Jacks set for showdown with Mizzou

South Dakota State wrestling team enters the home stretch of the 2023-24 dual season with a matchup against another highly ranked opponent, hosting Missouri Sunday afternoon.

Action is set for a 2 p.m. start at Frost Arena. The dual will be available for viewing through the FloWrestling streaming platform (subscription required).

The 11th-ranked Jackrabbits enter the weekend with a 12-3 overall record in duals, including a 6-1 mark against Big 12 opponents. SDSU extended its winning streak to nine with a 20-13 victory at then-No. 23 Oklahoma on Feb. 9, followed by a 31-6 setback at second-ranked Oklahoma State a day later.

Missouri has compiled an 8-2 dual record and a 4-1 mark against Big 12 foes heading into a Friday night dual at North Dakota State. The Tigers have been off from competition since Feb. 4, when they dropped a 24-10 home decision to Oklahoma State.

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THE LINEUP: Following are the Jackrabbits’ probable starters for Sunday’s dual against Missouri.
125: #13 Tanner Jordan • Sr., St. Paris, Ohio (20-6 overall, 11-3 in duals)
133: #18 Derrick Cardinal • So., Forest Lake, Minn. (18-6 overall, 9-3 in duals)
or Logan Graf • R-Fr., Custer, S.D. (5-0 overall, 2-0 in duals)
141: #22 Clay Carlson • Sr., Willmar, Minn. (9-5 overall, 5-3 in duals)
or Caleb Gross • Sr., Pound, Wis. (9-9 overall, 3-4 in duals)
149: #22 Alek Martin • So., St. Paris, Ohio (15-8 overall, 8-5 in duals)
157: #16 Cael Swensen • So., Plymouth, Minn. (16-6 overall, 11-3 in duals)
165: Tanner Cook • Sr., Ilion, N.Y. (6-9 overall, 3-8 in duals)
or Connor Gaynor • So., Mokena, Ill. (2-7 overall, 1-3 in duals)
174: #4 Cade DeVos • Sr., Altoona, Iowa (18-1 overall, 13-1 in duals)
184: #8 Bennett Berge • R-Fr., Mantorville, Minn. (13-3 overall, 9-2 in duals)
197: #4 Tanner Sloan • Sr., Alburnett, Iowa (17-1 overall, 12-0 in duals)
285: Luke Rasmussen • R-Fr., Brookings, S.D. (14-10 overall, 6-7 in duals)
or Bowen McConville • Sr., Renton, Wash. (8-5 overall, 1-0 in duals)
Notes: Rankings listed are highest of either Intermat or FloWrestling rankings as of Feb. 13, 2024

THE SERIES: Mizzou leads the all-time series, 4-3, dating back to a 27-3 Jackrabbit victory during the 1961-62 season. The Jackrabbits ended a three-match winning streak in the series by Missouri with a 21-12 upset victory Jan. 22, 2022, on the ninth-ranked Tigers’ home mat.

In posting their first-ever dual win over a top-10 opponent at the Division I level, the Jackrabbits won the final five matches of the dual — all by decision. Tanner Cook started the string of victories with a 5-2 decision over Mitchell Bohlken in the 165-pound matchup. Cade DeVos followed with a 7-4 decision over Sean Harman, while Cade King (184), Tanner Sloan (197) and A.J. Nevills (285) all defeated higher-ranked opponents.

#23 SOUTH DAKOTA STATE 23, #9 MISSOURI 12 (Jan. 22, 2022, at Columbia, Mo.)
125: #12 Noah Surtin (MIZZOU) dec. Tanner Jordan (SDSU), 6-0
133: Gabriel Tagg (SDSU) def. Connor Brown (MIZZOU), by fall 0:27
141: #9 Allan Hart (MIZZOU) dec. #6 Clay Carlson (SDSU), 4-2
149: #17 Josh Edmond (MIZZOU) dec. Daniel Kimball (SDSU), 8-3
157: #21 Jarrett Jacques (MIZZOU) dec. Kenny O’Neil (SDSU), 7-3
165: #27 Tanner Cook (SDSU) dec. Mitchell Bohlken (MIZZOU), 5-2
174: #8 Cade DeVos (SDSU) dec. Sean Harman (MIZZOU), 7-4
184: Cade King (SDSU) dec. #16 Jeremiah Kent (MIZZOU), 6-4 [SV-1]
197: #22 Tanner Sloan (SDSU) dec. #5 Rocky Elam (MIZZOU), 5-2
285: #22 A.J. Nevills (SDSU) dec. #15 Zach Elam (MIZZOU), 2-0
Extra Matches
133: Trey Crawford (MIZZOU) dec. Caleb Gross, 4-2
197: Jack Flynn (MIZZOU) def. Nick Casperson (SDSU) by fall 3:51

RABBITS RANKED: South Dakota State has been climbing the rankings during the new calendar year, reaching its first-ever top-10 ranking in a Division I team poll on Jan. 16, checking in at No. 10 in the rankings conducted by the National Wrestling Coaches Association. The Jackrabbits enter this weekend with a No. 11 ranking.

