TULSA, Okla. — Six South Dakota State wrestlers earned spots in the national tournament later this month for their performances Saturday on the opening day of the Big 12 Wrestling Championship at BOK Center.
Leading the way for the Jackrabbits was top-seeded 197-pounder Tanner Sloan, who earned a trip to the finals for the third time in his career in convincing fashion. A native of Alburnett, Iowa, Sloan recorded falls over both of his opponents in the opening session, pinning Caden Gerlach of California Baptist in 3 minutes and 37 seconds, then sticking Oklahoma’s Carson Berryhill in 3:57.
In the evening session Saturday, Sloan continued his romp through the bracket with a 12-1 major decision over fourth-seeded Luke Surber of Oklahoma State. Sloan, who improved to 23-1 on the season, will face second-seeded Rocky Elam of Missouri in the title bout.
Redshirt freshman 157-pounder Cael Swensen was the first of three Jackrabbits to earn a berth in the semifinals — and NCAA Championships — after recording a pair of wins by decision during the opening session. The Plymouth, Minnesota, native downed Nolan Miller-Johnston of California Baptist, 3-0, in the opening round before scoring a 6-3 decision over Oklahoma’s Jared Hill.
Veteran heavyweight A.J. Nevills returned to the semifinals and locked up his fourth career NCAA bid with a pair of hard-fought victories. He outlasted North Dakota State’s Juan Mora, 6-4, in overtime to open the tournament, then notched a 3-2 decision over fifth-seeded Michael Wolfgram of West Virginia.
Both Swensen and Nevills lost to No. 1 seeds in the semifinals. Swensen lost a closely contested 3-2 decision to North Dakota State’s Jared Franek, while Nevills lost by technical fall (16-1) to Wyatt Hendrickson of Air Force.
Three other Jackrabbits will be making a return trip to nationals and Tulsa March 16-18 after meeting the placings required under the allocation process. At 141 pounds, Clay Carlson earned his third consecutive NCAA berth after notching a 3-1 record Saturday to claim one of seven spots in his weight class. A 2021 All-American from Willmar, Minnesota, Carlson overcame a loss to Oklahoma State’s Carter Young in the quarterfinals with wins over Christian Nunez of California Baptist (fall, 4:48) and Jordan Titus of West Virginia (4-3 decision) to earn a spot in the consolation semifinals on Sunday.
SDSU 165-pounder Tanner Cook punched his ticket for a second time to nationals after going 2-2 on the day with both of his wins by fall. Cook, seeded seventh, locked up one of eight spots awarded to the conference at his weight class with a second-period pin of Northern Colorado’s Baylor Fernandes.
Cade DeVos earned his third consecutive trip to nationals after notching a pair of decisions in the wrestlebacks Saturday night. DeVos, a junior from Altoona, Iowa, was the lone Jackrabbit to receive an opening round bye as SDSU went 7-2 in morning bouts. DeVos dropped a 3-2 decision to third-seeded Sam Wolf of Air Force in the afternoon, but rebounded with a 6-3 victory over Northern Colorado’s Andrew Berreyesa and later came away with a 3-2 decision over Iowa State’s Julien Broderson to move into the consolation semifinals on Sunday.
Also recording a top-eight placing was Cade King at 184 pounds. King turned in a 1-2 record Saturday and will wrestle for seventh place on Sunday.
The Jackrabbits remain in fifth place in the team standings with 69.5 points. Defending champion Missouri holds the top spot with 135 points, followed by Iowa State (112), Oklahoma State (102.5) and Oklahoma (78).
Sunday’s consolation semifinals and placing matches begin at noon, with the championship matches slated for 8 p.m. The finals will be televised on ESPNU.
