Jacks to wrestle Fresno State for first time

The South Dakota State University wrestling team will attempt to bounce back from a pair of home losses when it heads to Fresno State for a Big 12 Conference dual Sunday afternoon.

Action is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. Pacific Time (4 p.m. Central) at Save Mart Center in Fresno, California. The match will be available for viewing online through FloWrestling.org (subscription required).

The Jackrabbits enter the weekend in search of their first Big 12 dual win of the season. SDSU is 1-5 overall and 0-2 in league matches after dropping home duals to Big 12 rival No. 14 Northern Iowa, 30-10, on Jan. 11, followed by a 34-0 setback in nonconference action Jan. 13 to No. 18 Pittsburgh. All five of the Jackrabbits’ losses have been to ranked teams.

Fresno State, meanwhile, comes into the weekend with a 4-6 overall mark, including a 1-3 record in the Big 12 Conference. The Bulldogs, who travel to Utah Valley on Friday, lost by a 31-6 count Jan. 13 at Iowa State. FSU’s league win was a 34-4 triumph at Northern Colorado on Nov. 11.

THE SERIES: Sunday’s dual will mark the first-ever meeting between South Dakota State and Fresno State on the wrestling mat. The Bulldogs joined the Big 12 Conference as an affiliate member during the 2017-18 season, but the two squads did not wrestle each other in dual competition.

GROSS SIDELINED: Defending national champion Seth Gross announced Thursday that he will miss the remainder of the season due to a back injury that will require surgery. He intends to seek a medical hardship from the NCAA that would extend his eligibility through the 2019-20 season.

Gross, a native of Apple Valley, Minnesota, defeated Michigan’s Stevan Micic, 13-8, in the 133-pound finale in Cleveland, Ohio, last March. He was honored as the Big 12 Conference Wrestler of the Year after repeating as 133-pound champion and was a finalist for the Dan Hodge Trophy, which is awarded annually to the top collegiate wrestler. In posting a 29-1 overall record, Gross’ only loss came when he moved up a weight class to take on top-ranked 141-pounder Bryce Meredith of Wyoming in dual action, dropping a 4-2 decision.

Gross’ victory in the 2018 title match marked SDSU’s first national championship – team or individual – in the Division I era, which began during the 2004-05 athletics season. He also became the Jackrabbits’ first two-time All-American at the Division I level.

A national qualifier each of his first three seasons with the Jackrabbits, Gross competed at 141 pounds during the 2015-16 season before making back-to-back appearances in the 133-pound finals as a sophomore and junior.

Gross wrestled only once during the 2018-19 season, posting a first-period pin of Arizona State’s Josiah Kline in dual action Nov. 11.

POHLMEYER RANKED: Following Seth Gross’ announcement that he will miss the remainder of the 2018-19 season, 149-pounder Henry Pohlmeyer is the lone SDSU wrestler to appear in this week’s individual rankings.

A junior from Johnston, Iowa, Pohlmeyer has compiled a 16-7 overall record so far this season, including a 3-3 mark in duals. He is ranked as high as 12th by TrackWrestling, while adding showings of 17th (Intermat), 18th (WIN Magazine) and 19th (FloWrestling).

Pohlmeyer downed then-ninth-ranked Max Thomsen of Northern Iowa, 2-1, in a Jan. 11 dual, but ended the weekend homestand with a 6-2 loss to Pittsburgh’s Robert Lee.

Previously, Pohlmeyer recorded an eighth-place finish at the Ken Kraft Midlands Championships Dec. 29-30 in Hoffman Estates, Illinois.

Pohlmeyer moved up to the 149-pound division this season after earning an at-large berth to the 2018 NCAA Wrestling Championships in the 149-pound division. He ended his sophomore season with a 23-11 overall record.

A LOOK AHEAD: The Jackrabbits will have a 10-day break from competition before resuming dual action Jan. 31 with a home meet against Utah Valley. Start time is 7 p.m. at Frost Arena.

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