Meyer wrestles as school’s first D-I NCAA tournament competitor

Dawn Johnson

Dawn Johnson

Ryan Meyer, the first South Dakota State athlete to compete at an NCAA Division-I national tournament, was one of many other great wrestlers this past week in Auburn Hills, Mich.

As the first ever from SDSU, Meyer had a lot of weight on his shoulders. Going into the tournament, he said, “I want to wrestle my best and put myself in a situation to win a couple matches.”

Coach Jason Liles agreed with the expectations.

“Ryan needed to compete at his best and win matches,” he said.

Meyer, a redshirt freshman from Parkston, lost a 5-1 decision to Ivy-Leaguer Zach Shanaman of the University of Pennsylvania in the first round on the morning of March 15. Shanaman, ranked No. 16 in the nation, began the scoring with 2-0 advantage with 15 seconds left in the first and never faltered. Meyer’s lone point was from one minute, 25 seconds of riding time.

Meyer then wrestled Dustin Noack of University of California-Davis in a wrestle-back match on March 15 in the Palace. A fairly even first period led Meyer to tie the match on a take-down in the second. He then took the lead, 4-3, in the third with an escape. Noack finally got to Meyer late in the match, when Noack scored a take-down to secure the victory, 5-4.

“I feel like I wrestled pretty good, but I could have done a little better and won a match or two,” Meyer said.

Meyer led the way this season and believes the future of SDSU’s wrestling program looks strong.

“It’s an honor to be the first one, but hopefully I am the first of many of the guys on our team that have a possibility to make it next year. My expectations are to make it to the national tournament the next three years and reach my goal of being a couple-time all-American.”

Meyer finished the year with a 23-11 overall record and a perfect 6-0 against West Regional opponents.

SDSU finished the season at .500 and posting an 8-8-1 mark.

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