Tourney bound: Record eight Jacks qualify for NCAA tournament

Marshall Minihan, Sports Reporter

After finishing the Big 12 Conference tournament, SDSU will be sending eight wrestlers to the NCAA Division 1 National Wrestling Championship.

After marching his way to the finals to make himself South Dakota State’s first Big 12 Conference individual champion, Jacks’ own Tanner Sloan came just short in a 2-1 loss in the final round against University of Missouri wrestler Rocky Elam in the 197 weight class.

Sloan came into the meet ranked No. 1 in the 197 weight class. He started 2-0 with both of his wins coming from pins to Caden Gerlach in the first round and Carson Berryhill in the second. To add even more to his resume for the weekend, the Minnesota native beat No. 4 ranked  Luke Surber of Oklahoma State with a 12-1 major decision. Just as it played out in the rankings, Sloan wrestled in the finals against No. 2 ranked Elam before losing by one point in a tiebreaker, after the extra two-minute period of overtime.

South Dakota State finished the meet with 86.5 points and took the sixth-place spot in the tournament. Mizzou took first at 148 points, 2nd place was Oklahoma State with 134 points and rounding up the top three was Iowa State with 129 points. Oklahoma took fourth with 97.5 and finishing fifth was North Dakota State with 89 points.

“I was happy,” said head coach Damion Hahn. “Happy with the effort, happy with where these guys are mentally and physically. That’s the biggest thing.”

Hahn says that if they can monitor their sleep, nutrition and weight, he thinks that it is “cruise control” from there on out.

Clay Carlson, Cael Swensen, Tanner Cook, Cade DeVos, A.J. Nevills and Sloan all qualified for Nationals.

Cook finished the night in 8th place in the 165 class, losing to OU Sooner Gerrit Nijenhuis 8-3, with a tournament record of 2-3.

Nevills went 2-2 in the 285 class in the meet. He started the tournament off hot at 2-0 before losing 16-1 in a tech fall to No. 1 ranked Wyatt Hendrickson in his third match from Air Force and Tyrell Gordan in his final match 2-0.

Wrestling in the 157 weight class and placing fifth was Swensen, who finished the meet going 3-2. After winning his first two matches, he lost his next two matches to No. 1 Jared Franek of NDSU and Jason Kraisser of Iowa State before beating Oklahoma’s Jared Hill in his final match for fifth place.

Carlson finished third in the 141 class going 4-1 with his only loss to No. 4 ranked Carter Young of Oklahoma State 4-2. Coming into the meet ranked 5th, the Minnesota native won his last match after it came down to a tiebreaker, winning 4-3 against Iowa State Cyclone Casey Swiderski.

Also coming in third was DeVos in the 174 weight class. After getting a first-round bye and losing to No. 3 ranked Sam Wolf of Air Force, DeVos went on a 3-0 run beating Andrew Berreyesa, Julien Broderson and upsetting No. 5 Tate Picklo of Oklahoma 6-1 in his final round.

Cade King and Tanner Jordan were selected as at-large bids Tuesday. King finished the night in seventh place going 1-2. King lost his first and third matches but beat No. 8 ranked Anthony Carman of West Virginia in his second match.

South Dakota State sent a total of 10 wrestlers to the meet, with 125-pound Jordan, 133-pound Derrick Cardinal and 149-pound Alek Martin all being eliminated.

Both Jordan and Cardinal won their first matches, with Cardinal beating the No. 7 ranked wrestler, but lost their next two, with both finishing 1-2. Martin went 0-2 at the meet, losing to No. 2 ranked Colin Realbuto 8-2 and Isaiah Delgado 5-4.

The NCAA Division 1 Wrestling Championships will be held in Tulsa, Oklahoma, from March 16-18. Brackets and pairings are set to come out Wednesday, March 8.