Jacks host Boise State, UNC in duals

The South Dakota State University wrestling team will kick off the new calendar year by hosting a pair of duals this weekend at Frost Arena.

The Jackrabbits, 4-2 overall, open the weekend by hosting Boise State Friday night in non-conference action. The dual is slated for a 7 p.m. start at Frost Arena.

An affiliate member of the Pac-12 Conference, Boise State is 1-1 in duals so far this season.

SDSU returns to Big 12 Conference competition on Sunday with a 2 p.m. matinee against Northern Colorado. The Bears enter the week with an 0-2 record in duals and are slated to wrestle a league dual at North Dakota State on Friday.

sdsulogo The Jackrabbits are 1-0 against Big 12 opponents so far this season after opening the 2016-17 campaign with a 27-9 home victory over Iowa State on Nov. 4.

Live video streaming of both duals will be available through the FloWrestling.org subscription service.

THE BOISE STATE SERIES: Friday’s dual against Boise State will mark only the fourth time the Jackrabbits and Broncos have met on the wrestling mat, but the third year in a row. SDSU has won each of the three previous meetings, including a 27-10 victory on Feb. 6, 2015, at Frost Arena and a 32-9 win in Boise, Idaho on Feb. 7, 2016.

The first meeting in the series was a 30-10 SDSU victory during the 1976-77 season.

In last season’s meeting, the Jackrabbits won the first seven matches, including pins by Nate Rotert (197 pounds) and Seth Gross (141) to cruise to the 23-point victory.

South Dakota State 32, Boise State 9 (Feb. 7, 2016)
174: David Kocer (SDSU) dec. Austin Dewey (BSU), 4-3
184: Brady Ayers (SDSU) major dec. Zach Coffman (BSU), 13-5
197: #15 Nate Rotert (SDSU) def. Kadyn Del Toro (BSU), by fall 4:57
285: Alex Macki (SDSU) dec. Harley DiLulo (BSU), 5-4
125: Ben Gillette (SDSU) dec. Rami Haddadin (BSU), 8-6
133: Brance Simms (SDSU) major dec. Josh Newberg (BSU), 10-2
141: Seth Gross (SDSU) def. Jake Velarde (BSU), by fall 1:34
149: #17 Geordan Martinez (BSU) dec. Alex Kocer (SDSU), 7-5
157: Chris Castillo (BSU) won by forfeit
165: Luke Zilverberg (SDSU) dec. Taylor West (BSU), 10-6

THE NORTHERN COLORADO SERIES: Sunday’s dual will mark the 37th dual meeting between South Dakota State and Northern Colorado, a series that dates back to the 1972-73 season.

The Jackrabbits hold a 24-12 series advantage and have won the last four meetings, including a 34-3 victory on Jan. 15, 2016, in Greeley, Colorado. UNC?had won won the first eight matchups between the two squads as Division I foes from 2004-05 through 2011-12.

In last year’s dual, SDSU claimed three wins by technical fall to pull away for the win. Ben Gillette opened the dual with a technical fall at 125 pounds, while David Kocer and Brady Ayers added bonus-point wins later in the dual.

South Dakota State 34, Northern Colorado 3 (Jan. 15, 2016)
125: Ben Gillette (SDSU) tech. fall Jesse Reed (UNC), 18-3
133: #18 Brance Simms (SDSU) dec. Rico Montoya (UNC), 6-4
141: Seth Gross (SDSU) major dec. Colton Orrino (UNC), 9-1
149: Timmy Box (UNC) dec. Alex Kocer (SDSU), 16-12
157: #6 Cody Pack (SDSU) dec. Joseph Grable (UNC), 9-3
165: Luke Zilverberg (SDSU) dec. Keilan Torres (UNC), 7-4
174: David Kocer (SDSU) tech. fall Tanner Davis (UNC), 21-4
184: Brady Ayers (SDSU) tech. fall Horacio Vialpando (UNC), 25-10
197: #14 Nate Rotert (SDSU) dec. #17 Trent Noon (UNC), 9-5
285: Alex Macki (SDSU) dec. Jack Kuck, 4-2 TB-2

RABBITS RANKED: South Dakota State is well represented both individually and as a team in rankings conducted by a number of wrestling-related media outlets.

In the individual rankings, returning NCAA qualifier Seth Gross is the highest-ranked Jackrabbit wrestler with a fifth-place ranking in the 133-pound division by FloWrestling, Trackwrestling and WIN Magazine. Gross, a national qualifier at 141 pounds last season, also is ranked sixth by Intermat.

Two-time NCAA qualifier Nate Rotert dropped in the rankings following his loss in the 197-pound finals at the Midlands Championships. A junior from Spearfish, Rotert is ranked seventh by WIN?Magazine, eighth by Intermat and ninth by both FloWrestling and Trackwrestling. Rotert’s fourth-place showing in the Intermat rankings earlier this season marks the highest individual ranking for a Jackrabbit wrestler in the Division I era.

At 174 pounds, junior David Kocer cracked the rankings after a strong opening weekend in which he knocked off two ranked opponents. The Wagner native and returning national qualifier is ranked 15th by FloWrestling, 19th by WIN?Magazine and 22nd by Trackwrestling. His older brother, Alex, is ranked 23rd at 149 pounds by Trackwrestling.

