South Dakota State will travel to Gillette, Wyo., to take on the Cowboys in a Western Wrestling Conference dual on Sunday at 1 p.m. (CST) The Jacks stand at 1-3 on the year, while the Pokes own a 1-5 record.
Location, Location, Location: Sunday’s dual will take place on the North Campus of Campbell County High School in Gillette, Wyo.
In the Polls: Sunday’s dual feature four nationally-ranked wrestlers. In InterMat’s latest rankings, SDSU’s junior Cody Pack (157) is ranked No. 18, while UW’s Tyler Cox (125) and Ben Stroh (184) are ranked No. 8 and No. 20, respectively. The Pokes’ Dakota Friesth is also ranked No. 18 by D1CW.
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Last Time Out: SDSU had five wrestlers open the Southern Scuffle 2-0 and sat in 12th place with 26 points following the first day of competition. Eric Orozco (141), Cody Pack (157), Joe Brewster (165), Trey Hable (197) and J.J. Everard (285) all advanced to the championship round-of-16. As a team, SDSU placed 17th, as Brewster, Pack and Everard all won matches on the second day.
Scouting the Cowboys: UW has faced some of the nation’s top programs en route to a 1-5 start, as the Pokes have suffered defeats at the hands of No. 3 Minnesota, No. 4 Oklahoma State, No. 5 Oklahoma, No. 6 Nebraska and No. 18 Oregon State. The Cowboys are led by sixth-year head coach Mark Branch. On the mat, UW is led No. 8 Tyler Cox, who owns a 21-4 record. Cox placed eighth at the NCAAs a year ago, en route to All-America honors.
History Lesson: Wyoming remains perfect in the series, owning a 14-0 all-time advantage over the Jacks. Last season UW defeated SDSU, 21-13 in Spearfish, S.D., at the Donald E. Young Sports and Fitness Center Gymnasium.
Probable Matchups: 125 pounds…No. 8 Tyler Cox (UW) vs. Ben Gillette (SDSU)…133 pounds…Gunnar Woodburn (UW) vs. Isaac Andrade or Brance Simms (SDSU)…141 pounds…Cole Mendenhall (UW) vs. Eric Orozco (SDSU)…149 pounds…Brandon Richardson (UW) vs. Alex Kocer (SDSU)…157 pounds…Andy McCulley or Tanner Miller (UW) vs. No. 18 Cody Pack (SDSU)…165 pounds…No. 18 Dakota Friesth (UW) vs. Joe Brewster (SDSU)…174 pounds…Brent Havlik or Jace Jensen (UW) vs. Brady Ayers/John Nething II (SDSU)…184 pounds…No. 20 Ben Stroh (UW) vs. Ben Schwery (SDSU)…197 pounds…Shane Woods (UW) vs. Trey Hable (SDSU)…285 pounds…Tanner Harms or Leland Pfeifer (UW) vs. J.J. Everard (SDSU)
Follow the Action: Fans who are not able to make it to Gillette can follow the action on http://www.trackwrestling.com/dualmeets/DualMeetDetail.jsp?dualMeetId=214235009 or through SDSU wrestling’s Twitter account (@SDSUwrestling). KDSJ 980 AM will also be providing radio coverage for the dual.
Looking Ahead: SDSU returns to the friendly confines of Frost Arena its next time out on Jan. 26 vs. Air Force. The dual is set for 1 p.m.
Socially Supreme: After continuing to climb the rankings, SDSU remained ranked No. 1 in the latest social media Power Rankings, announced by the NWCA and Elite Level Sport Marketing. Last season, SDSU was named the Top Newcomer in the Best of Brand Annual Achievement Awards, as presented by the National Wrestling Coaches Association, in coordination with Elite Level Sport Marketing. Jackrabbit wrestling continues to launch itself into the national spotlight through expanded use of its social media platforms and the #GetJacked mantra. To go along with its popular “Jacked Up Monday” videos, SDSU has added “Jackrabbit Wrestling: All Access” as a second weekly video. These videos are released on Thursdays and gives fans a unique, behind-the-scenes look at the Jacks. These All Access videos have included everything from a preview show, to cribs and a day in the life. Coach Bono and his staff have encouraged fans to interact with SDSU wrestling via social media to suggest future video topics.
Program History: 2013-14 marks the 65th season of Jackrabbit wrestling. SDSU owns a 503-347-22 (.589) program record. Chris Bono is the 12th coach in Jackrabbit history and owns a 45-32 career (.584). SDSU has won six conference championships, with the last coming in 1996-97.