
125 - No. 11 Josh Martinez (20-6) or Mitch Brown (14-7)
133 - Dylan Hyder (12-10) or Zach Stepan (12-8)
141 - Carter McElhany (14-10) or Cody Hancock (4-6)
149 - No. 4 Cole VonOhlen (21-2) or Logan Burch (6-6)
157 - Josh Kreimier (15-3) or Lucas Lambrecht (7-6)
165 - Jesse Stafford (16-9) or Tyler Mergen (26-6) or Willie Baker (15-4)
174 - Dan Barringer (10-6)
184 - Devin Hightower (12-10) or Garrett Wells (0-4)
197 - Josh Mohr (18-10) or Greg Isley (8-5)

285 - Bentley Alsup (15-10) or Cody Davis (9-9)

Western State Colorado Mountaineers - The Jacks face the Mountaineers for the third time in school history, the first in 1972-73, the most recent in 2002-03. SDSU is undefeated versus Western State, with wins of 27-8 and 48-6.

The Mountaineers wrestle in the Division II Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, home to teams from Colorado and one from Nebraska (Chadron State).

Western State is 6-3 on the season, its most notable win versus conference opponent Colorado Mines (25-13).

The two teams do not have a common opponent until Sunday.

Live scoring and live video is not available for the dual versus Western State.

SDSU Probable Starters
125 - Aaron Pickrel (9-10)
133 - Brance Simms (15-11)
141 - Ben Gillette (5-13)
149 - Dustin Walraven (19-9)
157 - Cody Pack (12-9)
165 - Joe Brewster (9-10)
174 - John Nething II (6-11)
184 - Shea Nolan (5-8)
197 - Joe Skow (3-7)
285 - J.J. Everard (5-11)

SDSU returns home for five-straight duals, beginning with former WWC foe Northern Iowa on Feb. 1. Dual time is set for 7 p.m. on Friday in Frost Arena.

The Panthers left the WWC prior to this season and joined the Mid-American Conference (MAC).

No. 15 Wyoming Cowboys
- In perhaps its most publicized dual this season, South Dakota State battled Western Wrestling Conference leader Wyoming in Spearfish, S.D.

On the campus of Black Hills State, SDSU wrestled Wyoming tough, but was unable to hold off the Cowboys in the late matches and lost 21-13.

Aaron Pickrel opened the dual versus Tyler Cox at 125 pounds. Pickrel wrestled tough, but was unable to keep pace as Cox pulled away for a 15-4 major decision to put Wyoming on top early.

In the 133-pound match, Brance Simms faced Kasey Garnhart. Simms wrestled with control and poise in a low-scoring match. In the third period, Simms scored a late takedown, notching a 3-1 decision to put the Jacks on the board.

Ben Gillette squared off versus Kyle Komata at 141. The match was similar to the dual opener, as Gillette competed hard but was unable to keep pace and Komata pushed the Pokes lead back to four with a 13-8 decision.

At 149, SDSU-wins leader Dustin Walraven took on Brandon Richardson. As if a pattern was forming, the match had similar characteristics to that of 133. Walraven bought his time and made his moves count, posting a 7-2 decision and pulling SDSU within one, once again.

In the 157-pound match, Cody Pack lined up versus one of two ranked Cowboys, No. 13 Andy McCulley (InterMat). Pack pushed McCulley to the limit, but was unable to score enough, as Wyoming scored a 7-3 decision to push its lead back to four.

The Pokes led 10-6 at the intermission.

After the break, Joe Brewster faced Jace Jensen, who was not in Wyoming's probable starters, at 165 pounds. Brewster made his match count, tying the team score at 10-10 with an 11-3 major decision. Four matches remained to decide the winner of the dual.

At 174, John Nething II took on LJ Helbig, who wrestled in the 285-pound slot for Wyoming last season. Nething II took an early lead, but was unable to hold on. Once again, the Cowboys forged ahead with a narrow, 6-4 decision and a three-point team score lead.

Shea Nolan lined up versus Shane Woods at 184. Nolan was unable to get on the scoreboard, but kept it within seven in a decision loss.

The decision pushed the Wyoming lead to 16-10 with two matches remaining, both must-wins for the Jacks.

In the 197-pound match, Joe Skow wrestled third-ranked Alfonso Hernandez. Hernandez scored quickly and often and eventually scored a 19-3 technical fall early in the third period. The win put the Wyoming lead out of reach.

J.J. Everard closed the dual against Leland Pfeifer at 285. Everard was able to set the pace early and score a 12-9 decision, but it was not enough as the Cowboys won by eight points.

"I am extremely proud of how the guys wrestled, fought and hustled," head coach Chris Bono said. "We still have a long way to go, but we are improving every day. The guys did well, both the guys that won and the guys that were in a lot of matches with the possibility to win. The team is improving every day. We are looking forward to our duals next weekend and facing another tough conference team."

Wyoming 21 - SDSU 13
125 - Tyler Cox (Wyoming) major decision Aaron Pickrel, 15-4 (WYO 4-0)
133 - Brance Simms decision Kasey Garnhart (Wyoming), 3-1 (WYO 4-3)
141 - Kyle Komata (Wyoming) decision Ben Gillette, 13-8 (WYO 7-3)
149 - Dustin Walraven decision Brandon Richardson (Wyoming), 7-2 (WYO 7-6)
157 - Andy McCulley (Wyoming) decision Cody Pack, 7-3 (WYO 10-6)
165 - Joe Brewster major decision Jace Jensen (Wyoming), 11-3 (10-10)
174 - L.J. Helbig (Wyoming) decision John Nething II, 6-4 (WYO 13-10)
184 - Shane Woods (Wyoming) decision Shea Nolan, 7-0 (WYO 16-10)
197 - Alfonso Hernandez (Wyoming) tech fall Joe Skow, 19-3 (WYO 21-10)
285 - J.J. Everard decision Leland Pfeifer (Wyoming), 12-9 (WYO wins 21-13)

SAMARITAN'S FEET - Coach Bono coached the Simpson dual on Jan. 11 barefoot to raise awareness for Samaritan's Feet. Coach Bono is the first wrestling coach to join the movement and is the first Division I coach to participate barefoot in 2013.

The dual preceded Coach Nagy's barefoot men's basketball game on Jan. 26.

"If by me doing this, we can put one pair of shoes on somebody who does not have shoes, then it is worth it," said Bono. "Anything we can do to support the cause, and it is a great one, we are happy to do it."

Samaritan's Feet is a non-profit, humanitarian aid organization and so much more - a community of more than 70,000 volunteers who have joined together to make a difference in the lives of children in need in every corner of the world. Over four million impoverished children and adults in more than 60 nations being served by having their feet washed, receiving a new pair of shoes and hearing a message of hope.

Samaritan's Feet and its team of global ambassadors have touched the lives of men, women and children across the United States and around the world in an effort to help the nearly 300 million people who go without shoes each day and the more than a million who die each year as a result. Through this simple act of humility and servant-leadership, our team members and volunteers are expressing love, compassion, and a message that brings hope.

Nearly 300 million people go without shoes each day and millions are plagued with foot-borne illnesses that may be preventable by simple protection - shoes.

For more information or to donate to Samaritan's Feet visit its website and click on SDSU Wrestling-Coach Bono.

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.


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