SDSU competes at West Regional

BROOKINGS, S.D. — The South Dakota State wrestling team looks to secure spots at the NCAA National Championships by qualifying at the NCAA West Regional, March 6 at Colorado Springs, Colo., hosted by Air Force Academy.

Last week, 15 automatic qualifier sports were allocated to the NCAA West Regional based on the Division I winning percentage, Rating Percentage Index (RPI) and the final Coaches’ Panel Rankings. The breakdown of the 15 automatic bids per weight class are as follows: 125 pounds (2), 133 (1), 141 (2), 149 (2), 157 (2), 165 (1), 174 (1), 184 (2), 197 (1) and 285 (1).

The NCAA also released last week that the WWC had 19 wrestlers named in the final Coaches’ Panel Rankings and RPI for the 2010-11 wrestling season.

Last season, the WWC was awarded 14 automatic qualifiers, in addition to three at-large bids for a total of 17 spots. The 2011 at-large bids are scheduled to be released March 9, with the NCAA Championships set for March 17-19 in Philadelphia.

Eight Jackrabbits are set to represent SDSU at the West Regional in Aaron Pickrel (125), Tyler Johnson (141), Andrew Youngblom (149), Nick Flynn (157), John Nething (165), Joe Rasmussen (174), Cord Willers (197) and Kevin Kelly (285).
Pickrel looks to grab one of the spots at 125 pounds. He holds a 24-8 overall record and a 2-1 WWC record.

Kelly at heavyweight holds an 11-15 record and 3-3 in the WWC but he hasn’t lost a conference match by more than a decision. Last season at the West Regional, Pickrel and Kelly each recorded fourth-place finishes in the tournament.

The Jacks finished sixth in the seven-team field at the 2010 West Regional. David Michaud, out of this season’s regional due to injury, finished third last season and went on to win the true second match as well. Along with Pickrel and Kelly, Dustin Walraven also finished fourth at 141 pounds in 2010.

Watch the regional Finals – Can’t make it to the NCAA West Regional, watch it live via the NCAA West Regional tournament central page by clicking here. The events starts at 10 a.m. MT but only the finals will be streamed live starting at 5 p.m. MT. (visit

Wrestlers on Facebook – Fans can show their support for the Jackrabbit wrestlers on Facebook. Log onto to keep up with the Jackrabbit grapplers. Fans can also follow Jackrabbit Athletics on the all new Facebook page by logging onto

Jackrabbit Extra – Subscribers to the Jackrabbit Extra on can view select SDSU wrestling matches live on the internet. To subscribe to the Jackrabbit Extra, log onto, select Jackrabbit Extra on the Audio/Video tab and click “sign up.”

Jackrabbit Insider on FOX and FSN – “Jackrabbit Insider” airs at 10:30 p.m. Sundays on KTTW FOX 7. The show can also be seen on FOX Sports North Tuesdays at 6 p.m. CT. FOX College Sports Central will air the program Tuesdays at 9:30 p.m. “Jackrabbit Insider” is also available through the Jackrabbit Extra video on-demand service at Hosted by Tyler Merrium, “Jackrabbit Insider” is a weekly half-hour program that provides Jackrabbit fans with a behind-the-scenes look at South Dakota State University Athletics.

Utah Valley Dual Recap – The Jackrabbits wrapped up the season with a 40-6 loss to Utah Valley on senior night in WWC action at Frost Arena Feb. 18. In the final dual of his career, the Jackrabbit’s lone senior Kevin Kelly put the only points on the board with a win by forfeit at the 285-pound weight class.

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