The South Dakota State University wrestling team continues a stretch of duals against Big 12 Conference opponents, squaring off against a pair of league foes Sunday afternoon in a multi-team dual competition hosted by Air Force.
The Jackrabbits, 1-3 overall and 0-2 in Big 12 duals, are scheduled to wrestle 23rd-ranked Northern Colorado at 1:30 p.m. Mountain Time (2:30 p.m. Central), followed by a matchup against host Air Force. Coverage from Air Force’s East Gym begins at noon Mountain Time (1 p.m. Central) on Trackwrestling.com.
UNC, which has cracked the Division I team rankings for the first time since the 1968-69 season, is off to a 3-0 start. The Bears also are 2-0 against Big 12 opponents, defeating Wyoming, 24-19, on Jan. 3, followed by a 19-16 victory at Utah Valley on Jan. 8.
Air Force will be making its season debut on Sunday. The Falcons posted a 4-8 overall record in duals during the 2019-20 season, including a 1-7 mark in the Big 12.
SDSU is coming off a weekend in which it dropped home duals to Big 12 rivals Northern Iowa and North Dakota State.
The order of duals is as follows:
- No. 23 Northern Colorado at Air Force, noon MT
- South Dakota State vs. No. 23 Northern Colorado, 1:30 p.m. MT
- South Dakota State at Air Force, 3 p.m. MT
Note: Extra matches, including wrestlers from Wyoming, will be conducted during dual competition
THE SERIES: Although members of the same conference, the Jackrabbits have not wrestled either of this weekend’s opponents in recent history. SDSU last wrestled Air Force in a dual during the 2017-18 season, while the last matchup with Northern Colorado occurred four years ago.
Series vs. Northern Colorado
South Dakota State and Northern Colorado have been members of the same wrestling conference for the better part of 40 years, dating back to when both programs competed at the NCAA Division II level as members of the North Central Conference, followed by membership in the Western Wrestling Conference and Big 12 Conference at the Division I level.
In 36 dual meetings since the time the two programs first met during the 1972-73 season, SDSU holds a 24-12 series advantage. The series has been filled with streaks; SDSU won the first 10 meetings and seven in a row from 1997-2003, before UNC?ushered in the current Division I era with eight consecutive victories from 2005-12.
The Jackrabbits have regained the upper hand in the series by winning the last five meetings, including a 34-6 victory on Jan. 8, 2017, at Frost Arena. Seth Gross (133 pounds) and David Kocer (174) recorded pins for SDSU.
#20 South Dakota State 34, Northern Colorado 6 (Jan. 8, 2017 at Frost Arena)
125: Ben Gillette (SDSU) dec. Trey Andrews (UNC), 3-1 [SV-1]
133: #6 Seth Gross (SDSU) def. Rico Montoya (UNC) by fall 3:28
141: #18 Timmy Box (UNC) dec. Isaac Andrade (SDSU), 9-6
149: Alex Kocer (SDSU) def. Ben Polkowske (UNC) by fall 4:27
157: Logan Peterson (SDSU) dec. Tyler Kinn (UNC), 11-5
165: Luke Zilverberg (SDSU) dec. Keilan Torres (UNC), 5-3 [SV-1]
174: David Kocer (SDSU) tech. fall Tanner Davis (UNC), 16-1 [4:38]
184: Dylan Gabel (UNC) dec. Martin Mueller (SDSU), 7-4
197: #8 Nate Rotert (SDSU) tech. fall Jamarcus Grant (UNC), 19-4 [5:43]
285: Alex Macki (SDSU) dec. Jack Kuck (UNC), 3-1 [SV-1]
Series vs. Air Force
South Dakota State and Air Force first wrestled during the 1992-93 season, and the Falcons have gone on to lead the all-time series by a 9-6 count. Air Force won the first two meetings and nine of the first 10 before the Jackrabbits started their current five-match series winning streak with an 18-14 home victory during the 2013-14 campaign.
In their last meeting, Jan. 14, 2018, the Jackrabbits raced out to a 15-0 lead through three matches, highlighted by back-to-back pins by Seth Gross (133) and Henry Pohlmeyer (141). Luke Zilverberg (157) and David Kocer (174) added wins by major decision to propel SDSU to a 32-6 victory.
Sunday’s dual will mark the third time in a row the two teams have wrestled on the Falcons’ home mat. The two teams are slated to meet again Feb. 13 in Brookings.
#15 South Dakota State 32, Air Force 6 (Feb. 21, 2020 at Frost Arena)
125: Connor Brown (SDSU) dec. Anthony DeCesare (AF), 13-9
133: #1 Seth Gross (SDSU) def. Isaac Jimenez (AF), by fall 1:06
141: Henry Pohlmeyer (SDSU) def. Garrett O’Shea (AF), by fall 6:14
149: Dane Robbins (AF) dec. Colten Carlson (SDSU), 8-2
157: #10 Luke Zilverberg (SDSU) major dec. #20 Alex Mossing (AF), 10-1
165: Alexandre Lopouchanski (AF) dec. Logan Peterson (SDSU), 7-6
174: #9 David Kocer (SDSU) major dec. Michael Billingsley (AF), 12-0
184: Martin Mueller (SDSU) dec. Zen Ikehara (AF), 3-2
197: #11 Nate Rotert (SDSU) dec. Anthony McLaughlin (AF), 2-1
285: Alex Macki (SDSU) dec. Matt Wagner (AF), 8-5
RABBITS RANKED: Six Jackrabbit wrestlers appear in individual national rankings heading into this weekend’s competition.
Sophomore 197-pounder Tanner Sloan leads the SDSU contingent with eighth-place showings in the Intermat and WIN Magazine rankings. Sloan also holds rankings of ninth by Trackwrestling and 10th from FloWrestling.
The Alburnett, Iowa, native is coming off a 2019-20 season in which he posted a 21-6 overall record and was an NCAA qualifier. Sloan capped his first season with an All-America selection by the National Wrestling Coaches Association.
Fellow NCAA qualifier Tanner Cook also is ranked in the same four polls at 165 pounds, topping out at No. 15 in the WIN?Magazine and Trackwrestling rankings. Cook, who has yet to wrestle this season, opening weekend, is also ranked 18th by Trackwrestling and 21st by FloWrestling. He burst onto the scene last season, compiling a 21-4 overall record with 14 pins.
The big mover in the polls so far this season is Zach Price, who vaulted 10-plus spots in the Trackwrestling and FloWrestling polls after downing a pair of higher-ranked opponents. After suffering his first loss of the season last weekend, Price currently holds a 13th-place ranking in both the WIN Magazine and Flowrestling polls, followed by standings of 14th in the Trackwrestling rankings and 16th with Intermat.
Three other Jackrabbits, primarily in the lower weights, hold rankings in at least one poll. Sophomore Clay Carlson stands 20th in Trackwrestling’s 141-pound rankings and 22nd in the FloWrestling rankings, while redshirt freshman Cade DeVos held steady with rankings of 18th by FloWrestling and 20th from Trackwrestling.
Rounding out the Jackrabbit contingent of ranked wrestlers is senior 149-pounder Hunter Marko, who stayed in the Trackwrestling rankings with a 33rd-place showing.
Senior 125-pounder Danny Vega, an NCAA alternate a year ago, dropped out of the individual rankings this week.
A LOOK AHEAD: The Jackrabbits are scheduled to have a week off from competition before returning to action Jan. 31 at a quadrangular hosted by Little Rock. SDSU is slated to take on Little Rock, Stanford and Big 12 opponent Oklahoma in the day-long event. Times and order of pairings have yet to be announced.