Gator wrestlers decimated Menlo College with bonus points in a 23-15 win on Senior Night on Thursday, Feb. 7 at the Swamp.
The Gator grapplers started out sluggish, wrestling defensively while Menlo wrestlers pressed their attacks.
“In wrestling, you wanna get out there, and you want to go forward right away,” SF State head coach Jason Welch said. “There shouldn’t be defense. They shouldn’t be playing games, you want to go and dominate. We started with a little bit of nerves, — a little bit — slow.”
Senior Gator Brandon Vu, who started the night of wrestling for SF State at 125 pounds, struck first. Vu scrambled off of Menlo’s Riley Siason low single attempt, ending up on top and getting the first two points of the meet.
The strong start was quickly overshadowed by Siason’s persistence on the low singles, and Vu spent most of the match fighting them off. The constant shots payed off for Siason, tying him up 3-3 with Vu to close out regulation before getting a walk-off low single in overtime.
Redshirt senior Gator Jordan Gurrola followed Vu by taking care of business, pinning Menlo’s Blaysen Terurkina in the second period off a slick drop that reversed Terurkina’s stand-up escape attempt. Gurrola was not aggressive, but countered well.
“He just kept standing up to his feet, so I had to decide —screw it. I’m just gonna go for it,” Gurrola said about his pin. “It was a big move, it’s not something you go for very often.”
The defensive wrestling continued, with less-than-ideal results, as senior Gators Christian Ramos and Isiah Alva both dropped decisions to Menlo, 8-4 and and 5-0 respectively.
Losing three-of-four matches to start out could have spelled danger for the Gators, but Gurrola’s pin gave the team valuable six points and started a dominant set of SF State wins, getting an early tech fall from redshirt sophomore Mason Boutain and another SF State pin from sophomore Maximilian Schneider. The flurry of bonus points catapulted the Gators to a 17-9 lead.
“It is so important that Jordan Gurrola got (a) pin,” Welch said. “What I told the guys afterwards is everyone did[their] job. Guys who were supposed to pin got their pins.”
Boutain was happy to get the senior Gator wrestlers a win on their last meet at the swamp.
“It was amazing, to be honest,” he said.
Redshirt sophomore Curtis Clem continued the Gators offensive resurgence, setting up smart low single opportunities.
The low singles payed off with two takedowns for Clem, who another takedown from a bottom reversal on Menlo’s Young An. With 6-2 lead in the waning moments of the third period, Clem pushed the pace to get a major decision for the Gators, going to yet another low single. An held on near the mat boundary to hold off more SF State bonus points.
The Gators would drop the next two matches to decision losses, going into the final bout of the night with 20-15 lead.
Junior Gator Ricardo Jaramillo finished out the night at heavyweights, overpowering his opponent two one takedown off an arm drag. Jaramillo also forced the lighter Menlo heavyweight into stalling calls, getting a solid 5-0 decision victory to end the meet with a 23-15 Gators win.
Senior Gator grapplers Isiah Alva, Jordan Gurrola, Romeo Medina-Ontiveros, Christian Ramos and Brandon Vu wrestled their last matches at the Swamp, and were honored in the pre-meet ceremony.
“Last time in the gym, so it was good come out and represent, and make it happen,” Gurrola said.
The Gators have nothing but the postseason ahead of them, starting with NCAA DII Super Region Six Championships on Saturday, Feb. 23 in Kearney, Nebraska.