IRVING, Texas — South Dakota State’s Clay Carlson was honored Wednesday as the 2021 Big 12 Wrestling Scholar-Athlete of the Year, becoming the first Jackrabbit to receive the award.
A redshirt sophomore from Willmar, Minnesota, Carlson has compiled a 3.931 grade-point average as an animal science/pre-veterinary major. He became the first SDSU wrestler to earn All-America recognition at the NCAA Division I Championships since 2018, placing eighth in the 141-pound weight class at the national meet. He qualified for the NCAA Championships with a fourth-place finish at the Big 12 Wrestling Championship in early March en route to a 20-9 record.
Carlson has received Academic All-Big 12 first-team honors each of the past two seasons.
A Scholar-Athlete of the Year is named in each Big 12 Conference-sponsored sport. Each Big 12 institution nominates one individual per sport, with the winners selected by a vote of the league head coaches for that sport. Coaches are not allowed to vote for their own student-athletes. Nominees must have a cumulative GPA of 3.20 or higher, must participate in at least 20 percent of the team’s scheduled contests and have a minimum of one year in residence at the institution.