Two duals await Jacks in Oklahoma

The South Dakota State wrestling team closes out the road portion of its regular season schedule with duals at a pair of ranked opponents in the Sooner State.

The 12th-ranked Jackrabbits, 11-2 overall and 5-0 versus Big 12 foes, open their trip Friday night with a matchup at No. 23 Oklahoma. Start time is slated for 7 p.m. at McCasland Field House in Norman, Oklahoma.

Oklahoma, under the direction of first-year coach and former North Dakota State mentor Roger Kish, enter the week with a 5-5 overall record and a 2-4 mark against Big 12 Conference opponents. The Sooners haven’t wrestled since dropping a 30-12 home decision to Northern Iowa on Jan. 27.

The scene shifts to Stillwater and Gallagher-Iba Arena on Saturday for a matchup against second-ranked Oklahoma State. Action is set for 6 p.m.

OSU is one of two unbeaten teams remaining in Division I, compiling a 12-0 overall dual record, including a 6-0 ledger versus Big 12 foes. The Cowboys ascended to the second spot in this week’s NWCA Coaches Poll after defeating both Arizona State (28-9) and then-No. 5 Missouri (24-10) last weekend.

SDSU, meanwhile, ran its winning streak to eight and stayed unbeaten in the Big 12 with identical 33-3 road victories at Wyoming and Utah Valley last week.

Both of this weekend’s duals will be available for viewing through the ESPN+ streaming platform (subscription required).

PROBABLE STARTERS: Following is the list of projected starters for the Jackrabbits in this weekend’s duals at Oklahoma and Oklahoma State
125: #13 Tanner Jordan • Sr., St. Paris, Ohio (19-5 overall, 10-2 in duals)
133: #16 Derrick Cardinal • So., Forest Lake, Minn. (18-4 overall, 9-1 in duals)
or Logan Graf • R-Fr., Custer, S.D. (5-0 overall, 2-0 in duals)
141: #22 Clay Carlson • Sr., Willmar, Minn. (8-4 overall, 4-2 in duals)
or Caleb Gross • Sr., Pound, Wis. (9-9 overall, 3-4 in duals)
149: #18 Alek Martin • So., St. Paris, Ohio (15-6 overall, 8-3 in duals)
157: #16 Cael Swensen • So., Plymouth, Minn. (15-5 overall, 10-2 in duals)
165: Tanner Cook • Sr., Ilion, N.Y. (6-8 overall, 3-7 in duals)
or Connor Gaynor • So., Mokena, Ill. (1-6 overall, 1-2 in duals)
174: #4 Cade DeVos • Sr., Altoona, Iowa (16-1 overall, 11-1 in duals)
184: #9 Bennett Berge • R-Fr., Mantorville, Minn. (12-2 overall, 8-1 in duals)
197: #5 Tanner Sloan • Sr., Alburnett, Iowa (15-1 overall, 10-0 in duals)
285: Luke Rasmussen • R-Fr., Brookings, S.D. (14-8 overall, 6-5 in duals)
Notes: Rankings listed are highest of either Intermat or FloWrestling rankings as of Feb. 6, 2024

SERIES vs. OKLAHOMA: The series against Oklahoma dates back to the 1969-70 season, when the Sooners recorded a 31-2 victory.

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, with OU holding a 6-3 series advantage.

Oklahoma was won each of the last three matchups, including an 18-13 victory at Frost Arena on Feb. 12, 2023. A four-match winning streak by the Sooners in the middle of the dual, including three over higher-ranked opponents, proved to be the difference.

Oklahoma 18, #16 South Dakota State 13 (Feb. 12, 2023 • Frost Arena)
125: #25 Tanner Jordan (SDSU) dec. #19 Joey Prata (OU), 4-2 [SV-1]
133: #27 Wyatt Henson (OU) dec. Derrick Cardinal (SDSU), 8-2
141: #7 Mosha Schwartz (OU) dec. #10 Clay Carlson (SDSU), 8-2
149: Alek Martin (SDSU) dec. John Wiley (OU), 3-2
157: Jacob Butler (OU) dec. Caleb Gross (SDSU), 9-2
165: #16 Gerrit Nijenhuis (OU) dec. #14 Tanner Cook (SDSU), 8-5
174: #23 Tate Picklo (OU) dec. #13 Cade DeVos (SDSU), 8-5
184: Keegan Moore (OU) dec. #17 Cade King (SDSU), 10-6
197: #9 Tanner Sloan (SDSU) major dec. Carson Berryhill (OU), 13-4
285: #12 A.J. Nevills (SDSU) dec. #14 Josh Heindselman (OU), 3-1 [SV-1]

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

Oklahoma State claimed a 19-12 victory on the Jackrabbits’ home mat last season. Nine of the 10 matchups resulted in decisions, with the Cowboys claiming one victory by major decision. The loss snapped SDSU’s 10-match dual winning streak.

