Jacks go west for Dakota Showcase

BROOKINGS, S.D. — The South Dakota State University wrestling team will take its show to the western side of the state Sunday, when it competes in the Dakota Showcase.

The quadrangular dual event will be held in Spearfish for the first time, with action beginning at 11 a.m. Mountain Time (noon Central) at Spearfish High School.

The schedule for the four-team event between the college wrestling programs in the state of South Dakota includes:

11 a.m. — Dakota Wesleyan vs. SDSU
12:30 p.m. — Northern State vs. SDSU
2 p.m. — Augustana vs. South Dakota State
11 a.m. — Northern State vs. Augustana
12:30 p.m. — Dakota Wesleyan vs. Augustana
2 p.m. — Dakota Wesleyan vs. Northern State

sdsulogoThe Jackrabbits, ranked 17th in this week’s NWCA/USA Today Division I poll, enter the weekend with an 0-2 record in duals following losses to No. 8 Minnesota (20-12) and No. 12 Arizona State (25-13).

THE SERIES: The Jackabbits are a combined 75-16-1 in dual action against their three opponents at the Dakota Showcase. SDSU holds a 39-15 record against Augustana, including a 37-6 victory in the South Dakota Showcase last season.

Against Northern State, the Jackrabbits lead the all-time series by a 30-1-1 mark and lead Dakota Wesleyan 6-0 in head-to-head matchups. SDSU completed its sweep of the 2016 Dakota Showcase with respective 28-8 and 56-0 victories over Northern and Dakota Wesleyan.

BLACK HILLS HOMECOMING: Sunday’s Dakota Showcase will mark a trip home for three members of the Jackrabbit wrestling team who hail from the Black Hills area.

Leading the trio is senior 197-pounder and Spearfish native, Nate Rotert. A three-time NCAA qualifier, Rotert has compiled a 5-1 record so far this season and is ranked seventh in the country by FloWrestling.org. For his career, Rotert has compiled a 76-33 record.

Two Jackrabbits — Martin Mueller and Kasey Klapprodt – are products of Rapid City. A sophomore, Mueller was the squad’s starting 184-pounder last season and has shared time at that weight class so far this season. The Rapid City Central High School graduate posted a 16-13 record as a redshirt freshman and is off to a 4-1 start to the 2017-18 campaign.

A Rapid City Stevens High School graduate, Klapprodt has yet to wrestle this season, but turned in a 20-7 mark last season, including a 1-0 record in duals.

SDSU previously wrestled a dual in Spearfish against Wyoming during the 2012-13 season, with Wyoming claiming a 21-13 victory.

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.

The Jackrabbits opened the 2017-18 season with a No. 16 ranking in the first NWCA/USA Today Division I Coaches Poll, and have since dropped one spot to No. 17 after the first two weeks of its dual season.

Defending national champion Penn State is the top-ranked team in the poll, followed by Ohio State. Reigning Big 12 Conference champion Oklahoma State is third.

Besides Oklahoma State and the Jackrabbits, the Big 12 is represented in the poll by newcomer Northern Iowa (16th) and Oklahoma (21st).

Other current top-25 opponents on the Jackrabbits’ dual schedule this season include Minnesota (eighth), Arizona State (12th), Central Michigan (19th) and Pittsburgh (24th).

The Jackrabbits also are ranked 14th by both FloWrestling and WIN Magazine, 15th by TrackWrestling and 16th Intermat.

Individually, all four of the Jackrabbits’ returning national qualifiers appear in at least one Division I poll, highlighted by Seth Gross’ No. 1 ranking by four rating services. The junior from Apple Valley, Minnesota, holds the top spot at 133 pounds in rankings conducted by FloWrestling, Intermat, TrackWrestling and WIN Magazine.

Three-time NCAA qualifier Nate Rotert at 197 pounds is ranked seventh by both Intermat and FloWrestling, as well as eighth by WIN Magazine and 10th by TrackWrestling, while 174-pound senior David Kocer is ranked as high as 10th by FloWrestling, followed by a 14th-place showing by Intermat and 17th-place showings in the TrackWrestling and WIN Magazine rankings. A Wagner native, Kocer is a two-time national qualifier.

Completing the Jackrabbit rankings is Luke Zilverberg, who has dropped down to the 157-pound weight class for his senior season. An NCAA qualifier at 165 pounds during the 2016-17 season, the Belle Plaine, Minnesota, native checks in at No. 11 in this week’s FloWrestling and TrackWrestling rankings. He also stands 13th in the Intermat rankings and 14th in the WIN Magazine survey.

ARIZONA STATE RECAP: Twelfth-ranked Arizona State won the final five matches and went on to defeat No. 16 South Dakota State, 25-13, Nov. 26 in Tempe, Arizona.