The Jackrabbits began the 2023-24 season with their highest preseason ranking ever in the NWCA poll, with a 12th-place showing in the initial survey, which was announced on Oct. 31. That matched SDSU’s previous high-water mark as the Jackrabbits were ranked 12th for five weeks during the 2017-18 season.

SDSU was one of six Big 12 Conference teams to be ranked in the preseason top 25. Missouri was ranked fourth, followed by Iowa State in 10th and Oklahoma State at No. 11. Also ranked were Northern Iowa at No. 17 and Oklahoma, which is tied for 20th. Defending national champion Penn State was a unanimous pick for the top spot.

In other team rankings, SDSU is 13th in this week’s dual rankings by both FloWrestling and InterMat while standing 13th and 14th, respectively, in team tournament surveys. The Jackrabbits also hold down the second spot in the NWCA Mid-Major Top 20.

Individually, all 10 South Dakota State starting wrestlers remain in the top 33 of their respective weight classes in either the NCAA Coaches Panel rankings or the first Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) of the season. Standings were announced Wednesday.

Leading the way for the Jackrabbits is 174-pounder Cade DeVos, who stands fourth in the coaches’ rankings, but second in RPI. A senior from Altoona, Iowa, DeVos enters the week with an 18-1 overall record.

Also ranked fourth at his weight class is senior 197-pounder Tanner Sloan. The NCAA runner-up in the weight class last season, the product of Alburnett, Iowa, is third in RPI after compiling a 17-1 record so far this season.

Redshirt freshman Bennett Berge holds the fifth-best RPI at 184 pounds and is ranked 12th by the coaches. The native of Mantorville, Minnesota, is 13-3 on the season.

In the lower weights, senior 125-pounder Tanner Jordan holds rankings of 14th by the coaches and 12th in RPI after posting a 20-6 record thus far during the 2023-24 campaign. At 133 pounds, sophomore Derrick Cardinal stands 16th in the coaches’ survey and 13th in RPI with an 18-6 record.

Others ranked in the top 20 of their weight classes from SDSU include 149-pounder Alek Martin and Cael Swensen at 157 pounds. Martin, a sophomore from St. Paris, Ohio, stands 19th in the coaches’ rankings and 14th in RPI with a 15-8 record, while Swensen holds a No. 16 ranking from the coaches and is 21st in RPI after posting a 16-6 mark.

Brookings native and redshirt freshman heavyweight Luke Rasmussen remains in the rankings at No. 30 while holding down the 27th spot for RPI. Rasmussen is 14-10 in his first season in the lineup.

Two other Jackrabbits appear in one of the two listings. Clay Carlson, 9-5 on the season, appears at No. 24 in the coaches’ rankings at 141 pounds but has yet to meet all the RPI ranking criteria. Senior 165-pounder Tanner Cook is unranked but checked in at the 33rd and final spot surveyed for RPI despite a 6-9 record.

The coaches’ rankings are determined by a vote of 14 coaches in each weight class, with two head coaches from each of the seven conferences. For ranking purposes, coaches may only consider a wrestler who has been designated as a starter at a respective weight class. Wrestlers must have eight Division I matches in the weight class to be considered, with at least one within the last 30 days.

The RPI is a calculation that consists of three factors: winning percentage, opponent winning percentage (strength of schedule) and opponent’s opponent winning percentage (opponent’s strength of schedule). Only matches against Division I opponents at the designated weight class count towards the RPI and a wrestler needs to have wrestled 15 matches to be ranked.

Currently, no wrestlers sit atop both the coaches rank and RPI in their respective weight class. With many wrestlers still looking to reach the 15-match threshold to earn an RPI, the top of those rankings looks a little different than the coaches’ rank.

The third and final coach rankings of the regular season will be announced Feb. 29, along with the designated conference allocations for filling the 330-wrestler field for the 2024 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships, which will take place March 21-23 at T-Mobile Center in Kansas City, Missouri.

A LOOK AHEAD: The Jackrabbits close out the dual season with a home match Feb. 25 against North Dakota State. Start time for the Border Bell dual is 2 p.m. at Frost Arena and will be preceded by Senior Day recognition for eight SDSU wrestlers.

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