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SDSU's Pack nearly becomes Jackrabbits first All-American

SDSU's Cody Pack, left, tries to control Ohio State's Josh Demas, right, in their 157-pound match at the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships on Friday in St. Louis. (Garrick Hodge/Republic)1 / 2
SDSU's Cody Pack, right, shakes the hand of Ohio State's Josh Demas, left, after their 157-pound match at the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships on Friday in St. Louis. (Garrick Hodge/Republic)2 / 2

ST. LOUIS -- South Dakota State's Cody Pack was one win short of becoming South Dakota State's first All-American wrestler.

The 157-pounder ended his season in the wrestlebacks by dropping a 5-2 decision to Virginia Tech's Nick Brascetta on Friday at the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships in St. Louis. Had he won the match, he would have been guaranteed to place.

"(Competing in the tournament) is an experience. It's a once in a lifetime thing and it's something special," Pack said. "It's heartbreaking how I went out, but I have to have a short memory and try to get on the podium next year."

In previous wrestleback matches, Pack defeated Ohio State's Josh Demas in an 8-3 decision, while downing Columbia's Markus Scheidel in a 4-2 decision. Pack was defeated by Maryland's Louis Mascola 10-9 in the first round.

Pack's wins were the first at the NCAA championships for SDSU.

"Cody put himself in a hole in that first match, but I was proud of the way he battled back," SDSU head coach Chris Bono said. "It's hard to lose that first-round match and come back, so I'm just proud of his effort, his belief in us and everything he's done for the program."

The Jackrabbits qualified two other wrestlers, Nathan Rotert (197) and J.J. Everard (285), who went 0-2 in the tournament.

Bono said that while this is a good start for his program, the Jackrabbits have a long way to go.

"It's (an accomplishment) from where we've come from, but it's not anywhere where we need to be," he said. "We want all 10 guys here, and we want to bring them All-Americans and national championships. The progress is there, but we're leaving the tournament disappointed. We'll be hungry to get our guys back here and get on the podium."

Pack is considered to be a senior but has some eligibility left. Bono hopes to have Pack back next year.

"Right now, he's done, he's graduating," Bono said. "We're going to apply to the NCAA for a hardship year. If we get it, we get it. If not, he's had a great career. He wants to wrestle some freestyle, so we'll try to get him some experience there and try to make some teams."