INDIANAPOLIS — Six South Dakota State University wrestlers are included in the final NCAA coaches’ panel rankings of the regular season, which were announced Thursday. In addition, NCAA officials announced the allocations by conference for next month’s NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships.
Leading the Jackrabbit contingent in the panel rankings is returning All-American Clay Carlson, who is ranked sixth at 141 pounds. A junior from Willmar, Minnesota, Carlson has compiled a 27-3 record entering postseason competition and also holds the second-best ratings percentage index (RPI) in the weight class.
Sophomore 174-pounder Cade DeVos also holds a top-10 RPI as he stands ninth in the index to go along with an 11th-place showing in the panel rankings. A native of Altoona, Iowa, DeVos has posted a 26-5 record in his first season at 174 pounds after qualifying for nationals as a 157-pounder last season.
Next for the Jackrabbits in the panel rankings is two-time NCAA qualifier Tanner Sloan, who is 13th in the latest survey at 197 pounds. A junior from Alburnett, Iowa, Sloan brings a 17-4 record into postseason competition and is in the midst of a 12-match winning streak. He also stands 14th in RPI at his weight class.
Junior heavyweight A.J. Nevills checks in at No. 20 in both the panel rankings and RPI this week. A transfer from Fresno State and a native of Clovis, California, Nevills has put together a 24-9 record in his first season as a Jackrabbit.
Fellow newcomer Gabriel Tagg cracked the panel rankings for the first time at No. 28, as well as 27th in RPI. A midseason transfer from Lodi, Ohio, by way of North Carolina, Tagg has notched a 12-3 record during his sophomore season.
Completing the Jackrabbits’ list of ranked wrestlers is Tanner Cook, who is ranked 29th at 165 pounds after posting an 18-9 record.
While Cook does not appear in the top 33 of his weight class for RPI, SDSU’s Cade King is 19th for RPI at 184 pounds despite not being ranked. King has turned in a 14-7 record so far this season.
The Jackrabbits begin postseason competition at the Big 12 Wrestling Championship March 5-6 at BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Under the allocations announced Thursday, the Big 12 will receive 58 automatic qualifiers, which ranks second only to the Big Ten’s 88. At least four wrestlers from all 10 weight classes will receive automatic bids to the NCAAs out of the Big 12 Championship.
A total of 287 automatic bids are included in the pre-allocations with the remaining 43 spots to fill out the 330-wrestler field — 33 in each weight class — will be determined through an at-large selection process. The NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships are set for March 17-19 in Detroit, Michigan.