Photo courtesy of Garrett Finke, WSCU
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (March 11, 2016) – For the first time since the program re-start in 2008, the No. 17 Colorado State University-Pueblo wrestling team will crown three All-Americans, as all three Pack wrestlers that entered the 2016 NCAA Division II Wrestling Championships Friday will continue on to Saturday.
The ThunderWolves sit tied for 14th following day one, which is third best in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference. Since 2008, CSU-Pueblo's best finish was 13th in 2008 when it crowned a national champion in Jesse Hillhouse at 125 and current assistant coach Ray Hall finished eighth at 174.
The three Pack student-athletes that will be wrestling for a top finish of third Saturday are JaCobi Jones (So., Omaha, Neb.) at 157, Tarrence Williams (Jr., Portland, Ore.) at 174 and Jacob Mitchell (Jr., Portland, Ore.) at heavyweight.
The NCAA Division II Wrestling Championships are at the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Day two begins with Session III beginning at 9 a.m. MST. To follow Saturday's action with live stats and video, click HERE.
Jones ranked No. 5 entering the championships and opened with Devin Austin of Pittsburgh at Johnstown and dominated the bout from the opening period. He scored a takedown in the first period and rode out the clock to lead 2-0 after one. An escape and takedown in the second pushed his lead to 5-2 before tacking on a point for riding time and winning 6-2.
Next, the sophomore had to battle No. 1 Terrel Wilbourn. Jones which he was the aggressor for the majority of the bout, but fell 3-2. The lone takedown came in the third period.
To advance to the next day and earn his second straight All-American honor, Jones defeated No. 8 Joey White of Findlay by a slim 2-1 margin. After a scoreless first, he was on top for the start of the second period and rode White for nearly 1:30 before he escaped to take a 1-0 lead. Jones recorded an early escape in the third period and picked up the riding time point, which proved to be the difference in the win.
Jones will battle No. 4 Jonatan Rivera of Notre Dame (Ohio) in his first match Saturday.
Last season, Jones finished eighth at 165 as a freshman to be crowned All-American.
Williams suffered a first round loss to No. 6 Blaze Shade of UNC Pembroke, 11-4. A first-period incident momentarily knocked out Williams, which caused a long delay. When action resumed the junior was only down 2-1, but trailed 4-1 at the period break. Williams wasn't able to rebound and lost his first NCAA Division II Championships bout.
A 12-2 major decision in his next match got him back on track, as he defeated Christophe Matthews of Gannon.
To secure All-American honors in his first appearance at the NCAA Division II Championships, Williams posted a 10-4 decision against Nick Vandermeer of Lake Erie, who had defeated Western State Colorado University's Austin Harris (No. 4) in round one.
For Williams, Saturday will begin with Roberto Rivera of Notre Dame (Ohio).
Mitchell, who entered as the No. 3 wrestler nationally, needed the first overtime to secure in a 4-2 win in his first round bout. He was leading 2-1 with less than a minute left in the third when he was hit for point penalty for an illegal hold. He made quick work of Austin Akins of Coker College with an sudden-victory takedown in overtime one.
A loss to No. 7 Donnell Walker of Maryville in the quarterfinals pushed Mitchell to the consolation side of the bracket. The bout started fast with the score 4-2 in favor of Walker. Mitchell couldn't keep up and lost 10-3.
Mitchell rebounded with a decisive 10-4 victory against familiar foe, Sam Alnassiri of San Francisco State. A four-point nearfall in the second period aided the victory and secured Mitchell's second All-American honor at the NCAA Division II level (runner-up in 2014).
Saturday, Mitchell will battle Andy Welton of Mercyhurst, who ranks No. 4 at 285.
As a member of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, Colorado State University – Pueblo competes in 22 varsity sports in NCAA Division II intercollegiate athletics.