Wrestling wraps up 2018-19 season

Trenton Abrego, Sports Reporter

After going 14-2 and sending five wrestlers to the NCAA National Championship in the 2017-18 season, the South Dakota State Jackrabbits went 3-10 and sent one wrestler to the championships in the 2018-19 season.

It was a season full of change.

Ex-head coach Chris Bono and John Reader headed to Wisconsin, taking with them former 125-lbs and 2017-18 National Championship qualifier Connor Brown.

South Dakota State started a coaching search that ended with a long-time Cornell assistant, Damion Hahn.

“It was an interesting season. We had a lot of ups and downs, you know. We made progress in a lot of areas, but (there’s) still a lot of work to be down,” Hahn said. “It wasn’t the season that we all wanted, but there is a lot of positives to take away.”

The season was marred by Seth Gross’ back injury that caused the reigning National Champion to sit out the entire year. After the season’s end, Gross announced his move to enter the transfer portal, allowing him to talk to coaches from different schools.

Without Gross, the Jackrabbits had to find different leaders.

One of those was 149-lbs Henry Pohlmeyer, who advanced to his second NCAA Championships in as many years. This season, though, Pohlmeyer was unable to pick up a NCAA Championship win. In his two matches in Pittsburgh, Pohlmeyer lost by fall to Josh Heil of Campbell, and a 3-1 decision to Tejon Anthony of George Mason.

In his junior year, Zach Carlson led the dual team in wins (22). In his redshirt freshman and sophomore year, Carlson put together eight wins.

Another Carlson turned in a winning record during his redshirt freshman year, Clay Carlson went 30-5. Carlson’s highest-ranking win of the season came against Cory Crooks of Arizona State. According to www.wrestlestat.com, Crooks was the No. 116 141-lbs in the country. The same site ranked Carlson as the No. 114 wrestler in the division.

Carlson wasn’t the only freshman to impress during the 2018-19 campaign.

Tanner Sloan, the 197-lbs redshirt freshman put together a 24-2 record with key wins over WrestleStat No. 8 Jacob Warner of Iowa, No. 9 Josh Hokit of Fresno State and No. 12 Lucas Davison of Northwestern.

At the 2018 Midlands Championships, Sloan advanced to the finals where he lost a 13-4 majority decision to Patrick Brucki of Princeton.

After the decision loss to Brucki, Sloan wouldn’t lose again in the season and put together a six-match win streak.

“I think we have a young team and a very bright future, we just have to keep working and improve in the areas we need to improve upon,” Hahn said.

South Dakota State will graduate just one wrestler in Logan Peterson, who put together a 67-59 record while donning a yellow and blue singlet.