Cowboys and Falcons await Jackrabbits

The South Dakota State wrestling team hits the road for two more Western Wrestling Conference matches as they travel to Wyoming Friday and Air Force Saturday.

“Wyoming has a very good program right now with a lot of depth and it’s going to be a difficult road trip,” said head coach Jason Liles. “Air Force beat Arizona State a week or so ago, which surprised me but shows they have a lot of balance.”

Aaron Pickrel leads the Jackrabbits with a 6-2 duals record and an 19-7 overall record. Pickrel notched his 19th win against Northern Colrado last week with a win by forfeit. Five of Pickrel’s wins were by fall with the fastest in one minute three seconds.

Nick Flynn, Kevin Kelly and David Michaud come in second for the Jacks with four dual wins this season. Six of Michaud’s eight wins on the season were by fall, with the remaining wins by decsion.

The probable lineup for the Jacks against Wyoming and Air Force includes: Pickrel (125 pounds), open at 133 pounds, Tyler Johnson (141 pounds), Jimmy Hamilton (149 pounds), Andrew Youngblom (149 pounds), Flynn (157 pounds), Rex Lyon (157 pounds), Joe Rasmussen (165 pounds), John Nething II (165 pounds), Michaud (174 pounds), Cord Willers (184 pounds), open at 197 pounds and Kelly (285 pounds).

This week’s Competition
Wyoming Cowboys
 – Wyoming enters the matchup Friday ranked no. 21 by Intermat and no. 25 by the National Wrestling Coaches Association. The Cowboys own a 7-4 record and a 1-0 record in the Western Wrestling Conference. The Cowboys defeated the Utah Valley Wolverines 23-15 last week in WWC action.

The Cowboys boast four wrestlers ranked by Intermat in no. four Shane Onufer (165 pounds), no. five Joe LeBlanc (184 pounds), no. 18 Michael Martinez (125 pounds) and no. 18 Cole Dallaserra (149 pounds).

LeBlanc, a two-time All-American, was named the WWC Wrestler of the Year last season following a first-place finish at the NCAA West Regional and a fourth-place finish at the 2010 NCAA Championships at 184 pounds. The junior became the first freshman All-American at Wyoming two seasons ago after placing fifth at the 2009 NCAA Championships.

Martinez and Onufer both placed first in their respective weight classes at the West Regional last season, while Dallaserra placed fourth.

Last season, the Jacks fell to the Cowboys 34-9 and have yet to win a dual against Wyoming with an 0-11 record all-time.

Air Force Falcons – Air Force enters the weekend with a 8-2 duals record a ranked no. 45 by Intermat. The Falcons open their conference schedule when they host North Dakota State Friday before going head-to-head with the Jacks.

The Falcons claim one wrestler ranked by Intermat in no. 10 sophomore Cole VonOhlen at 141 pounds. VonOhlen placed second at the 2010 West Regional and ended his freshman season at the NCAA Championshisp. VonOhlen was named WWC Freshman of the Year last season for his performance on the mat during his debut season.

Last season the Jacks dropped the dual against Air Force 23-12 and are 1-6 against the Falcons all-time.

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Jackrabbit Extra – Subscribers to the Jackrabbit Extra on can view select SDSU wrestling matches live on the internet. To subscribe to the Jackrabbit Extra, log onto, select Jackrabbit Extra on the Audio/Video tab and click “sign up.”

Jackrabbit Insider on FOX and FSN – “Jackrabbit Insider” airs at 10:30 p.m. Sundays on KTTW FOX 7. The show can also be seen on FOX Sports North Tuesdays at 6 p.m. CT. FOX College Sports Central will air the program Tuesdays at 9:30 p.m. “Jackrabbit Insider” is also available through the Jackrabbit Extra video on-demand service at

Hosted by Tyler Merrium, “Jackrabbit Insider” is a weekly half-hour program that provides Jackrabbit fans with a behind-the-scenes look at South Dakota State University Athletics.

Last week – The Jackrabbit grapplers battled the Northern Colorado Bears to a 26-21 loss last week in Frost Arena.

Nick Flynn drew the first blood at 157 pounds with his decision win over Tanner Weiks, but it was David Michaud who highlighted the night with his win by fall over Cody McAninch in two minutes 48 seconds.

The pin marked Michaud’s sixth on the season. He improved his record to 8-5 overall and 1-1 in the WWC.

The dual, which started at the 141-pound weight class, ended with three-straight forfeits. Kevin Kelly and Aaron Pickrel each picked up wins by forfeit to give the Jacks a temporary 21-20 lead, but an SDSU forfeit at 133 pounds put the Bears just over the top for the 26-21 victory.

Next up – The Jacks take next week off, but host WWC member North Dakota State Feb. 11 at 7 p.m. in Frost Arena. The regular season wraps up the following week when Utah Valley visits Frost Arena.