The Sun Devils improved to 2-2 in duals this season, while SDSU dropped to 0-2.

The Jackrabbits held the lead for most of the first half of the dual, starting with an 18-3 technical fall victory by seventh-ranked Nate Rotert. In his first dual action of the season, Rotert led 8-1 at the end of the first period in his match against Cade Belshay before finishing off his victory midway through the third.

Arizona State took a momentary 7-5 lead with back-to-back wins by ranked wrestlers Tanner Hall and Ryan Millhof. Hall, the fourth-ranked heavyweight, posted a 15-3 major decision over Alex Macki, while sixth-ranked Millhof scored a 5-2 decision over SDSU freshman Connor Brown at 125 pounds.

SDSU regained the lead at 10-7 with its second win by technical fall. Top-ranked Seth Gross led Ali Naser 2-0 after the first period of their 133-pound bout before Gross put together a big second period with an escape, takedown and two four-point near-falls en route to a 19-1 victory.

The Jackrabbits closed the first half of the dual with a 9-4 decision by Henry Pohlmeyer at 141 pounds that upped the SDSU lead to 13-7.

Arizona State dominated the second half of the dual behind four consecutive wins from ranked wrestlers. No. 13 Josh Maruca started the winning streak with a 12-6 decision over Colten Carlson and the Sun Devils knotted the dual at 13 with a 4-0 decision by No. 5 Josh Shields over No. 11 Luke Zilverberg.

ASU grabbed the lead for good in the 165-pound weight class as No. 8 Anthony Valencia recorded a 10-1 major decision over Zach Carlson. The Sun Devils then sealed the dual win as No. 1 Zahid Valencia notched a 21-6 technical fall win over 10th-ranked David Kocer in the second period of their 174-pound matchup.

Kordell Norfleet capped the ASU comeback with an 8-6 decision over Brady Ayers in which he recorded a takedown with 20 seconds remaining to break a 6-all deadlock.

#12 Arizona State 25, #16 South Dakota State 13
197: #7 Nate Rotert (SDSU) tech. fall Cade Belshay (ASU), 18-3 [6:04]
285: #4 Tanner Hall (ASU) major dec. Alex Macki (SDSU), 15-3
125: #6 Ryan Millhof (ASU) dec. Connor Brown (SDSU), 5-2
133: #1 Seth Gross (SDSU) tech. fall Ali Naser (ASU), 19-1 [5:47]
141: Henry Pohlmeyer (SDSU) dec. Cory Crooks (ASU), 9-4
149: #13 Josh Maruca (ASU) dec. Colten Carlson (SDSU), 12-6
157: #5 Josh Shields (ASU) dec. #11 Luke Zilverberg (SDSU), 4-0
165: #8 Anthony Valencia (ASU) major dec. Zach Carlson (SDSU), 10-1
174: #1 Zahid Valencia (ASU) tech. fall #10 David Kocer (SDSU), 21-6 [4:12]
184: Kordell Norfleet (ASU) dec Brady Ayers (SDSU), 8-6

DUAL STREAK: Seth Gross brings a streak of 24 consecutive victories in dual competition into Sunday’s Dakota Showcase. After winning his final five dual bouts at 141 pounds during the 2015-16 season, Gross posted a perfect 17-0 record in duals last season while wrestling at 133 pounds. He stayed unbeaten at 133 pounds and extended his winning streak to 24 with a 19-1 technical fall over Arizona State’s Ali Naser on Nov. 26.

Of his 23 consecutive dual wins, 11 have been by fall, five by major decision, four by decision, four by technical fall and three by decision to total 118 team dual points.

Gross’ last dual loss was a 6-4 setback to Wyoming’s Bryce Meredith on Jan. 29, 2016. Overall, he holds a 30-6 record in duals during his Jackrabbit career.

KOCER JOINS TOP 25: Senior 174-pounder David Kocer moved into the Jackrabbit top 25 for career wins during competition Nov. 5 at the season-opening Warren Williamson/Daktronics Open. Kocer followed a runner-up finish at the Daktronics Open by winning his weight class at the Bison Open Nov. 11. With a 7-2 record this season, Kocer has upped his career mark to 87-44 to move him into sole possession of 19th place on the Jackrabbit victories chart.

He also joins his older brother, Alex, in the top 25. Alex Kocer compiled a 96-44 record from 2014-17, ending his career with an eighth-place All-America finish at 149 pounds in 2017.

A LOOK AHEAD: The Jacks return home to host another ranked Division I opponent in Central Michigan on Dec. 8 . The dual will be part of a basketball-wrestling doubleheader at Frost Arena. The Jackrabbit men’s basketball game versus Concordia (Neb.) is scheduled for a 5:30 p.m. tipoff, followed by the CMU-SDSU wrestling dual at 8 p.m.

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