Four Jackrabbits Remain Contenders at Nationals

CLEVELAND — Seth Gross secured his consecutive All-America honor and three other South Dakota State University wrestlers remained in contention at the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships Friday at Quicken Loans Arena.

The top seed at 133 pounds, Gross advanced to tonight’s semifinals with a 7-3 decision over Wyoming’s Montorie Bridges, who was seeded eighth. A junior from Apple Valley, Minnesota, Gross scored on a takedown 35 seconds into the match and rode out the remainder of the first period for a 2-0 lead.

After recording an escape in the second period for 3-0 lead, Gross sealed his victory with a takedown with under a minute to go, extending his lead to 5-0. Bridges mounted a bit of comeback in the closing seconds, but Gross finished off a 7-3 victory in moving on to the semifinals for the second year in a row.

sdsulogoGross, the NCAA runner-up at 133 pounds last season, will take on unseeded Tariq Wilson of North Carolina State in semifinal action, which begins at 8 p.m. Eastern (7 p.m. Central).

In other quarterfinal action Friday morning, the Jackrabbits’ Luke Zilverberg squared off against fifth-seeded Alec Pantaleo of Michigan in the 157-pound weight class. The two wrestlers were tied at 4-all entering the third period before Zilverberg was penalized a point for stalling and Pantaleo recorded a takedown. A senior from Belle Plaine, Minnesota, Zilverberg managed to escape down the stretch, but Pantaleo tacked on a point for riding time to move on to the semifinals with an 8-5 win.

Zilverberg, seeded 13th, dropped into the consolation bracket and will meet Kennedy Monday of North Carolina in action this evening.

Two other Jackrabbit veterans continued to work their way through the consolation bracket with a pair of wins Friday. Three-time NCAA qualifier David Kocer recorded a late takedown for a 5-3 victory over Wisconsin’s Ryan Christensen in his first match of the day at 174 pounds. About an hour later, the 11th-seeded Kocer posted an 8-0 major decision over Harvard’s Josef Johnson.

Kocer, a senior from Wagner, is slated to meet eighth-seed Jadaen Bernstein of Navy in consolation action tonight.

Meanwhile, four-time NCAA qualifier Nate Rotert kept his tournament hopes alive with two wins. Seeded eighth at 197 pounds, the Sprearfish native used a big second period to upend Rocco Caywood of Army, 9-3, in his first bout of the day. Trailing 2-1, Rotert picked up a point for stalling, recorded an escape and then turned a takedown into a four-point near-fall in racking up eight points in the second stanza.

Rotert then took on West Virginia’s Jake Smith in a rematch of their Big 12 Conference championship match two weeks ago that was decided in overtime. Once again Rotert came out on top in a nail-biter, winning by a 4-3 count after Smith was penalized twice for stalling.

Rotert will be in search of career victory No. 100 as he takes on sixth-seeded Willie Miklus of Missouri this evening.

First-time NCAA qualifiers Connor Brown and Henry Pohlmeyer each had their tournament runs come to an end with losses Friday morning. Brown, a freshman 125-pounder from Oak Grove, Missouri, dropped a 10-4 decision to 13th-seeded Zeke Moisey of West Virginia.

Pohlmeyer, a sophomore from Johnston, Iowa, was stymied by fifth-seeded Kevin Jack of North Carolina State, 8-0.

Coverage of the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships is available tonight on ESPN and

Following are SDSU’s complete results from the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships:
125: Connor Brown, Fr., Oak Grove, Mo. (1-2 record)
* lost to #14 Luke Welch (Purdue), by dec., 5-10
* dec. Alonzo Allen (Chattanooga), 16-11
* lost to #13 Zeke Moisey (West Virginia), by dec., 4-10
Brown eliminated — ends season with 23-16 overall record

133: #1 Seth Gross, Jr., Apple Valley, Minn. (3-0 record)
* major dec. Matthew Schmitt (West Virginia), 15-2
* major dec. #16 Mitch McKee (Minnesota), 13-5
* dec. #8 Montorie Bridges (Wyoming), 7-3
* vs. Tariq Wilson (North Carolina State)

141: Henry Pohlmeyer, So., Johnston, Iowa (1-2 record)
* lost to #11 Michael Carr (Illinois), by dec., 1-8
* def. Evan Cheek (Cleveland State), by fall 5:49
* lost to #5 Kevin Jack (North Carolina State), by major dec., 0-8
Pohlmeyer eliminated — ends season with 23-11 overall record

157: #13 Luke Zilverberg, Sr., Belle Plaine, Minn. (2-1 record)
* dec. Justin Staudenmayer (Brown), 6-1
* dec. #4 Josh Shields (Arizona State), 9-6
* lost to #5 Alec Pantaleo (Michigan), by dec., 5-8
* vs. Kennedy Monday (North Carolina)

174: #11 David Kocer, Sr., Wagner, S.D. (3-1 record)
* dec. Kimball Bastian (Utah Valley), 3-1
* lost to #6 Bo Jordan (Ohio State), by major dec., 3-11
* dec. Ryan Christensen (Wisconsin), 5-3
* major dec. Josef Johnson (Harvard), 8-0
* vs. #8 Jadaen Bernstein (Navy)

184: Martin Mueller, So., Rapid City, S.D. (0-2 record)
* lost to #1 Bo Nickal (Penn State), by major dec., 4-16
* lost to Kayne MacCallum (Eastern Michigan), by dec., 3-4
Mueller eliminated — ends season with 23-8 overall record

197: #8 Nate Rotert, Sr., Spearfish, S.D. (1-1 record)
* dec. Hunter Ritter (Wisconsin), 6-2
* lost to Kyle Conel (Kent State), by dec., 2-8
* dec. Rocco Caywood (Army), 9-3
* dec. Jake Smith (West Virginia), 4-3
* vs. #6 Willie Miklus (Missouri)

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