Zoey Schentzel

Tanner Sloan celebrates after pinning Jack Forbes of Utah Valley in the Jacks’ 29-12 dual victory over Utah Valley Jan. 20 at Frost Arena. Sloan was the only Jackrabbit to be ranked No. 1 overall in his weight class ahead of the Big 12 Wrestling Championships this weekend. Sloan was first overall in the 197-pound weight class.

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

After its final dual meet of the season Feb. 19, the SDSU wrestling team turns its focus to the Big 12 Wrestling Championships in Tulsa, Oklahoma, March 4-5.

Eight Jackrabbits were seeded ahead of the tournament, with Tanner Sloan being ranked No. 1 overall for the 197-pound weight class. Sloan carries a 20-1 overall record, including winning 17 straight heading into Tulsa.

Coach Damion Hahn isn’t reading too much into where each wrestler was ranked ahead of the weekend.

“It’s fun for the fans and coaches can prepare, but for the student-athlete, just focus on the task at hand the first guy in front of you,” Hahn said. “Don’t overthink, because when guys overthink and they look past, that’s what happens. Then they weren’t focused on the match at hand.”

Other Jackrabbits ranked included redshirt freshman Cael Swensen in the 157-pound weight class and heavyweight A.J. Nevills. Both were given No. 4 seeds. Nevills is in his senior season heading into his final Big 12 Championship with an 18-4 record.

“We’re at this time in the year where this is what you live for,” Hahn said. “You train all year long for two weekends in March.”

Clay Carlson (17-7 overall) was given the No. 5 seed in the 141-pound class, with Tanner Jordan (16-12 overall) ranked No. 6 in the 125-pound class and Cade Devos (20-6 overall) also ranked No. 6 in the 174-pound class. Tanner Cook (14-4 overall) and Cade King (15-7 overall) were the last of the Jacks ranked, each at No. 7 in the 165-pound and 184-pound classes.

Both the Big 12 Wrestling Championships and the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships will be held in Tulsa, so the Jacks will have plenty of experience in the environment.

“I think this is a great test for our guys,” Hahn said. “You talk about the crowd, the environment, and this is a place we’ve been to for a handful of years, so they know what to expect.”

Missouri led the conference in wrestlers ranked at 10, with two No. 1 overall seeds in Brock Mauller and Peyton Mocco at 149 and 174 pounds respectively.

The Jacks most recently wrapped up their dual season with a win at rival NDSU, retaining the Border Bell. NDSU leads the all-time series, but the Jacks have won six of the last 10 matchups.

The dual came down to the final match in front of a sellout crowd of 1,154 fans at Bentson Bunker Fieldhouse. Nevills clinched the 19-17 victory for SDSU, wrapping up its dual season at 12-4 overall and 6-2 in the Big 12.

The pairings for the Big 12 Wrestling Championships will be announced Thursday. The tournament is set to begin Saturday at 10 a.m. and later at 5 p.m. Sunday, the wrestlers will hit the mats at noon, with the championship round starting at 8 p.m.

The tournament can be streamed on ESPN+ and the championship will be on ESPNU.