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Ground Breaker (Tyler Sorenson)

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Our Taco John's Athlete of the Week recently became the first Jackrabbit wrestler to win a match at the Division One wrestling championships since 1988.  Tyler Sorenson grew up in tiny Garretson and now he's one of the best collegiate wrestlers in the entire country.

Most small town wrestlers dream of winning state championships.  And Tyler Sorenson of Garretson did just that in 2005.  But what he's done in college makes that title seem like just a footnote in his career.  The wrestler from small town South Dakota has now made his mark at the state's largest university.

"It's a groundbreaker," said SDSU Wrestling Coach Jason Liles.  "You've got to start somewhere."

Sorenson recently became the first Jackrabbit since the Division One transition to win a match at the NCAA Wrestling Championships.  Pat Dorn was an All-American back in 1988, when D-II wrestlers could qualify.  But until Sorenson, the Jacks hadn't scored any team points at nationals since 1962, when there was only one division in NCAA Wrestling.

"I think when I look back on it, I think it's gonna be one that I'll be more proud of than I am right now," said Sorenson.

It shouldn't take long.  Sorenson qualified for nationals in 2009, but didn't win a match.  This time around, he lost his opener to the 4th-ranked wrestler in the country, but followed that up with not just one, but two wins.

"It feels really good. Last year not winning a match, this year not winning a match in the first round, I needed one," said Sorenson.  "Only wrestlers know what we put into this sport and it's the only way you can ever know.  The time you've got to put in is ridiculous, but it's all worth it. Right now I feel amazing."

Even though Sorenson had a stellar career at South Dakota State, it meant the world to him to finish his career at the Division One Championships in Omaha.

"Going into that last match, I thought about that a lot," said Sorenson.  "This might be my last match. And the next one too. You've just got to leave it all out there. Especially at this tournament, because everyone's so good."

Sorenson proved he belonged with the best.  Now he's hoping that his success will lead to bigger and better things for future Jackrabbits.

"We're gonna have multiple guys here every year. We're getting better all the time and that's the main thing," said Sorenson.

"You have to start somewhere and we're on our way and hopefully we can build on this," said Liles.

From small things, big things one day come.  Just ask Tyler Sorenson, former state champion from Garretson.  Current ground breaker at SDSU.

Jason Anschutz, KDLT Sports, Omaha, Nebraska.
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