Wrestling team has tough schedule ahead with three duals left


Zoey Schentzel

South Dakota State’s Cael Swensen celebrates a match win in a Big 12 dual against Wyoming Jan. 22 at Frost Arena. The Jackrabbits carry a 10-dual winning streak into this weekend’s matchups. During that winning streak, the 157-pound redshirt freshman didn’t lose a match he faced, going 10-0 during the streak.

Evan Patzwald, Co-Sports Editor (He/Him)

The South Dakota State wrestling team needs to power through some tough opponents if they want to keep their 10-dual win streak alive. The Jackrabbits host Big 12 opponents Oklahoma State Friday and Oklahoma Sunday at Frost Arena. 

The No. 16 Jacks current double-digit win streak is the first since the 2017-18 season, where they won 14 matches in a row and seventh double-digit win streak in program history. They currently sit 11-2 overall and 5-0 in the conference. 

Coach Damion Hahn knows it’s a big weekend but says it is not season-defining and appreciates the opportunity to wrestle in the Big 12.

“I think we are very fortunate to be able to wrestle the schedule that we do wrestle,” Hahn said. “How many other sports are competing week in and week out against the perennial power five schools? Us being in the Big 12, we’re going to see a lot of that competition.”

Last week, the Jacks didn’t have a dual matchup, but some of the team participated in the Don Parker Open in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Redshirt freshman Roman Rogotzke took the 197-pound title, with Cody Donnelly placing third in the class as well. Rogotzke went 3-0 on the day, with Donnelly going 2-1.

Leading into Friday’s matchup at 7 p.m., the Jackrabbits will face a top-10 opponent in Oklahoma State. The No. 7 Cowboys have won two duals in a row and eight of their last nine matchups. Their two most recent wins were both top-10 victories, beating No. 6 Michigan Feb. 3 and earning a tiebreaker over No. 8 Missouri Feb. 5. 

“The history there is one of the best in the absolute country,” Hahn said about Oklahoma State. “It could shape up to be an amazing duel. Matchups are key. There are some weights that are favored, and they have weights they’re favored in winning and then there are some toss-ups.”

Following Friday’s matchup with Oklahoma State, the Jacks will then host Oklahoma Sunday.

The Sooners haven’t been as successful in conference matchups this season as they currently sit at 1-4 in the Big 12 with their lone dual win coming against West Virginia Jan. 20. Most recently, Oklahoma snapped their three-match losing streak Feb. 5 in a 24-10 win over Rider on Senior Day. 

For the Jacks, Tanner Sloan is undefeated in duals this season at 11-0 in the 197-pound weight class. He has an overall record of 46-4 in duals in his career. A.J. Nevills, in the 285-pound class, was unbeaten at 11-0 in duals before losing to Wyatt Hendrickson of Air Force Jan. 29. Cade King has won nine matches in a row, most recently over Noah Blake Jan. 29. 

The Cowboys and Jacks will face off at 7 p.m. at Frost Arena Friday before matching up with the Sooners Sunday at 1 p.m. Their final dual of the season will be Feb. 19 on the road against North Dakota State. 

The Big 12 Wrestling Championships will be held March 4-5, while the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships will be March 16-18. Both championships will be in Tulsa, Oklahoma. 

Hahn knows how important playing this weekend’s matches at home will be. 

“How wrestling is appreciated here in our community and our fans, it is not like that around the country,” Hahn said. “We live in an amazing part of our country for our sport, and we need those fans to be there to help us do what we want to accomplish.”