Wrestling stays hot over winter break

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Over Winter Break, the No. 15 South Dakota State wrestling team racked up an impressive 30-13 victory over the Oregon State Beavers and wrestled at the Ken Kraft Midlands Championships.

Against Oregon State

The Jackrabbits struggled a bit at the start of dual against the Beavers, as they dropped two of the first five matches.

Freshman Connor Brown started out at the 125-pound weight class for the Jacks and was defeated 15-3 by No. 15 Ronnie Bresser of Oregon State.

Junior Seth Gross continued his hot streak against the Beavers as he recorded a pin fall against Devan Turner in 1:10. Gross is still ranked as the No. 1 wrestler in the 133-pound weight class and has now won 14 straight matches.

“He is on a mission, he wants to be a NCAA Champion,” head coach Chris Bono said. “He’s doing everything possible.”

It was the middle weight classes where the Jacks proved to be the better team. They won five straight matches from the 157-pound weight class to the 197-pound weight class, including three straight matches in which they were awarded bonus points.

“That’s the strength of our lineup, they need to go out there and win every time,” Bono said of the middle weight classes.

Senior Luke Zilverberg, who is ranked No. 11 in the 157-pound weight class, got the Jacks going with a 5-4 decision over Oregon States’ Hunter Willits.

In the 165-pound weight class, junior Logan Peterson made an impact on the match with a pin fall in 4:53. Senior David Kocer kept the streak of bonus points going when he recorded a technical fall over Myles Terry.

Senior Nate Rotert made his way back from an injury at the Midlands tournament and came up with a 9-4 decision over No. 13 Corey Griego.

With the match already decided, head coach Chris Bono decided not to have his heavyweight starter, senior Alex Macki, finish the match for the Jacks. Instead, they sent out redshirt freshman Blake Wolters. No. 6 Amar Dhesi of Oregon State defeated Wolters by pin fall in 2:43.

The Midland Championships

As a team, SDSU placed fifth at the Ken Kraft Midlands Championships in Evanston, Illinois.

“The fight was there and the effort was there, the main thing was that we came out healthy,” Bono said.

The No. 5 Iowa Hawkeyes came in first.

Gross continued his year-long tear and won his bracket at the 133-weight class. In doing so, he became the first wrestler in school history to win a championship at the Midlands.

Kocer also turned in an impressive performance in the 174-pound weight class as he placed second, dropping an 18-7 major decision to the No. 1 ranked Zahid Valencia, of Arizona State, in the championship match. It was the second meeting between the two this season, and Kocer has dropped both of them.

“David Kocer looks really good right now,” Bono said. “He is really showing he will be a NCAA All-American threat.”

Another Jackrabbit who found himself on the podium was Rotert who turned in a fourth-place finish. However, he bowed out of the tournament during his third-place match citing “medical reasons.”

Up next for the Jacks, they will be on the road as they travel to Orem, Utah, to take on the Utah Valley Wolverines and then they will travel to the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado to take on the Air Force Falcons.

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