Jackrabbits make swing through Oklahoma

The 23rd-ranked South Dakota State University wrestling team faces its final two dual road tests of the season this weekend as it travels to the state of Oklahoma for matchups against ranked opponents.

The Jackrabbits, 10-2 overall and 3-0 against Big 12 Conference foes, will be in Stillwater, Oklahoma, Friday to square off against 10th-ranked Oklahoma State. Action is slated for a 7 p.m. start at Gallagher-Iba Arena.

Friday’s dual is scheduled to be available viewing online through ESPN+.

Oklahoma State also is 10-2 in duals this season but dropped to 5-2 against Big 12 foes after falling twice at home last weekend. The Cowboys were upended by Northern Iowa, 19-15, on Jan. 29, then were downed by nationally-ranked Iowa State, 20-12, a day later.

From there, the Jackrabbits will head to Norman for a Sunday dual at an Oklahoma squad that enters the week 6-5 overall and 2-4 in the Big 12. The Sooners, who host Little Rock on Friday, dropped a 17-15 decision to Northern Iowa in their most recent outing on Jan. 30.

Sunday’s dual is slated to be televised by Bally Sports Oklahoma.

THE SERIES: South Dakota State holds a combined 3-9 record against its Big 12 rivals from Oklahoma.

vs. Oklahoma State
The Jackrabbits are in search of their first-ever dual win against Oklahoma State as the Cowboys have won all five meetings since the series began with a 25-9 victory during the 2014-15 season.

The two squads last met during the 2019-20 season, when Oklahoma State claimed a 35-3 victory on its home mat. The Jackrabbits averted a shutout when heavyweight Blake Wolters claimed a 4-3 decision in the final match of the night and the lone bout of the dual in which the Cowboys did not have a ranked wrestler.

#11 OKLAHOMA STATE 35, SOUTH DAKOTA STATE 3 (Jan. 31, 2020, at Stillwater, Okla.)
125: #4 Nick Piccininni (OSU) tech. fall #23 Danny Vega (SDSU), 17-1 [6:28]
133: #25 Reece Witcraft (OSU) dec. Zach Price (SDSU), 9-4
141: #17 Dusty Hone (OSU) dec. Clay Carlson (SDSU), 5-2
149: #1 Boo Lewallen (OSU) major dec. #9 Henry Pohlmeyer (SDSU), 10-0
157: #21 Wyatt Sheets (OSU) major dec. Peyton Smith (SDSU), 11-3
165: #10 Travis Wittlake (OSU) major dec. Tanner Cook (SDSU), 14-6
174: #13 Joseph Smith (OSU) dec. Kelby Hawkins (SDSU), 9-3
184: #21 Anthony Montalvo (OSU) dec. #17 Zach Carlson (SDSU), 3-1
197: #9 Dakota Geer (OSU) def. #18 Tanner Sloan (SDSU), by injury default [3:00]
285: Blake Wolters (SDSU) dec. Auston Harris (OSU), 4-3

vs. Oklahoma
The series against Oklahoma dates back to the 1969-70 season when the Sooners recorded a 31-2 victory. Overall, OU holds a 4-3 series advantage.

The two squads wouldn’t meet again until South Dakota State joined the Big 12 as an affiliate member at the start of the 2015-16 season. The Jackrabbits and Sooners have met each season since then and have split those six dual matches.

The matchup during the 2020-21 season was part of a quadrangular in Little Rock, Arkansas, with Oklahoma coming away with a 21-13 victory. The 22nd-ranked Sooners were stingy in the lower weights, building a 15-3 lead at the halfway mark before holding off SDSU.

After the Jackrabbits’ Danny Vega rallied for a 7-6 decision over Mason Naifeh in the opening bout of the dual, Oklahoma claimed the next four matches — all by ranked wrestlers — to build its cushion.

SDSU began to find its footing in the second half of the dual as Colten Carlson started a comeback bid with a 23-11 major decision over Jake Stiles.

Cade King pulled off an upset for the Jackrabbits, recording a late takedown to post a 7-5 decision over 22nd-ranked Anthony Mantanona at 174 pounds.

Ninth-ranked Tanner Sloan notched the final Jackrabbit victory, downing 12th-ranked Jake Woodley, 6-1.

