Gators wrestling keeps chance at Nationals alive
The SF State wrestling team has had its highs and lows throughout the season, but remain with high momentum as Regionals and Nationals approach.
The team started off their season with two wins against Division I opponent Cal Poly and Simpson University. From those two match wins, the Gators would follow with two losses against No. 5 ranked Western State Colorado and No.13 Colorado Mesa, but bounced back with a five-match win streak.
Currently, the team has a record of 8-4, going 4-3 in the Rocky Mountain Conference. The Gators are led by 8th ranked senior Andrew Reggi at 197 pounds, according to NCAA Division II Wrestling Coaches Association and top wins leader sophomore Jordan Gurrola at 133 pounds.
The Gators had a five-match win streak after they started the season 2-2. During the streak, they defeated Embry-Riddle University 33-9. Since then, the team has lost two of their last three matches
and had three third place finishers at the 39th Annual California Collegiate Open last Saturday.
One of the third place finishers for the Gators was Gurrola, who leads the team in wins with a 25-8 record, and recording 10 of the team’s 45 pins.
“He keeps wrestling hard all the time,” said head coach Lars Jensen. “He’s our winningest record. He’s like the energizer bunny, he just keeps on coming, we love him.”
The other two placers on Saturday were Sam Alnassiri in the 285 pound weight class and Johnny Costa at 184 pounds.
“I feel like I’ve improved a lot coming from my freshmen year,” Alnassiri said. “I was academically ineligible and I wasn’t a starter. This year coming off on the sideline and I didn’t have a good start to the season in the beginning of the year and now I’m trying to pick up the slack for it.”
The Gators saw victory and defeat at the Swamp Jan 30., losing to 18th ranked California Baptist 25-12, but rebounded with a win against Simon Fraser University 43-6. Reggi was undefeated on the day going 2-0. Reggi has been on a roll after a slow start going 7-1 in his last eight matches and a 18-6 overall record. The 8th ranked grappler knows he needs to work harder to become a National Champion. He’s been working on his shot and his cardio but knows he needs to continue focusing on his cardio, Reggi said.
The team looks to finish the season strong to gain momentum as it heads into the NCAA Super Region IV/RMAC Championship from Feb. 27 to 28 and hopefully add another NCAA Division II National Championship to their collection.
“They’ve been wrestling 15 or 20 matches and getting better,” Jensen said. “We have two more dual meets and then Regionals and Nationals. Our emphasis is Regionals and Nationals.”
The team has a tough road on the way to Regionals as they travel Feb. 8 to face off against the 25th ranked Stanford University Cardinal, according to NCAA Division I coaches rankings, and end the regular season at The Swamp Feb 12. versus Menlo College. The NCAA Super Region IV/RMAC Championship begins Feb. 17.
With all the success the team has experienced this season Gurrola says the team still needs to improve to get where they need to be.
“I’m not proud of anything yet,” Gurrola said. “Not until the end of the season. I have a lot to improve on, we all do.”