Jackrabbits close dual season with NDSU

The South Dakota State University wrestling team will close out the 2017-18 dual season Friday night, hosting rival North Dakota State in Big 12 Conference action.

Start time for the annual Border Bell match is set for 7 p.m. at Frost Arena, with the first 500 fans receiving a Border Bell T-shirt. The Jackrabbit senior class will be honored following the dual.

sdsulogo Friday’s dual will be available for viewing through FloWrestling.org (subscription required).

The 12th-ranked Jackrabbits enter the matchup on a school-record 13-dual winning streak. SDSU improved to 13-2 overall and 7-0 against Big 12 opponents after sweeping a road trip to Pittsburgh (25-13) and West Virginia (24-9) last weekend.

North Dakota State, meanwhile, has posted a 7-9 overall dual record this season, including a 1-6 mark against Big 12 foes. The Bison defeated Air Force, 33-7, in their last dual competition on Feb. 4.

Match Notes: South Dakota State | North Dakota State

THE SERIES: South Dakota State and North Dakota State will meet for the 64th time in dual competition when the two programs clash Friday night at Frost Arena.

NDSU leads the all-time series between the two longtime rivals, 42-20-1, although the Jackrabbits have won the last three matchups. SDSU swept a two-match season series during the 2015-16 campaign before posting a 20-18 victory at Frost Arena on Feb. 19, 2017.

Last year’s dual marked the first time the two squads faced off against each other with both teams in the Division I rankings.

#17 South Dakota State 20, #20 North Dakota State 18 (Feb. 19, 2017)
149: #16 Alex Kocer (SDSU) major dec. Kyle Gliva (NDSU), 8-0
157: #7 Clay Ream (NDSU) major dec. Logan Peterson (SDSU), 14-2
165: Luke Zilverberg (SDSU) dec. Andrew Fogarty (NDSU), 3-2
174: #16 David Kocer (SDSU) major dec. Dylan Urbach (NDSU), 6-1
184: Tyler McNutt (NDSU) dec. Martin Mueller (SDSU), 12-7
197: #7 Nate Rotert (SDSU) major dec. Cordell Eaton (NDSU), 12-3
285: Ben Tynan (NDSU) dec. Alex Macki (SDSU), 1-0
125: #4 Josh Rodriguez (NDSU) tech. fall Kahlen Morris (SDSU), 24-7 (5:00)
133: #2 Seth Gross (SDSU) def. Arthur Payne (NDSU) by fall 5:28
141: Cam Sykora (NDSU) dec. Henry Pohlmeyer (SDSU), 4-0
Note: Sykora ranked 20th at 133 pounds

BIG 12 SUCCESS: Now in its third season as an affiliate member of the Big 12 Conference for wrestling, South Dakota State has established itself as one of the top teams in the league.

Since joining the league at the start of the 2015-16 season, the Jackrabbits have combined to post a 21-3 record in duals against Big 12 foes, including a 14-1 mark over the last two seasons, with the only loss coming at Oklahoma State on Jan. 22, 2017.

SDSU also turned in a fourth-place finish at the 2016 Big 12 Wrestling Championship, followed by a third-place effort last season.

The 2018 Big 12 Wrestling Championship is slated for March 3-4 at BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Session times are set for 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 3, followed by noon and 6 p.m. sessions on Sunday, March 4. Tickets can be ordered at ticketmaster.com.

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 USA Today/NWCA Division I Coaches Poll, and have since moved up four spots to 12th – their highest-ever ranking at the D-I level. SDSU rose three spots following wins over Wyoming (Jan. 18) and Northern Iowa (Jan. 21) after holding the 15th spot for four consecutive weeks.

Defending national champion Penn State is the top-ranked team in the poll, followed by Ohio State. Missouri is third, with Michigan fourth and Oklahoma State fifth. Besides Oklahoma State and the Jackrabbits, the Big 12 is represented in the poll by newcomer Northern Iowa (13th) and Wyoming (tied for 15th).

Other current top-25 opponents on the Jackrabbits’ dual schedule this season include Arizona State (10th), Minnesota (19th) and Central Michigan (20th).

The Jackrabbits also are ranked 15th by both TrackWrestling and FloWrestling. SDSU stands 11th and 15th in both dual and tournament rankings conducted by WIN Magazine, as well as 12th in the dual and 14th in the tournament rankings by Intermat.

Individually, six Jackrabbits, including top-ranked Seth Gross at 133 pounds, appeared in the second installment of the NCAA coaches’ panel rankings, which were released Feb. 8.

A junior from Apple Valley, Minnesota, Gross enters the week with a 20-1 record during the 2017-18 season, with his only loss coming against top-ranked 141-pounder Bryce Meredith of Wyoming. Gross also holds the top spot in rankings conducted by four major rating services: FloWrestling, Intermat, TrackWrestling and WIN Magazine.

Three other returning national qualifiers for the Jackrabbits also appear in the NCAA panel rankings in their respective weight classes. Wagner native David Kocer is ranked 10th at 174 pounds, while fellow seniors Luke Zilverberg at 157 pounds and 197-pounder Nate Rotert are both 12th.

A senior, Kocer is ranked 10th this week by FloWrestling, and 11th by Intermat, WIN Magazine and TrackWrestling.

Rotert, a three-time NCAA qualifier from Spearfish, is ranked 11th this week by all four rating services.

Zilverberg 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. 10 in this week’s WIN Magazine and TrackWrestling rankings. He also is rated 12th by Intermat and 13th by FloWrestling.

Two SDSU wrestlers improved their standings from the first panel rankings. Freshman 125-pounder Connor Brown moved up six spots from 29th to 23rd, while sophomore 184-pounder Martin Mueller jumped three spots from 23rd to 20th.

Brown, who has a 17-12 overall record, cracked the national rankings for the first time in his career after consecutive dual wins against Wyoming and Northern Iowa. A true freshman from Oak Grove, Missouri, Brown has been tabbed 19th by Intermat and 25th by TrackWrestling this week.

Mueller made his initial appearance in an individual ranking last week and has maintained his No. 20 ranking in the 184-pound weight class by Intermat.

The final NCAA panel rankings will be one of the tools used as part of the selection process to determine the qualifiers for the 2018 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships, which will be held March 15-17 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio.

LAST WEEK: The Jackrabbits swept a weekend road trip, winning duals at Pittsburgh and West Virginia to run their winning streak to a school-record 13 duals.


KOCER WINS 100TH: South Dakota State’s David Kocer became the 14th wrestler in program history to reach the 100-win mark for his career, hitting the milestone Feb. 11 in dual action at West Virginia.

Kocer holds a career mark of 100-48, moving into a tie with two-time NCAA Division II national champion Pat Dorn (100-33-3 record from 1986-89) for 13th place on the SDSU career wins list. Earlier this season, Kocer passed both his older brother, Alex, and Tyler Bryant (96-32 career record from 2000-03) with a victory Jan. 18 versus Wyoming. Alex Kocer compiled a 96-44 record from 2014-17 and ended his career with an eighth-place All-America finish at 149 pounds in 2017.

David Kocer is the second SDSU wrestler to record 100 career wins in the Division I era, joining Cody Pack, who won 114 matches from 2012-16.

A LOOK AHEAD: The Jackrabbits will be off from competition until the 2018 Big 12 Wrestling Championship, which will be held March 3-4 at BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

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