Jackrabbits’ Kocer and Pack punch NCAA tickets with WWC titles

OREM, Utah – No. 16 Cody Pack and Alex Kocer of South Dakota State both punched their tickets to the NCAA Wrestling Championships behind 2-0 efforts at the NCAA West Region/Western Wrestling Conference Championship.

Pack and Kocer are the second and third Jackrabbits to win conference titles in the Division I era.

SDSU JackrabbitsIn the 157-pound title bout, Pack led the majority of the match following a first-period takedown, but trailed 3-2 with moments to go in the third period. Pack recorded a reversal with just 0:01 left on the clock to win, 4-3. Pack opened his day with a 4-1 win over Air Force’s Josh Kreimier.

Fueled by takedowns in the first and third period, Kocer defeated Natrelle Demison, 5-2 to win the 149-pound weight class and qualify for the NCAA’s. Kocer defeated Wyoming’s Brandon Richardson, 5-1 in the semifinals following an opening-round bye.

John Nething II also reached the finals, but fell to North Dakota State’s Hayden Zillmer 8-4, who is ranked No. 12. Following a first-round bye, Nething II beat Air Force’s Konnor Witt, 6-1 to advance to the finals.

On the backside, Sophomore Brance Simms reached the consolation semifinals, but fell to Utah Valley’s Chasen Tolbert. Simms finished the day 2-2 with wins over Wyoming’s Gunnar Woodburn and Northern Colorado’s Michael Espinoza.

Kocer and Pack automatically qualifying for the NCAA Championships will represent the first time in school history that SDSU has sent multiple Division I qualifiers to the championships.

As a team, SDSU finished fifth with 34.5 points.

The NCAA will release its 40 at-large bids on Wednesday at 5 p.m. Nething II and Joe Brewster are potential at-large candidates.

NCAA Division I West Regional Championships results