The San Francisco State men’s wrestling team has struggled out of the gate this season, going just 4-8 in dual meets and 1-5 in conference action. This past weekend, though, the Gators — at least individually — pulled off an impressive stretch, dominating not only a regional opponent, but also managing rare international travel.
Having traveled up to Vancouver, B.C. to face Simon Fraser, SF State then boarded a charter bus down to the Clackamas Open in Oregon City, Oregon, meeting a contingent of their redshirting or backup teammates to wrestle for the second time in three days.
The Gators mauled Simon Fraser 38-15 on Friday and placed three grapplers at the top of the podium on Sunday, with redshirt senior Jordan Gurrola going undefeated and only allowing a total of four points to be scored against him in five matches.
“I think we’re starting to hold ourselves to higher and higher standards, and I think making these trips is really important,” said head coach Jason Welch.
The Clan — though located in Canada — is still a part of the same Division II Regional as the Gators, but the difficulty of travel generally keeps American teams from making the trip. After arriving on Thursday, the team took the Sky Train to the Simon Fraser campus to work out, and then wandered around downtown Vancouver, all while the wrestlers tried to make up for their head coach’s somewhat-lacking sense of direction.
“Everyone had an opinion on which way to go, which bus to take … it was just a fun experience with 15 20-year olds, taking them around the city for the first time,” Welch said. “Being a part of our region, it’s important that we wrestle against them and see them during the year.”
San Francisco State won all but two contested matches, and lost a third (the heavyweight bout) by forfeit.
Then, they headed down to Clackamas Community College — one of the top JuCo wrestling programs in the country — for the Clackamas Open, where Gurrola, a redshirt senior, took home the 133-pound title, redshirt sophomore Mason Boutain won the 157-pound division and junior Justin Pichedwatana won the 184-pound bracket. Redshirt senior Brandon Vu came in runner-up at 125 pounds.
Freshman Tony Margiotta wrestled unattached at 125 pounds, and took home third place. Sophomore Angelo Reyes competed unattached, and got to the 133-pound semifinals, before losing and heading to the consolation round and losing to Providence (Mont.)’s Eli Walston by fall. Jacob Mendoza, a 174-pound freshman, took third place in his weight class after storming back through the consolation bracket following a quarterfinal loss.
“At the end of the day, what people remember and think about is who performed at regionals and NCAAs, so it’s good, that with four weeks left, the boys are starting to feel really good,” Welch said. “I think last year, we peaked a little early, and we had a couple qualifiers. It’s coming a little later this year, so I’m feeling really good about this postseason run, about peaking at the right time. The goal is to have at least one All-American, if not multiple. It starts with regional qualifiers.”
ART U’s Dante Williams scores 32 points in OT win (MBB): Following an 81-78 victory over Dominican on Jan. 17, the Academy of Art men’s basketball team posted its third consecutive win on Jan. 19, defeating Holy Names 82-79 in overtime. Back-to-back career performances included junior forward Andrija Blatancic’s 33 points and 13 rebounds against the Penguins, and redshirt sophomore guard Dante Williams scored 32 points in 34 minutes off the bench against Holy Names. The Urban Knights head back into action at Concordia tonight at 7:30 p.m. in Irvine, California, having won six of their last nine.
ART U indoor track season gets off to rousing start: Academy of Art track & field had several NCAA Division II Nationals provisional qualifiers this weekend with breakout performances from Rabah Houali (800m) and Camille Jouanno (long jump) at the Grand Valley State Lints Alumni Meet. During the Jan. 19 meet, Houali went 1:52.47 for the 10th-fastest time in DII in the young season, while Jouanno delivered her second top mark, going 18-11.75 (5.78m) for the sixth-longest long jump in the division to date.
A special moment came for Academy of Art as four Urban Knights took the first through fourth finishes in the men’s 200m, led by last spring’s PacWest Track Athlete of the Year and Olympian Mobolade Ajomale’s 21.67. Following him, the Urban Knights had Roshard Williams (22.42), Daquan Berry (22.58) and Arrun Palacio (22.65) rounding out the top four in an event that featured 42 sprinters.
SF State Track & Field moves to No. 5: The Gators climbed to No. 5 this week in the US Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association rankings, one short of the program’s best ranking, which it achieved last season.
SF State improved 12 spots after opening the year at No. 17. In the first meet of the season last weekend, the Gators recorded eight provisional and two automatic qualifying times at the indoor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Collegiate Invitational in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Monisha Lewis earned an automatic qualifier in the 60m hurdles with a mark of 8.28 (converted from 8.26) and also qualified for the USATF Indoor Championships in New York on Feb. 22-24. She returned in the 60m to log a provisional qualifier with a time of 7.62 (converted from 7.60), which is the 18th-fastest time in the nation this season which helped her secure a USTFCCCA National Athlete of the Week award.
The 4×400 team of Alexis Henry, Timarya Baynard, Devanique Brown and Jazmine Smith clocked a program-record time of 3:41.84 for another automatic qualifier and the second-fastest time in the nation.
Destiny Mack-Talalemotu had two provisional qualifiers as she recorded a distance of 17.51m in weight throw and a 14.51m in shot put. Both results are top-25 marks in Division II.