125 | #6 Tanner Jordan, Jr., St. Paris, Ohio (1-2 record)
• def. Devin Garcia, California Baptist, by fall 4:28
• lost to #3 Noah Surtin, Missouri, by major dec., 13-2
• lost to Corey Cabanban, Iowa State, by dec., 5-2
133 | Derrick Cardinal, R-Fr., Forest Lake, Minnesota (1-2 record)
• dec. #7 McGwire Midkiff, North Dakota State, 4-2
• lost to #2 Kyle Biscoglia, Northern Iowa, by major dec., 12-2
• lost to Garrett Ricks, Wyoming, by dec., x-x
141 | #5 Clay Carlson, Sr., Willmar, Minnesota (3-1 record)
• dec. Casey Swiderski, Iowa State, 6-3
• lost to #4 Carter Young, Oklahoma State, by dec., 4-2
• def. Christian Nunez, California Baptist, by fall 4:48
• dec. #8 Jordan Titus, West Virginia, 4-3
• vs. #2 Mosha Schwartz, Oklahoma
149 | Alek Martin, R-Fr., St. Paris, Ohio (0-2 record)
• lost to #2 Colin Realbuto, Northern Iowa, by dec., 8-2
• lost to Isaiah Delgado, Utah Valley, by dec., 5-4
157 | #4 Cael Swensen, R-Fr., Plymouth, Minnesota (2-1 record)
• dec. Nolan Miller-Johnston, California Baptist, 3-0
• dec. Jared Hill, Oklahoma, 6-3
• lost to #1 Jared Franek, North Dakota State, by dec., 3-2
• vs. Jason Kraisser, Iowa State
165 | #7 Tanner Cook, Jr., Ilion, New York (2-2 record)
• def. Seamus Casey, Air Force, by fall 3:42
• lost to #2 Keegan O’Toole, Missouri, by major dec., 12-2
• def. #8 Baylor Fernandes, Northern Colorado, by fall 4:30
• lost to Cole Moody, Wyoming, by major dec., 2-1
• vs. #5 Gerrit Nijenhuis, Oklahoma
174 | #6 Cade DeVos, Jr., Altoona, Iowa (2-1 record)
• Received first-round bye
• lost to #3 Sam Wolf, Air Force, by dec., 3-2
• dec. Andrew Berreyesa, Northern Colorado, 6-3
• dec. Julien Broderson, Iowa State, 3-2
• vs. #5 Tate Picklo, Oklahoma
184 | #7 Cade King, Sr., Waseca, Minnesota (1-2 record)
• lost to Noah Blake, Air Force, by dec., 3-1 [SV-1]
• dec. #8 Anthony Carman, West Virginia, 1-0
• lost to #5 D.J. Parker, North Dakota State, by dec., 3-0
• vs. #6 Keegan Moore, Oklahoma
197 | #1 Tanner Sloan, Sr., Alburnett, Iowa (3-0 record)
• def. Caden Gerlach, California Baptist, by fall 3:37
• def. Carson Berryhill, Oklahoma, by fall 3:56
• major dec. #4 Luke Surber, Oklahoma State, 12-1
• vs. #2 Rocky Elam, Missouri
285 | #4 A.J. Nevills, Sr., Clovis, California (2-1 record)
• dec. Juan Mora, North Dakota State, 6-4 [SV-1]
• dec. #5 Michael Wolfgram, West Virginia, 3-2
• lost to #1 Wyatt Hendrickson, Air Force, by technical fall, 16-1 (5:35)
• vs. #7 Tyrell Gordon, Northern Iowa
Missouri – 135.0
Iowa State – 112.0
Oklahoma State – 102.5
Oklahoma – 78.0
South Dakota State – 69.5
North Dakota State – 67.5
Air Force – 57.5
Northern Iowa – 57.0
Northern Colorado – 42.0
West Virginia – 31.5
Wyoming – 30.0
Utah Valley – 26.0
California Baptist – 1.0
SUNDAY’S CHAMPIONSHIP MATCHES
125: #3 Noah Surtin (Missouri) vs. #4 Stevo Poulin (Northern Colorado)
133: #1 Daton Fix (Oklahoma State) vs. #3 Zach Redding (Iowa State)
141: #1 Andrew Alirez (Northern Colorado) vs. #6 Allan Hart (Missouri)
149: #1 Brock Mauller (Missouri) vs. #3 Paniro Johnson (Iowa State)
157: #1 Jared Franek (North Dakota State) vs. #2 Kaden Gfeller (Oklahoma State)
165: #1 David Carr (Iowa State) vs. #2 Keegan O’Toole (Missouri)
174: #1 Peyton Mocco (Missouri) vs. #2 Dustin Plott (Oklahoma State)
184: #1 Parker Keckeisen (Northern Iowa) vs. #2 Marcus Coleman (Iowa State)
197: #1 Tanner Sloan (South Dakota State) vs. #2 Rocky Elam (Missouri)
285: #1 Wyatt Hendrickson (Air Force) vs. #2 Sam Schuyler (Iowa State)