Kocer, Gross Advance to Round of 16

ST. LOUIS — South Dakota State University wrestlers Seth Gross and Alex Kocer won their opening matches Thursday to advance to the Round of 16 of the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships at Scottrade Center.

Gross, the second-seeded wrestler in the 133-pound weight class, posted a dominating 5-0 decision over Maryland’s Billy Rappo. Gross scored an early takedown and kept Rappo on the mat for the majority of the match, racking up nearly six minutes of riding time.

With his second win of the season over Rappo, Gross improved to 31-1 this season. He will face unseeded Joseph Palmer of Oregon State, 27-5 overall, who knocked off 15th-seeded Jamal Morris of North Carolina State, 5-2, Thursday night.

sdsulogo Alex Kocer, who was making his third NCAA appearance, drew eighth-seeded Patricio Lugo of Edinboro in the first round of the 149-pound division. Trailing 4-2 entering the third period, Kocer recorded an escape and takedown in the third period and picked up the decisive point with a riding-time advantage for a 6-5 victory. Kocer, 28-8 this season, will meet ninth-seeded Justin Oliver of Central Michigan (30-7 overall) in Thursday’s evening session.

Luke Zilverberg also opened competition with a win, defeating Tyrel White of Columbia, 6-5, in a preliminary round match. In the Round of 32 later in the morning session, Zilverberg dropped an 8-0 major decision to sixth-seeded Daniel Lewis of Missouri.

Zilverberg, 25-9 overall, will meet Andrew Mendel of Army, 23-13, in the wrestlebacks to begin competition Thursday evening.

Two other Jackrabbits, David Kocer and Nate Rotert, lost their opening-round matches and will compete in consolation rounds Thursday night. Kocer fell 8-2 to fifth-seeded Mark Hall of Penn State, while the ninth-seeded Rotert was knocked off by North Carolina’s Daniel Chaid, 10-5.

David Kocer, 23-9 overall, will wrestle Thursday night against Oklahoma’s Matt Reed, 12-12 overall, in a rematch of a Big 12 Conference semifinal won by Reed two weeks ago.

Rotert, 21-8 overall, will take on Northern Iowa’s Jacob Holschlag of Northern Iowa, 20-9 this season, in consolation action.

Thursday’s evening session begins at 6 p.m.

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