Jackrabbits Rally Past Wyoming, 20-18
South Dakota State erased a slow start with a dominant showing in the upper weights to defeat Wyoming, 20-18, in a college wrestling battle between ranked opponents from the Big 12 Conference Thursday night before a crowd of 2,236 at Frost Arena.
The 15th-ranked Jackrabbits won their eighth dual in a row to improve to 8-2 overall and 3-0 in conference matchups. Wyoming dropped 7-3 overall and 1-2 against league foes.
Wyoming built a 10-0 lead through the first three matches on the strength of victories from a trio of ranked wrestlers. With the dual starting at 149 pounds, 19th-ranked Sam Turner opened with a 3-0 decision over Colten Carlson.
Next, 12th-ranked Archie Colgan scored a 5-3 decision over SDSU’s 10th-ranked Luke Zilverberg in the 157-pound bout. The Cowboys’ 14th-ranked Branson Ashworth made it 10-0 in favor of Wyoming with an 11-3 decision over Jackrabbit 165-pounder Zach Carlson.
SDSU countered with five wins in a row to take control of the dual. Ninth-ranked David Kocer got the Jackrabbits started in the right direction with a 9-1 major decision over Kyle Pope — a match in which Kocer racked up more than five minutes of riding time against his 174-pound opponent.
The momentum swung firmly in the Jackrabbits’ favor in the 184-pound matchup, where Martin Mueller notched a pin late in the first period against Chaz Polson, tying the match at 10.
Nate Rotert, ranked 11th at 197 pounds, gave SDSU the lead with its third bonus-point win a row. Rotert nearly pinned Cody Vigoren midway through the third period before settiling for a 13-2 major decision.
The Jackrabbit winning streak hit five with decisions by Alex Macki (3-1) and Connor Brown (8-6). Macki recorded a late takedown against Sam Eagan in the heavyweight match, while Brown scored on a pair of reversals in the third period of his 125-pound bout against Drake Foster.
Wyoming drew within 20-15 with one match to go on a 22-7 technical fall victory by fifth-ranked Montorie Bridges over SDSU’s backup 133-pounder Tyler Pieper.
That set the stage for one of the marquee matchups in college wrestling so far this season as SDSU’s top-ranked 133-pounder Seth Gross moved up a weight class to take on top-ranked 141-pounder Bryce Meredith of Wyoming.
After a scoreless first period, Gross cracked the scoring column first with an escape 30 seconds into the second period. Meredith countered with an escape seconds into the third period and posted the only takedown of the match moments later for a 3-1 lead. Gross managed another escape late in the final period, but Meredith tacked on the final point via a riding-time advantage of 1:11 to pull out the 4-2 decision.
Gross’ first loss of the season ended a 28-match winning streak in duals for the Jackrabbit junior, whose last dual loss before Thursday also came at the hands of Meredith on Jan. 29, 2016, in a 6-4 decision.
The Jackrabbits close out their two-match homestand by hosting 11th-ranked Northern Iowa Sunday afternoon. Start time is 2 p.m. at Frost Arena.
- Wyoming leads the all-time series, 15-4, although SDSU has won three meetings in a row and four of the last five.
- The Jackrabbits improved to 17-3 in duals against Big 12 foes since joining the league at the start of the 2015-16 season.
- David Kocer moved into sole possession of 14th place in career victories at SDSU with 97, breaking a tie with his older brother, Alex (96-44 record from 2014-17) and Tyler Bryant (96-32 record from 2000-03).
- Rotert remained undefeated in duals this season at 9-0 and also moved into a tie for 19th place on the SDSU career victories chart with 88 wins against 35 losses, equaling Jeff Hohertz (88-23-1 record from 1977-81) and current teammate Luke Zilverberg (88-43 record).
- SDSU improved to 2-2 in duals against ranked opponents this season.
#15 South Dakota State 20, #22 Wyoming 18
149: #19 Sam Turner (WYO) dec. Colten Carlson (SDSU), 3-0
157: #12 Archie Colgan (WYO) dec. #10 Luke Zilverberg (SDSU), 5-3
165: #14 Branson Ashworth (WYO) major dec. Zach Carlson (SDSU), 11-3
174: #9 David Kocer (SDSU) major dec. Kyle Pope (WYO), 9-1
184: Martin Mueller (SDSU) def. Chaz Polson (WYO), by fall 2:49
197: #11 Nate Rotert (SDSU) major dec. Cody Vigoren (WYO), 13-2
285: Alex Macki (SDSU) dec. Sam Eagan (WYO), 3-1
125: Connor Brown (SDSU) dec. Drake Foster (WYO), 8-6
133: #5 Montorie Bridges (WYO) tech. fall Tyler Pieper (SDSU), 22-7 [6:11]
141: #1 Bryce Meredith (WYO) dec. #1 Seth Gross (SDSU), 4-2
Note: Gross ranked #1 at 133 pounds