CLEVELAND – David Kocer earned seventh place and Luke Zilverberg added an eighth-place finish Saturday as South Dakota State University wrestlers competed in the first session of the medal rounds at the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships at Quicken Loans Arena.
A senior from Wagner, Kocer downed Oklahoma State’s Jacobe Smith, 7-2, in the 174-pound seventh-place matchup. After a scoreless first period, Kocer recorded a takedown with 30 seconds remaining in the second period to take a 2-1 lead.
The 11th-seeded Kocer then put together a strong third period in his final collegiate match, scoring on a reversal, takedown and riding-time advantage for his 108th career victory, tying him with Mike Pankratz (108 victories from 1990-94) for ninth place in program history.
Zilverberg, a senior from Belle Plaine, Minnesota, met fourth-seeded Josh Shields from Arizona State for the second time in the tournament – and fourth time this season – in the 157-pound seventh-place match. After Zilverberg carried a quick start to a 9-6 victory in their Round of 16 matchup on Thursday, it was Shields who the aggressor early on Saturday. Shields tallied the first points of the match with a first-period takedown, then upped his lead to 5-1 through two periods with an escape and takedown.
In the third period, Zilverberg closed to within 5-3 on a reversal, but Shields escaped and tacked on two more takedowns en route to an 11-5 victory.
Zilverberg ended his season with a team-high 30 wins against 11 losses and ended his collegiate career with a 99-46 overall record. His 99 wins tied him with teammate Nate Rotert for 15th place in program history.
As a team, the Jackrabbits enter tonight’s championship round 12th in the team standings with 38 points to lead among Big 12 Conference schools. Top-seeded Seth Gross will be making his second consecutive finals appearance in the 133-pound weight class, squaring off against second-seeded Stevan Micic of Michigan.
Television coverage of tonight’s championship matches begins at 8 p.m. Eastern Time (7 p.m. Central) on ESPN2 and ESPN3.com.