The South Dakota State wrestling team ran the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville 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.”
SDSU takes a one-month hiatus before returning to action on Jan. 1 at the Southern Scuffle. Competition is set for all day on Tuesday and Wednesday in Chattanooga, Tenn.
“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.”
The next home dual for the Jacks is Jan. 11 versus Simpson College. 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.
South Dakota State 27, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville 16
125 – Aaron Pickrel (SDSU) won by forfeit (SDSU 6-0)
133 – Patrick Myers (SIUE) won by decision Brance Simms (SDSU) , 9-6 (SDSU 6-3)
141 – Ben Gillette (SDSU) won by pin Drew Vrbenec (SIUE), 6:48 (SDSU 12-3)
149 – Dustin Walraven (SDSU) won by decision Dillon Pousson (SIUE), 6-1 (SDSU 15-3)
157 – Cody Pack (SDSU) won by pin Grant Sullivan (SIUE), 2:11 (SDSU 21-3)
165 – Jake Residori (SIUE) won by sudden victory 1 Joe Brewster (SDSU) , 5-3 (SDSU 21-6)
174 – Deshoun White (SIUE) won by decision John Nething II (SDSU) , 8-4 (SDSU 21-9)
184 – Hunter Weddington (SDSU) won by pin Jake Tindle (SIUE), 4:45 (SDSU 27-9)
197 – Josh Wood (SIUE) won by major decision Joe Skow (SDSU) , 12-0 (SDSU 27-13)
285 – David Devine (SIUE) won by decision J.J. Everard (SDSU) , 6-5 (SDSU wins 27-16)