Jackrabbits shift gears, head to Virginia Duals

The 24th-ranked Jackrabbits, 5-1 overall in duals, are slated to wrestle twice on Saturday, squaring off against Chattanooga (3-5 overall) at 2 p.m. Eastern (1 p.m. Central), followed by a matchup against Maryland (3-3 overall). Both duals will be contested at the Hampton Coliseum and will be available for viewing through FloWrestling.org (subscription required).

South Dakota State moved into the NWCA Division Coaches Poll for the first time since early in the 2018-19 season after recording a 27-13 home win over then-No. 22 Northern Iowa on Jan. 9.

THE SERIES: South Dakota State will be wrestling against both of its opponents at the Virginia Duals for only the second time in program history. The Jackrabbits lost each of its previous meetings on neutral mats, dropping a 29-9 decision to Maryland during the 2008-09 season at Lincoln, Nebraska, and falling 40-4 to Chattanooga a season later in Bloomington, Indiana.

The Jackrabbits have found previous success at the Virginia Duals, wrestling three times in the tournament early in their transition to NCAA Division I competition. South Dakota State went a combined 8-2 in three consecutive appearances between the 2004-05 and 2006-07 seasons against a mixture of Division I and lower-division squads.

Previous Virginia Duals Appearances
2004-05: def. Duquesne, 29-12; def. Millersville, 21-19; def. Davidson, 31-15;
2005-06: def. Delaware State, 44-0; lost to Duquesne, 15-28; def. Anderson (S.C), 22-18; lost to Franklin & Marshall, 18-23
2006-07: def. Roger Williams, 30-9; def. Newport News Apprentice, 31-7; def. Anderson, 49-6

LAST WEEK: South Dakota State controlled the second half of its wrestling dual against 22nd-ranked Northern Iowa Jan. 9 at Frost Arena, opening the Big 12 Conference portion of its schedule with a 27-13 victory.

The Jackrabbits, who won seven of 10 matches in the dual, improved to 5-1 overall. UNI dropped to 1-5 overall and 0-2 against Big 12 opponents.

RABBITS RANKED: For the first time in three seasons, the South Dakota State University wrestling team is nationally ranked. The Jackrabbits, who defeated then-No. 22 Northern Iowa, 27-13, last week, cracked the NWCA Division I Coaches Poll Tuesday by checking in at No. 24.

SDSU was last ranked in the poll in November 2018. The Jackrabbits are one of five Big 12 squads in this week’s poll, joining No. 4 Oklahoma State, No. 9 Missouri, No. 11 Iowa State, and No. 18 Oklahoma. Wyoming, North Dakota State, and UNI are receiving votes.

In addition, five Jackrabbit wrestlers are individually ranked by various wrestling organizations. Returning All-American Clay Carlson is ranked as high as fifth by FloWrestling at 141 pounds, while Cade DeVos is ranked 10th in the 174-pound division by Intermat. Two-time NCAA qualifier Tanner Sloan holds the No. 21 spot in the Intermat rankings at 197 pounds, with A.J. Nevills ranked 23rd by FloWrestling in the heavyweight division.

Tanner Cook rounds out the individual rankings with a 29th-place showing in the 165-pound rankings conducted by Intermat.

The Jackrabbits also are ranked third in the first NWCA Mid-Major Division I Poll of the season. Lehigh holds the top spot, followed by Cornell. Rival North Dakota State is right behind SDSU in the fourth spot.

UNDEFEATED IN DUALS: Three regulars in the Jackrabbit starting lineup bring undefeated dual records into their matchups at this weekend’s Virginia Duals.

Clay Carlson leads the SDSU contingent with a perfect 6-0 mark in duals so far this season at 141 pounds. The junior from Willmar, Minnesota, tallied an 11-4 decision against 19th-ranked Cael Happel in the Jackrabbits’ latest dual, Jan. 9 against Northern Iowa.

Cade DeVos stands at 5-0 in duals after sitting out the Nov. 19 season opener against Augustana. The 174-pounder is tied with Carlson for most overall wins on the team this season with 18 after his 10-6 decision in dual action last weekend against Northern Iowa’s Pat Schoenfelder.

Daniel Kimball is settling into the starting role at 149 pounds for the Jackrabbits and upped his dual mark to 4-0 with a 9-5, come-from-behind victory over Triston Lara of Northern Iowa.

Nick Casperson, who has been filling in for Tanner Sloan at 197 pounds, entered last weekend’s matchup against Northern Iowa with a 4-0 dual mark, but suffered his first loss when he was pinned by Parker Keckeisen, who came into the match ranked fourth at 184 pounds.

TAGG JOINS TEAM: The Jackrabbit wrestling team has received a boost in the lower weights with the addition of mid-year transfer Gabriel Tagg. The Lodi, Ohio, native, who previously wrestled at North Carolina, was officially cleared to practice earlier this month and made his Jackrabbit debut by recording a 19-1 technical fall against Darrick Stacey of Wyoming in an additional match Jan. 9.

He is projected to wrestle at 133 pounds and has three years of eligibility remaining.

Tagg posted a 15-5 record at 141 pounds as a freshman during the 2019-20 season at North Carolina. He also has competed in freestyle competition both nationally and internationally, including winning both the U.S. Junior World Championships at 61 kilograms and the Austria Flatz Open at 65 kilograms in 2019.

A LOOK AHEAD: The Jackrabbits are scheduled to wrestle three duals over two days, starting with a Jan. 22 matchup at Big 12 Conference foe Missouri (2 p.m. start).

From there, SDSU will square off against host SIU-Edwardsville (1:30 p.m.) and Central Michigan (3 p.m.) in a Jan. 23 triangular in Edwardsville, Illinois.

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