The South Dakota State University wrestling team will square off against some of the top wrestlers in the country this weekend as it travels to the desert for the 38th Annual Cliff Keen Las Vegas Collegiate Wrestling Invitational.
The individual tournament will feature more than 100 wrestlers currently ranked in the top 25 of their individual weight classes by FloWrestling, along with 16 of the top 25 teams in tournament rankings.
Competition begins at 11 a.m. Central Time on Friday at the Las Vegas Convention Center, with an evening session consisting of a consolation round and championship quarterfinals starting at 8 p.m. The tournament concludes Saturday with consolation matches starting at 11 a.m. Championship semifinals and fifth- and seventh-place matches begin at noon, with the championship finals and third-place matches taking place at 5 p.m.
Three Jackrabbits are among the pre-seeded wrestlers: Tanner Sloan is third at 197 pounds, Henry Pohlmeyer is 10th at 149 pounds and Zach Carlson is pre-seeded 10th in the 184-pound weight class.
SDSU is making its first appearance at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational since 2012.
In addition, 15 Jackrabbit wrestlers are expected to compete Saturday at the BVU Open in Storm Lake, Iowa. That day-long event begins at 9 a.m.
LAST TIME OUT: South Dakota State closed out the month of November with a pair of strong performances.
Dual at Utah Valley
South Dakota State’s Zach Carlson and Clay Carlson each recorded pins to lead the Jackrabbit wrestling team to a 24-12 victory over host Utah Valley in the Big 12 Conference dual opener for both teams on Nov. 22 in Orem, Utah. The Jackrabbits evened their overall dual record at 1-1, while UVU dropped to 1-2.
SDSU got out of the gates quickly, winning each of the first three matches by decision for a 9-0 advantage. Henry Pohlmeyer, ranked 16th by FloWrestling, scored an 8-4 victory over Landon Knutzen at 149 pounds, followed by a 13-6 victory by Colten Carlson in the 157-pound bout. Garrett Jordan finished the run with a 3-2 win over Koy Wilkinson at 165 pounds.
The Wolverines got on the board with a decision by Kimball Bastian in the 174-pound matchup before Zach Carlson gave SDSU some added cushion with a second-period pin of Gary Jantzer. Ranked 19th by Intermat, Carlson upped the Jackrabbit lead to 15-3 at the halfway mark in improving to 6-1 on the season.
Utah Valley pulled to within 15-9 with back-to-back victories in the top two weight classes. The Wolverines’ Tanner Orndorff pulled off an upset by knocking off fourth-ranked Jackrabbit Tanner Sloan in the 197-pound match, 5-3. Sloan led 2-1 through two periods, although the 19th-ranked Orndorff began to gain the momentum by riding out the entire second period from the top position. Orndorff escaped early in the third period and came up with a takedown moments later for a 4-2 lead, securing the final point via riding time after Sloan escaped in the closing seconds.
The Jackrabbits nearly pulled off an upset of their own in the heavyweight bout as Blake Wolters lost a 6-4 overtime decision to third-ranked Tate Orndorff. Wolters forced the extra session with a takedown in the final seconds of regulation, while Orndorff recorded the decisive takedown with less than 10 seconds to go in the first overtime session.
With the dual shifting back to the lower weights, senior 125-pounder Kahlen Morris stemmed the tide for SDSU with a 4-2 decision over Josiah Nava.
After the Wolverines stayed within striking distance at 18-12 following a Taylor LaMont decision at 133 pounds, Clay Carlson sealed the SDSU win with a first-period pin Cameron Hunsaker in the 141-pound matchup. Carlson entered the dual ranked 32nd by TrackWrestling.
SOUTH DAKOTA STATE 24, UTAH VALLEY 12
149: #16 Henry Pohlmeyer (SDSU) dec. Landon Knutzen (UVU), 8-4
157: Colten Carlson (SDSU) dec. Jed Loveless (UVU), 13-6
165: Garrett Jordan (SDSU) dec. Koy Wilkinson (UVU), 3-2
174: #13 Kimball Bastian (UVU) dec. Cade King (SDSU), 4-0
184: #19 Zach Carlson (SDSU) def. Gary Jantzer (UVU), by fall 3:55
197: #19 Tanner Orndorff (UVU) dec. #4 Tanner Sloan (SDSU), 5-3
285: #3 Tate Orndorff (UVU) dec. Blake Wolters (SDSU), 6-4 [SV-1]
125: Kahlen Morris (SDSU) dec. Josiah Nava (UVU), 4-2
133: Taylor LaMont (UVU) dec. Zach Price (SDSU), 7-4
141: #32 Clay Carlson (SDSU) def. Cameron Hunsaker (UVU), by fall 2:34
Younes Hospitality Open
South Dakota State University wrestlers Danny Vega and Spencer Trenary each won individual titles Nov. 23 at the Younes Hospitality Open in Kearney, Nebraska.
Vega, a junior from Tucson, Arizona, won the 125-pound title in the Elite Division by posting a 3-0 record on the day. He won by fall over Patrick Allis of Western State (Colo.) in his first match of the day, followed by a 22-10 major decision over Collin Metzger of Colorado Mesa in the semifinals. In the title bout, Vega scored a 5-3 decision over Emmanuel Browne of Baker University.
Also in the Elite Division, Tanner Cook placed third at 165 pounds with a 3-1 record on the day. He closed out the tournament with a pair of pins, including a first-period fall over Nebraska’s Jake Silverstein in the third-place bout.
Trenary, a freshman heavyweight from Rolfe, Iowa, claimed his title in the Amateur Division by notching four pins in his five matches. Trenary won by fall over a pair of Wyoming wrestlers, Brooks Baker and Terren Swartz, in the semifinals and finals, respectively. The pin of Swartz in the championship match came in 44 seconds.
Also advancing to the finals in the Amateur Division were fellow Jackrabbit freshmen Skyler Noftsger in the 174-pound weight class and 184-pounder Caleb Orris. Noftsger won his first three matches by a combined 28-7 to advance to the finals, but lost a 10-4 decision to Levi Farris of Colorado Mines in the championship.
Orris reeled off four straight wins, including two by fall, to reach the title bout. His tournament run came to an end with a 5-2 loss to Joseph Reimers of host Nebraska-Kearney.
Also placing for the Jackrabbits was freshman Caleb Gross, third in the 141-pound Amateur Division. Teammate Caden Lamer also turned in a strong showing with a 4-2 record at 141 pounds, but did not place in the top six.
With more than 600 wrestlers between the two divisions, the Younes Hospitality Open is the largest collegiate wrestling tournament in the country.
RABBITS RANKED: Following their performances in the first month of the season, four South Dakota State wrestlers appear in the NCAA Division I rankings compiled by a variety of media outlets.
Continuing in the rankings are Henry Pohlmeyer at 149 pounds and 197-pounder Tanner Sloan. A two-time NCAA qualifier and a senior from Johnston, Iowa, Pohlmeyer’s highest ranking is 15th by FloWrestling. Pohlmeyer also is currently ranked 20th by TrackWrestling.
Sloan, a redshirt freshman from Alburnett, Iowa, has been ranked in the top 10 by three media outlets during the season. He is currently ranked eighth by Intermat, 11th by FloWrestling and 16th by TrackWrestling.
Also appearing in the rankings are 141-pounder Clay Carlson, 32nd by TrackWrestling, and Zach Carlson, 18th in the Intermat rankings.
A LOOK AHEAD: The Jackrabbits will attend to semester final exams before returning to the mat Dec. 20 with a home dual against Minnesota. Competition is set for a 7 p.m. start at Frost Arena.