Junior 157-pounder Colin Holler also has moved into the individual rankings and is 14th in the latest WIN Magazine rankings and 22nd by Trackwrestling.

After being the top team to receive votes in the USA Today/National Wrestling Coaches Association preseason poll, SDSU has held the No. 20 spot in the team rankings for the last seven weeks. The Jackrabbits first cracked the rankings Nov. 8 following their season-opening dual victory over Iowa State.

SDSU also is ranked 17th in the team dual rankings by WIN Magazine and stands 18th in the team dual rankings by both Intermat and FloWrestling.

HOT STREAK: With a 4-2 record to start the 2016-17 season, the Jackrabbit wrestling team has continued an impressive run of success in dual meets. Dating back to December 6, 2015, when it won all three duals at the South Dakota Showcase in Sioux Falls, SDSU has won 17 of its last 20 duals.

The victories at the 2015 South Dakota Showcase began a school-record streak of 12 consecutive dual victories, which was eventually snapped on Feb. 14, 2016, with a 19-13 loss at Oklahoma. SDSU later closed the 2015-16 dual season with a 23-14 victory against North Dakota State.

MIDLANDS RECAP: Top-seeded Nate Rotert of South Dakota State dropped a 4-1 decision to Nebraska’s Aaron Studebaker in the 197-pound title match Dec. 30 at the 54th annual Ken Kraft Midlands Championships in Evanston, Illinois.

Studebaker, seeded third, scored a takedown in the first period and allowed only an escape in avenging a loss to Rotert earlier this season in the finals of the Warren Williamson/Daktronics Open.

A Spearfish native, Rotert moved into the finals after receiving a medical forfeit from his scheduled semifinal opponent, fifth-seeded Kevin Beazley of Old Dominion, during competition Friday afternoon.

SDSU’s other semifinalist, third-seeded Seth Gross, posted a third-place finish in the 133-pound division Friday night with a 13-1 major-decision victory over fourth-seeded Earl Hall of Iowa State. A sophomore from Apple Valley, Minnesota, Gross dropped a 2-0 overtime decision to second-seeded and eventual champion Eric Montoya of Nebraska in semifinal action Friday afternoon, but returned to form with a 19-3 technical fall over Rutgers’ Scott Delvecchio to earn the right to wrestle for third place. The loss to Montoya was Gross’ first defeat of the season as he ended the two-day tournament with a 6-1 record to up his overall mark to 14-1.

Three other Jackrabbits wrestling in the consolation rounds saw their tournament runs end Friday afternoon. At 141 pounds, Henry Pohlmeyer lost by injury default against sixth-seeded Russell Rohlfing of CSU Bakersfield. Pohlmeyer pulled off one of the tournament’s biggest upsets during the opening day of competition on Thursday as he pinned fourth-seeded Colton McCrystal of Nebraska in first-round action.

David Kocer dropped a 5-2 decision to Jordan Pagano of Rutgers at 174 pounds, and 184-pounder Brady Ayers, wrestling unattached, was eliminated in a 13-3 major decision loss to fourth-seeded Sammy Brooks of Iowa.

SDSU slipped one spot in the team standings on the final day of competition to finish in eighth place with 66 points. Iowa won the team title with 150.5 points, followed by Nebraska with 136.5.

In all, the 15 Jackrabbit wrestlers to compete at the Midlands Championships combined for a 31-28 record. Twelve SDSU wrestlers won at least one match in the tournament, which featured more than 70 nationally ranked wrestlers.

GROSS IN DOMINANT FORM: Jackrabbit 133-pounder Seth Gross leads the team with a 14-1 record after posting a third-place finish at last week’s Midlands Championships. A sophomore from Apple Valley, Minnesota, Gross has had only two matches end in a decision so far this season. He has four wins by major decision, six by technical fall and three by fall.

An NCAA qualifier at 141 pounds last season, Gross has a 40-15 career record with the Jackrabbits. He began his transition to the lower weight class by earning a spot on Team USA?at the UWW?Junior World Championships this past summer.

THE BROTHERS KOCER: Brothers and Wagner natives Alex and David Kocer enter the new calendar year leading active Jackrabbit wrestlers in career victories.

A two-time NCAA qualifier (2014, 2016), Alex Kocer has compiled a 79-37 overall record in his four seasons in a Jackrabbit singlet. A senior, he has turned in a 13-4 overall record at 149 pounds so this season, after a 24-12 mark during the 2015-16 campaign.

David Kocer has held down the starting spot at 174 pounds each of his three seasons at SDSU and has combined to go 65-38 during his Jackrabbit career. He led the Jackrabbits in victories last season and made his first NCAA appearance, finishing with a 30-13 record.

A LOOK AHEAD: The Jackrabbits will be on the road throughout the rest of January, starting a five-dual road swing Jan. 13 with a Big 12 Conference dual at Wyoming. Starting time is 7 p.m. Mountain (8 p.m. Central) in Laramie.

SDSU wraps up the western leg of the road swing Jan. 15 at Air Force for another Big 12 dual. That matchup is slated for an 11 a.m. Mountain (noon Central) start time.

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