After an impressive win over the Division-I Cal Ploy Mustangs, the SF State wrestling team traveled to Fresno, Calif. to compete in the Roadrunner open and build off of their momentum.
The Gators were one of a few Division-II teams to compete at the open alongside nine Division-I schools. The participants included No. 9 Illinois, North Carolina, Purdue, Stanford, Appalachian State, Cal Poly and No. 24 Oregon State.
SF State wrestler Andrew Reggi finished 5th in the 197-pound weight class this past Sunday. He was one of eight Gators to finish with at least a 2-2 record.
Head wrestling coach Lars Jensen believed his team gave great effort against Division-I opponents.
“It was a pretty tough tournament,” Jensen said. “(With) nine division I teams, I thought we competed fairly well. We only had one placer but you know we’re wrestling PAC 12 schools, Big 10 schools and a couple ACC schools. I think we did real well against top notch competition.”
Even though Reggi was the only one to place for the Gators, he said that he has a long way to go.
“It’s an accomplishment, but I know I could have wrestled better,” Reggi said. “I’m always looking to improve on my performance. I’m glad I went I’m glad I got to wrestle some really tough guys and now I’m looking to improve upon that and get better.”
He entered the invitational with a first round bye. In the second round he faced Ryan Padilla of Mt. San Antonio College and would finish him in dominating fashion with a 16-0 technical fall win .
According to Reggi, it was a slow first match for him, but the competition would pick up from there.
In the quarterfinals Reggi would be defeated 11-5 by eventual Roadrunner open winner in the 197-pound weight class Reuben Franklin.
Reggi would win his next two matches by decision in the fourth round and quarterfinals 7-1 and 8-1 respectively. In the Semi-Finals Reggi would face defeat again losing to University of Illinois’ Jeff Koepke 5-1 who would eventually place fourth at the invitational..
Reggi took Fifth place against No.9 ranked Braden Atwood of Purdue due to a Medical Forfeit.
He learned that he needs to make improvements to his game to reach his goal of becoming a National Champion.
“I need to get in better shape,” Reggi said. “I need to work on my conditioning so I won’t get tired and gas out in the third round.”
Reggi was not the only Gator to pull out wins on the day. Vicente Aboytes, Jordan Gurrola and Peter Santos all went 3-2 on the day, which included wins over Division-I programs like Appalachian State, Cal Poly and Fresno State.
Coach Jensen considers this to be the Gators second-toughest tournament on the season only to the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational in Las Vegas Nevada on Dec. 6.
“This would be the second toughest,” Jensen said. “Las Vegas is the toughest collegiate tournament and that’s an invitational. It’s the toughest collegiate invitational in the nation. This one is probably one of the 4 or 5 toughest tournaments in the nation with all the division I schools there.”
At last years open the Gators produced as Andrew Reggi placed 2nd in his 197-pound weight class and Daniel Flores placed 4th 141-pounds .
The open gave SF State wrestlers a chance to compete against some of the top wrestlers in the Nation and help them improve in the season.
“It builds confidence they know they can compete in that kind of environment,” Jensen said. “They won’t shy away from any competition. You want to compete against the highest level. Wrestling is different than most sports because we compete against that level all of the time.”
The Gators look to fair very well after this. This Saturday they will compete at Nor Cal Open in Redding Calif.
“It’s a lesser tournament so it builds confidence,” Jensen said. “This week we only had one placer so next week we expect a lot of placers and look to be in the running if they have a team title.”