Jacks prepare for South Beach Duals, Midlands

The South Dakota State University wrestling team returns to the mats this weekend with the Jackrabbits splitting their squad and competing in a pair of high-profile tournaments.

The starting lineup and key reserves will travel to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for the South Beach Duals Sunday and Monday. SDSU, which enters the tournament with a 1-2 dual mark, is slated to wrestle four duals over the two days at the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center. Following dual competition each day, wrestlers will compete in an open tournament format.

The Jackrabbits’ schedule at the South Beach Duals follows:
Sunday, Dec. 29
vs. #18 Cornell (N.Y.), 11 a.m. Eastern Time (10 a.m. Central)
vs. Duke, 1 p.m. ET (noon CT)
Monday, Dec. 30
vs. Michigan State, 11 a.m. ET (10 a.m. CT)
vs. Old Dominion, 1 p.m. ET (noon CT)

Coverage of the South Beach Duals will be available through TrackWrestling.com.

Another contingent of Jackrabbit wrestlers is slated to compete Sunday and Monday at the 57th Annual Ken Kraft Midlands Championships, hosted by Northwestern University. The event will be held at Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, with competition beginning at 9:30 a.m. Sunday and noon Monday.

Complete coverage of the Midlands will be available through FloWrestling.org.

THE SERIES: Each of the Jackrabbits’ foes at the South Beach Duals will be first-time opponents.

SDSU has had a wrestler advance to the finals of the Midlands Championships each of the past five seasons. Cody Pack began the streak with consecutive 157-pound championship-bout appearances in 2014 and 2015, followed by a run to the finals in 2016 by Nate Rotert in the 197-pound division. En route to a national championship during the 2017-18 season, Seth Gross became the first Jackrabbit to win a Midlands individual title as he was victorious in the 133-pound weight class.

Last season, Tanner Sloan, who was competing unattached as a true freshman, advanced all the way to the 197-pound finals, while Henry Pohlmeyer placed eighth in the 149-pound weight class. As a team, the Jackrabbits finished tied for 24th at the 2018 Midlands Championships, ending a streak of three consecutive top-10 showings.

SDSU’s best finish in the team standings was in 2017 when the Jackrabbits had six wrestlers place in the top eight of their respective weight classes.

BIG RED REUNION: Sunday’s opening dual against Cornell at the South Beach Duals has the makings of a reunion for two members of the South Dakota State coaching staff.

Head coach Damion Hahn served as an assistant coach and later associate head coach at Cornell for 12 seasons before taking his first head coaching position with the Jackrabbits in the spring of 2018. During his tenure, the Big Red recorded 11 top-10 team finishes at the NCAA Championships, including consecutive runner-up finishes in 2010 and 2011. He mentored 50 All-Americans, 12 of whom were individual NCAA champions. Cornell also won 12 straight Ivy League dual championships and 11 consecutive Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association team titles.

SDSU assistant coach Cam Simaz wrestled at Cornell and earned All-America honors four times, including winning a national title at 197 pounds as a senior in 2012 after runner-up finishes the previous two seasons.

RABBITS RANKED: Following their performances in the first two months of the season, four South Dakota State wrestlers appear in the NCAA Division I rankings compiled by a variety of media outlets.

Ranked throughout the season have been Henry Pohlmeyer at 149 pounds and Tanner Sloan at 197 pounds. A two-time NCAA qualifier and a senior from Johnston, Iowa, Pohlmeyer’s highest ranking is 15th by FloWrestling. Pohlmeyer also is currently ranked 18th by TrackWrestling.

Sloan, a redshirt freshman from Alburnett, Iowa, was ranked in the top 10 by three media outlets earlier in the season. He is currently ranked 14th by Intermat, 18th by TrackWrestling and 19th by FloWrestling.

At 184 pounds, Zach Carlson has moved into all three rankings, holding spots of 16th by Intermat, 17th by FloWrestling and 24th by TrackWrestling.

Also appearing in the rankings is 141-pounder Clay Carlson, who is ranked 33rd by TrackWrestling.

A LOOK AHEAD: The Jackrabbits begin the new calendar year with a Big 12 Conference dual Jan. 10 at nationally-ranked Northern Iowa. Start time is set for 7 p.m. in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

SDSU returns home on the back half of that weekend for a Jan. 12 dual versus another Big 12 foe in Wyoming. Action is set for a 1 p.m. start at Frost Arena.

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