Jackrabbits return home for two duals

The South Dakota State wrestling team returns home this weekend to kick off a string of seven consecutive duals against Big 12 Conference opponents.

The 18th-ranked Jackrabbits, 7-2 in duals this season, including a 1-0 mark in the Big 12, open the weekend by hosting Utah Valley at 7 p.m. Friday at Frost Arena. The visiting Wolverines are 1-5 in duals so far this season, including a 1-2 mark against Big 12 foes. Utah Valley was swept at home by nationally-ranked Northern Iowa (L, 9-34) and Iowa State (L, 9-31) last weekend.

Sunday, SDSU welcomes Wyoming to Frost Arena for a noon matinee. The Cowboys come into the week in search of their first dual victory of the season after an 0-5 start — all against Big 12 opponents. Wyoming, which fell to Missouri, 28-10, in its home opener last week, wrestles Saturday at North Dakota State.

Video coverage of both duals will be available through FloWrestling.org.

The Jackrabbits extended their dual winning streak to six matches by winning all four of their contests Jan. 13-14 at the Virginia Duals. SDSU has outscored its opponents by a 175-27 margin during its winning streak.

In addition, a small contingent of Jackrabbit wrestlers is expected to compete Saturday at the Worthington Open in Worthington, Minnesota. Competition is slated to begin at 9 a.m. at the Center of Health and Wellness located at Minnesota West Community College.

Watch Utah Valley at SDSU | Watch Wyoming at SDSU

SERIES vs. UTAH VALLEY: Friday’s dual against Utah Valley will mark the 17th time the Jackrabbits and Wolverines on the wrestling mat since the series began during the 2005-06 season. Both teams have put together seven-match winning streaks in the series that is tied at eight wins apiece

The two programs last met in dual action on Feb. 13, 2021, at Frost Arena, with the Jackrabbits notching their seventh win in a row in the series with a 22-11 victory. SDSU won seven of the 10 matches in the dual, led by Tanner Sloan’s major decision against Jacob Armstrong at 197 pounds.

South Dakota State 22, Utah Valley 11 (Feb. 13, 2021 • Frost Arena)
125: Danny Vega (SDSU) dec. Kase Mauger (UVU), 4-3
133: #15 Zach Price (SDSU) dec. #18 Ty Smith (UVU), 7-5
141: #16 Clay Carlson (SDSU) dec. Stockton O’Brien (UVU), 13-12
149: Hunter Marko (SDSU) dec. #27 Cameron Hunsaker (UVU), 5-4
157: #18 Cade DeVos (SDSU) dec. Danny Snediker (UVU), 12-8
165: Kekana Fouret (UVU) major dec. Colten Carlson (SDSU), 18-10
174: #5 Demetrius Romero (UVU) major dec. #31 Cade King (SDSU), 10-2
184: Hunter Morse (UVU) dec. Jacob Schoon (SDSU), 4-1
197: #5 Tanner Sloan (SDSU) major dec. Jacob Armstrong (UVU), 14-1
285: Blake Wolters (SDSU) dec. Chase Trussell (UVU), 2-1 [TB-1]

SERIES vs. WYOMING: Sunday’s dual will mark the 22nd meeting on the mat between South Dakota State and Wyoming, a series that dates back to the 1953-54 season. Wyoming holds a 16-5 advantage, but the Jackrabbits have held the upper hand recently with all five of their victories in the series coming in the last seven matchups.

The last meeting between the two foes came down to the wire with the Jackrabbits posting a 17-16 home victory on Jan. 12, 2020. Danny Vega’s 18-3 win by technical fall over Jacob Svihal in the opening bout of the dual proved to be the difference.

South Dakota State 17, Wyoming 16 (Jan. 12, 2020 • Frost Arena)
125: Danny Vega (SDSU) tech. fall Jacob Svihal (WYO), 18-3 [4:05}
133: #7 Montorie Bridges (WYO) dec. Zach Price (SDSU), 5-1
141: Clay Carlson (SDSU) dec. Trevor Jeffries (WYO), 12-6
149: #17 Henry Pohlmeyer (SDSU) dec. Jaron Jensen (WYO), 6-2
157: Dewey Krueger (WYO) dec. Colten Carlson (SDSU), 9-4
165: Cole Moody (WYO) major dec. Tanner Cook (SDSU), 13-3
174: #12 Hayden Hastings (WYO) dec. Cade King (SDSU), 5-0
184: #16 Zach Carlson (SDSU) dec. Tate Samuelson (WYO), 3-2
197: #20 Tanner Sloan (SDSU) dec. Stephen Buchanan (WYO), 6-3
285: #20 Brian Andrews (WYO) dec. Blake Wolters (SDSU), 1-0

RABBITS RANKED: The South Dakota State wrestling team began the season ranked in the top 25 after being included in a pair of national polls and have maintained a national ranking for most of the 2022-23 campaign.

The Jackrabbits checked in at No. 22 in the preseason poll conducted by Intermat and were ranked 25th in the initial National Wrestling Coaches Association survey. SDSU was one of five Big 12 Conference programs ranked in the NWCA top 25, joining No. 4 Missouri, No. 10 Oklahoma State, No. 14 Iowa State and No. 20 UNI.

Following their strong showing at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational in early December, the Jackrabbits climbed seven spots to No. 18 in the NWCA poll for their highest ranking under head coach Damion Hahn. SDSU slipped one spot to 19th after its Dec. 18 dual loss to Nebraska but moved back to No. 18 following their strong performance last weekend at the Virginia Duals.

SDSU also has a season-high eight wrestlers ranked individually for the sixth week in a row, with 141-pounder Clay Carlson holding the highest ranking at No. 9 in both the InterMat and FloWrestling rankings, followed by fellow NCAA qualifier Tanner Sloan in 12th at 197 pounds.

Cael Swensen, who is ranked 23rd in the 157-pound rankings by InterMat and Tanner Jordan at 125 pounds (26th by InterMat) each joined the rankings after their outings at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational.

Other returning NCAA qualifiers Cade DeVos (15th at 174 pounds by FloWrestling) and A.J. Nevills (14th at heavyweight by FloWrestling) have maintained top-20 rankings throughout the season, while Cade King (17th at 184 pounds by FloWrestling) rounds out the list of SDSU’s ranked wrestlers.

NEW FACILITY OPENS: South Dakota State marked the start of the calendar year by moving into a new home with the opening of the 16,000-square-foot Kurtenbach Family Wrestling Center.

The South Dakota Board of Regents approved plans for the project in December 2020 and ground was broken in September 2021 for the $4 million on-campus training facility, which is located on the southwest corner of the Sanford-Jackrabbit Athletic Complex. Former SDSU wrestler and coach Frank Kurtenbach provided the lead gift for the facility, which features four competition mats, plus a strength and conditioning area, locker rooms, team room, coaches’ offices and spaces for academics and nutrition.

“This state-of-the-art wrestling facility will forever change the landscape of SDSU Wrestling,” SDSU head coach Damion Hahn said. “I can’t thank our Jackrabbit family enough for the contributions that have been made toward this endeavor. I would like to make a special thank you to the Kurtenbach family for their vision and support of the project.”

A LOOK AHEAD: The Jackrabbits are scheduled to head back out on the road for two duals next week:

Friday, Jan. 27 – at Northern Colorado, 6 p.m. MT (7 p.m. Central)
Sunday, Jan. 29 – at Air Force, 1 p.m. MT (2 p.m. Central)

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