Gators wrestling rumbles in a tune-up alumni day scrimmage, giving the crowd 11 battles to watch at the Swamp on Saturday, Oct. 27.
SF State’s weight class picture cleared up in Saturday’s exhibition, as many starting weight class spots were up for grabs in many of the matches.
“This scrimmage holds two purposes,” said SF State head coach Jason Welch. “The first purpose is to determine our starters for the first month. The second is, now it’s a good chance for the alumni to come out and engage with their school and university.”
A couple Gators got not one, but two matches to prove themselves to the coaching staff.
Redshirt Senior Jordan Gurrola went unbeaten, with a dominant 12-0 victory over Senior Christian Ramos, in a contest where Gurrola was all over Ramos, riding him for most of the match, getting some takedowns and turns. Gurrola followed that victory with a controlling 6-2 win over Senior Brandon Vu, getting two essential takedowns to put the match out of reach for Vu.
Redshirt Sophomore Kevin Henry also battled in two contests, although he did not share Gurrola’s success, losing both.
Despite how the Gators performed, the scrimmage will not go into the books. It’s main purpose is to get the Gators’ first matches of the season out of the way, and to instill confidence within the team.
“You don’t want your first match of the year to be against someone else,” Welch said. “You want to get it over with.”
First match nerves are not the only things the Gator wrestlers are getting out of the way. The scrimmage represented the first official season weigh-in for many.
“I got majority of it out of the way,” said Sophomore Andrew Herrera. Herrera looks to wrestle at 197-pound weight class this season, weighing in at 200 pounds for the scrimmage, and having already cut down from starting at 225 during the offseason.
Herrera won his match against Kevin Henry 7-3 in a very physical and fast-paced match.
The Gators are going into the season ranked fourth in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) in coaches polls. But Welch has bigger plans in mind.
“Our personal goal for the year is top 15 in the country,” Welch announced to The Swamp crowd during an intermission.
These are lofty expectations for a Gators team that’s still trying to figure out who will be their starters at their respective weight classes.
Expectations aside, the current Gator wrestlers got to meet many of the program’s alumni after the scrimmage.
“You need the support of the community, you need the support of the people before and after you in order to keep this thriving,” said SF State and Gators wrestling alumnus Steve Cooper, 40.
Some of the alumni believe that the skills they gained in the Gator wrestling room helped them in other aspects of their lives.
“It taught me to work through adversity,” said Cooper, who studied journalism at SF State. “I got injured my first year wrestling here, and that gave me the opportunity to really dive into journalism.”
The Gators won’t have to resort to battling themselves much longer. SF State will start their season with two dual meets on Thursday, Nov. 1, against Life Pacific College and Cal State San Bernardino at the John Antonio Sports Complex.