NEWTON, Iowa – The South Dakota State University wrestling team is 13th in the preseason Tournament Power Index and three Jackrabbit wrestlers appear in the top 20 of their individual weight classes in rankings released Thursday by WIN Magazine.
The Jackrabbits recorded their best-ever finish at the Division I Wrestling Championships during the 2016-17 season with a 16th-place effort. SDSU also posted a 14-5 record in dual competition.
Defending national champion Penn State leads the TPI rankings on the strength of seven returning All-Americans.
SDSU is one of five Big 12 Conference programs ranked in the TPI preseason top 25. Defending league champion Oklahoma State is fourth, with newcomer Northern Iowa 12th and SDSU in 13th. Also in the top 25 are Wyoming, 19th, and West Virginia, tied for 20th.
Individually, junior 133-pounder Seth Gross claimed his second No. 1 preseason ranking of the week. The Apple Valley, Minnesota, native also was tabbed as the preseason favorite by FloWrestling after compiling a 34-2 overall record and posting a runner-up finish at nationals during the 2016-17 campaign.
Joining Gross in the preseason WIN Magazine rankings were 174-pounder David Kocer and Nate Rotert in the 197-pound division. A Wagner native, Kocer checked in at No. 20 after making his second consecutive NCAA appearance and finishing with a 24-10 record last season.
A three-time NCAA qualifier, Rotert is ranked ninth at 197 pounds. The Spearfish native turned in a 22-9 record during the 2016-17 season.
The Jackrabbits are scheduled to open the 2017-18 season by hosting the Warren Williamson/Daktronics Open.