INDIANAPOLIS – Seth Gross is the top seed at 133 pounds and three other Jackrabbits are seeded in the top 16 of their respective weight classes as seedings and pairings for next week’s NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships were announced Wednesday.
Gross, a junior from Apple Valley, Minnesota, and the runner-up at 133 pounds a year ago earned the top seed after going undefeated (24-0) within the weight class this season. His only loss this season has been to top-ranked 141-pounder Bryce Meredith of Wyoming.
A two-time Big 12 Conference champion and a three-time NCAA qualifier, Gross will open his 2018 title run by meeting Matthew Schmitt of West Virginia (21-12 overall) for the third time this season. Gross defeated Schmitt, 7-2, in dual action Feb. 11, then posted a 10-2 major decision in the Big 12 semifinals last weekend.
Fellow Big 12 champion Nate Rotert is seeded eighth at 197 pounds after compiling a 25-3 record so far this season. A four-time NCAA qualifier from Spearfish, Rotert is slated to meet Hunter Ritter (Wisconsin, 26-9 record) in the opening round.
Seeded 11th at 174 pounds is senior and Wagner native David Kocer, who is making his third consecutive trip to the national meet. Kocer has posted a 23-6 overall record and will meet Utah Valley’s Kimball Bastian (19-9 overall) in the opening round. Kocer notched a 6-2 decision over Bastian in dual action in January.
SDSU’s fourth-seeded wrestler is Luke Zilverberg, who checks in at No. 13 in the 157-pound weight class after turning in a 27-8 overall mark during the 2017-18 campaign. A senior from Belle Plaine, Minnesota, Zilverberg is making his second consecutive appearance in the NCAA Championships after qualifying at 165 pounds last season. He also will have a rematch in his initial bout, squaring off against Brown’s Justin Staudenmayer (22-10 overall). Zilverberg blanked Staudenmayer, 5-0, in the fifth-place match at the Midlands Championships in late December.
Three other Jackrabbits are unseeded as they make their first appearances at the national meet. Freshman Connor Brown (22-14) will face off against 14th-seeded Luke Welch of Purdue in the 125-pound weight class. Welch eliminated Brown, 13-4, from the Midlands Championships earlier this season.
At 141 pounds, Henry Pohlmeyer (22-9) has drawn 11th -seeded Michael Carr of Illinois (17-5 overall), while Martin Mueller will face top-seeded Bo Nickal of Penn State (28-0 overall). Both Pohlmeyer and Mueller are sophomores.
The NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships are scheduled for March 15-17 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. Television coverage of the three-day tournament will be available on the ESPN family of networks.