#21 OKLAHOMA 21, SOUTH DAKOTA STATE 13 (Jan. 31, 2021, at Little Rock, Arkansas)
125: Danny Vega (SDSU) dec. Mason Naifeh (OU), 7-6
133: #19 Anthony Madrigal (OU) def. Trayton Anderson (SDSU), by fall 2:40
141: #7 Dom Demas (OU) dec. #22 Clay Carlson, 3-2
149: #13 Mitch Moore (OU) dec. Hunter Marko (SDSU), 2-0
157: #11 Justin Thomas (OU) dec. #18 Cade DeVos (SDSU), 4-0
165: Colten Carlson (SDSU) major dec. Jake Stiles (OU), 23-11
174: Cade King (SDSU) dec. #22 Anthony Mantanona (OU), 7-5
184: Darrien Roberts (OU) dec. Jacob Schoon (SDSU), 7-5
197: #9 Tanner Sloan (SDSU) dec. #12 Jake Woodley (OU), 6-1
285: #24 Josh Heindselman (OU) dec. Blake Wolters (SDSU), 4-1 [TB-1]

WRESTLERS OF THE WEEK: South Dakota State 197-pounder Tanner Sloan was honored Jan. 25 as Big 12 Wrestler of the Week, becoming the second Jackrabbit to earn the award this season.

A junior from Alburnett, Iowa, Sloan posted a 3-0 record in dual competition over the weekend, starting with a 5-2 decision over fifth-ranked Rocky Elam of Missouri. The victory helped propel the Jackrabbits to their first-ever dual win over a top-10 team at the Division I level.

Sloan closed with weekend with a pair of first-period pins in a triangular at Southern Illinois Edwardsville and against Central Michigan. With his perfect weekend, the two-time NCAA qualifier improved to 11-4 overall this season, including a 5-1 mark in duals.

Sloan joined teammate Clay Carlson, who earned the honor Dec. 7 after winning the 141-pound title at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational.

RABBITS RANKED: For the first time in three seasons, the South Dakota State University wrestling team is nationally ranked. The Jackrabbits cracked the NWCA Division I Coaches Poll by checking in at No. 24 in the Jan. 11 rankings, then moved up one spot to 23rd after winning twice at the Virginia Duals on Jan. 15. SDSU remains at No. 23 for the third week in a row.

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. 3 Oklahoma State, No. 7 Iowa State, No. 13 Missouri, and No. 21 Oklahoma.

In addition, six Jackrabbit wrestlers are individually ranked by a variety of wrestling organizations. Returning All-American Clay Carlson is ranked as high as ninth by FloWrestling at 141 pounds, while Cade DeVos also is ranked ninth in the 174-pound division by Intermat and The Open Mat. Two-time NCAA qualifier Tanner Sloan holds the 12th spot in the Intermat rankings at 197 pounds, with A.J. Nevills ranked 20th by FloWrestling in the heavyweight division.

Tanner Cook remains in the rankings with a 30th-place showing in the 165-pound division, while Cade King (184 pounds) is at No. 33 in the Intermat rankings after cracking the rankings for the first time this season last week.

The Jackrabbits also were ranked third in the first NWCA Mid-Major Division I Poll of the season.

20 AND 10: Three Jackrabbit wrestlers have reached the 20-win mark so far this season and all three have also posted 10 wins in dual competition.

Leading the way is 174-pounder Cade DeVos, who has tallied a team-best 23-3 overall record. After sitting out the team’s opening dual Nov. 19 against Augustana, DeVos has turned in a 10-1 record in head-to-head competitions.

Clay Carlson is right behind DeVos with a 22-3 overall record and a 10-2 dual mark, while heavyweight A.J. Nevills reached both progress points in his Jan. 28 victory against West Virginia. Nevills enters the week with a 20-8 overall mark and 10-2 dual record.

COOK AMONG NCAA LEADERS: Jackrabbit 165-pounder Tanner Cook enters the week tied for third place among NCAA Division I wrestlers for falls. Cook has recorded 10 pins against D-I opponents so far this season, tying him with North Dakota State 197-pounder Owen Pentz and Binghamton 133-pounder Anthony Sobotker.

Overall, King has racked up 13 pins this season, with three coming against non-Division I opponents.

Leading the Division I ranks are Maryland 133-pounder King Sandoval and Air Force heavyweight Wyatt Hendrickson with 12 falls each.

A LOOK AHEAD: The Jackrabbits will be home for the remainder of the dual season, starting with a weekend series against Northern Colorado and Little Rock at Frost Arena. The Feb. 11 Big 12 dual against Northern Colorado is set for a 7 p.m. start, while the Feb. 13 nonconference matchup with Little Rock is slated for 2 p.m.

Both duals will be available for viewing through FloWrestling.org (subscription required).

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