Big 12 Championship next for Jackrabbits

The South Dakota State University wrestling team will turn its attention to postseason competition, traveling this weekend to the Big 12 Conference Wrestling Championship.

The two-day event runs Saturday and Sunday at BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Full-mat video coverage and results will be available through FloWrestling.org (subscription required).

The tournament schedule is as follows:
Saturday, March 9
Session 1: Preliminary and Quarterfinal Matches, 11 a.m.
Session 2: Semifinal and Consolation Quarterfinal Matches, 5 p.m.
Sunday, March 10
Session 3: Consolation Semifinals, Third- and Fifth-Place Matches, noon
Session 4: Championship Matches, 7 p.m.

The Big 12 Conference has been allocated 53 automatic qualifiers for the 2019 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships, which will take place later this month in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The automatic qualifiers will be determined by finish at the conference meet.

The league’s 53 automatic qualifiers represent an increase of eight from a year ago. Breakdown by weight class:
125: 5
133: 5
141: 6
149: 7
157: 1
165: 6
174: 5
184: 5
197: 7
285: 6

PRE-SEEDS ANNOUNCED: Three South Dakota State wrestlers appear in the top eight of their respective weight classes as league officials announced Monday the pre-seeds for this weekend’s Big 12 Conference Wrestling Championship.

Leading the Jackrabbit contingent are Henry Pohlmeyer and Zach Carlson, who are each seeded seventh. A junior from Johnston, Iowa, Pohlmeyer has compiled a 19-11 record in the 149-pound weight class. He stands to receive a first-round bye and is scheduled to face the winner between Wyoming’s Jaron Jensen and second-seeded Max Thomsen of Northern Iowa in the quarterfinals. Pohlmeyer defeated both of his potential quarterfinal opponents in dual action this season.

Carlson, a junior from Kerkhoven, Minnesota, has posted a 20-7 record so far in the 184-pound division. He is matched up against Michael Otomo of North Dakota State in preliminary action, with the winner moving on to face No. 2 seed Drew Foster of Northern Iowa. Carlson owns two victories over Otomo this season, winning by decision at the UNI Open in December and by technical fall during dual action last month.

Rounding out the Jackrabbits’ seeded wrestlers is No. 8 Colten Carlson at 157 pounds. A sophomore from Willmar, Minnesota, Colten Carlson has notched a 10-12 record in advance of his preliminary matchup versus Grant LaMont of Utah Valley. The winner is slated to wrestle top-seeded Justin Thomas of Oklahoma in the quarterfinals.

Each weight class features eight seeded wrestlers. Pairings are determined by a draw as the four unseeded wrestlers will each face a seeded wrestler, with the other four seeded wrestlers receiving an opening-round bye.

The conference’s coaches will meet in person Friday to finalize the brackets.

SDSU’s seven other entrants in the 2019 Big 12 Wrestling Championship are unseeded and are set to wrestle in preliminary-round action Saturday, starting at 11 a.m. Projected matchups include:
125: Gregory Coapstick vs. #2 Brent Fleetwood (North Dakota State)
133: Rylee Molitor vs. #1 Daton Fix (Oklahoma State)
141: Aric Williams vs. #5 Kaid Brock (Oklahoma State)
165: Logan Peterson vs. #7 Jeremy Thomas (Oklahoma)
174: Samuel Grove vs. #5 Hayden Hastings (Wyoming)
197: Martin Mueller vs. #4 Tanner Orndorff (Utah Valley)
285: Blake Wolters vs. #7 Brandon Ngati (West Virginia)

BIG 12 HISTORY: South Dakota State will compete at the Big 12 Conference Wrestling Championship for the fourth time since joining the league as an affiliate member at the start of the 2015-16 season.

The Jackrabbits placed in the top four of the team standings each of their first three appearances, including back-to-back third-place efforts in 2017 and 2018, and have had at least one individual finalist every year.

BIG 12 2018: Seth Gross repeated as 133-pound champion and Nate Rotert added an individual title at 197 pounds to lead the South Dakota State University wrestling team to a third-place finish at the 2018 Big 12 Wrestling Championship contested March 3-4 at BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

With four individual champions, Oklahoma State claimed the team title with 137 points. Northern Iowa edged the Jackrabbits for second place with 96.5 points compared to SDSU’s 94 points.

A junior from Apple Valley, Minnesota, the top-ranked Gross never trailed in posting an 8-5 decision over Kaid Brock of Oklahoma State in a rematch of the previous year’s title bout.

A senior from Spearfish, Rotert locked horns against fourth-seeded Jake Smith of West Virginia in their 197-pound championship match. The two wrestlers traded escapes in regulation time, with Smith scoring in the second period and Rotert getting the equalizer in the third period to send the match into overtime tied at 1.

Neither wrestler scored in the first sudden-victory period or ensuing 30-second tiebreakers. A second sudden-victory period was also scoreless before each wrestler managed an escape in the second set of tiebreakers, but because Rotert had an advantage of one second of riding time on the clock with overtime exhausted, he was awarded the final point of the bout for a 3-2 victory.

Also wrestling in a title match for SDSU was Wagner native David Kocer in the 174-pound weight class. Kocer opened the scoring late in the first period with a takedown against top-seeded Taylor Lujan of Northern Iowa, but Lujan quickly countered with a reversal en route to securing a 6-3 victory.

Also earning automatic berths to the NCAA Championships based on allocations out of the Big 12 Wrestling Championship for the Jackrabbits were 125-pounder Connor Brown (fifth place), 157-pounder Luke Zilverberg (third place) and Martin Mueller at 184 pounds (fourth place).

PANEL RANKINGS: South Dakota State’s Henry Pohlmeyer remained in the NCAA Coaches’ Panel rankings heading into the Big 12 Wrestling Championship.

A junior from Johnston, Iowa, Pohlmeyer is ranked 19th in the 149-pound weight class. He has compiled a 19-11 overall record this season and also ranks 25th in ratings percentage index (RPI). Pohlmeyer was an NCAA qualifier at 141 pounds as a sophomore.

Fellow junior Zach Carlson dropped out of the coaches’ 184-pound rankings despite a 20-7 overall record that puts him 26th in RPI.

The panel rankings will be used to help determine the 44 at-large qualifiers that will fill out the 330-wrestler field for the 2019 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships March 21-23 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. At-large selections will be announced on March 12, while brackets and seeding for the 2019 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships will be revealed March 13.

A LOOK AHEAD: Pairings for the 2019 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships will be announced March 13. The three-day event will be contested March 21-23 at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

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