SDSU won four of the seven bouts between ranked wrestlers, with Clay Carlson (141), Cade DeVos (174), Tanner Sloan (197) and A.J. Nevills (285) coming out on top.

#7 Oklahoma State 19, #16 South Dakota State 12 (Feb. 10, 2023 • Frost Arena)
125: Reece Witcraft (OSU) dec. #25 Tanner Jordan (SDSU), 9-5
133: #2 Daton Fix (OSU) major dec. Derrick Cardinal (SDSU), 11-1
141: #10 Clay Carlson (SDSU) dec. #13 Carter Young (OSU), 4-3
149: #21 Victor Voinovich (OSU) dec. Alek Martin (SDSU), 3-1
157: #10 Kaden Gfeller (OSU) dec. #18 Cael Swensen (SDSU), 8-1
165: #22 Wyatt Sheets (OSU) dec. #14 Tanner Cook (SDSU), 8-6
174: #13 Cade DeVos (SDSU) dec. #7 Dustin Plott (OSU), 9-5
184: #10 Travis Wittlake (OSU) dec. #17 Cade King (SDSU), 3-0
197: #9 Tanner Sloan (SDSU) dec. #16 Luke Surber (OSU), 7-0
285: #12 A.J. Nevills (SDSU) dec. #19 Konner Doucet (OSU), 4-3 [TB-1]

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 Jan. 16, checking in at No. 10 in the rankings conducted by the National Wrestling Coaches Association. Despite winning eight duals in a row, the Jackrabbits have since dropped a couple spots to No. 12.

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 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 12th in this week’s dual rankings by InterMat and 14th in team tournament surveys conducted by InterMat and FloWrestling.

Individually, all 10 Jackrabbit starters appeared in the first NCAA coaches’ rankings of the season, which were released Jan. 22.

The coaches’ rankings are determined by 14 coaches in each weight class, with two head coaches from each of the seven Division I wrestling conferences making up the voting panel. For ranking purposes, coaches may only consider a wrestler that 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.

Cade DeVos leads the Jackrabbit contingent with a third-place showing in the 174-pound coaches’ rankings. A senior from Altoona, Iowa, and a three-time NCAA qualifier, DeVos has compiled a 16-1 record so far this season.

Also posting a top-five ranking is returning All-American Tanner Sloan in the 197-pound weight class. With a No. 5 ranking, the senior from Alburnett, Iowa, enters the week with a 15-1 record thus far during the 2023-24 campaign. Seven of Sloan’s victories this season have been by technical fall.

Five Jackrabbit wrestlers are ranked between 12th and 19th in their respective weight classes:

  • Derrick Cardinal, 12th at 133 pounds (18-4 record);
  • Bennett Berge, 12th at 184 pounds (12-2 record);
  • Tanner Jordan, 14th at 125 pounds (19-5 record);
  • Cael Swensen, 15th at 157 pounds (15-5 record);
  • Alek Martin, 19th at 149 pounds (15-6 record).

Jordan and Swensen also were among the Jackrabbits’ school-record eight NCAA qualifiers last season.

Completing the rankings for the Jackrabbits were two-time All-American Clay Carlson (27th at 141 pounds), Luke Rasmussen (27th at heavyweight) and Tanner Cook (33rd at 165 pounds). Carlson recently returned to the lineup and is 8-4 on the season, while Rasmussen has turned in a 14-8 mark in his first season as a starter. Cook has posted a 6-8 mark thus far during the 2023-24 campaign.

The next coaches’ rankings are slated to be released Feb. 19.

A LOOK AHEAD: The Jackrabbits return home to host Missouri in a Big 12 dual on Sunday, Feb. 18. Start time is slated for 2 p.m. at Frost Arena.

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