Sloan a national runner-up: Eight Jacks compete at NCAA Wrestling Championships


Justin Hoch

Tanner Sloan at the Division I NCAA Wrestling Championships in Tulsa, OK. Sloan finished as a national runner-up after losing to Nino Bonaccorsi in the championship round for the 197-pound weight class.

Evan Patzwald, Co-Sports Editor

A national runner-up finish from Tanner Sloan in the NCAA Wrestling Championships highlighted the SDSU wrestling team’s trip to Tulsa. 

Sloan was the No. 7 seed in the 197-pound weight class and managed to upset both of his opponents in the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds before losing to the No. 1 seed Nino Bonaccorsi from Pittsburgh by decision 5-3. 

Sloan finished the season as an all-American and with a 27-3 overall record. 

“He did what we all know he could do,” coach Damion Hahn said of Sloan’s tournament performance. “We’ve been saying this for how long? When you get to the national tournament, everybody’s got something. It’s a long season, it’s a grind. One of the biggest things I think is staying somewhat injury-free. This has been the first season Tanner has been relatively healthy.”

On his way to the championship round, Sloan beat No. 26 Gavin Hoffman from Ohio State, 8-1. Then beat No. 10 Jacob Cardenas of Cornell 4-0 before upsetting No. 2 Bernie Truax of Cal Poly 6-4 and No. 3 Rocky Elam of Missouri 7-2. Sloan had just lost to Elam two weeks prior in the Big 12 Championships. 

“Not only did he go out there and win, but he absolutely dominated the guy,” Hahn said of Sloan’s win over Elam. “It was an amazing moment for Tanner, no doubt about it. It was an amazing moment for our program. I’m extremely happy for a lot of people and he did well.”

Clay Carlson was the other All-American wrestler for the Jacks after finishing with a 6-2 overall record in Tulsa. No. 11 Carlson in the 141-pound weight class defeated No. 22 Malyke Hines of Lehigh before falling in the next round to No. 6 Beau Bartlett of Penn State 3-2. 

He picked up four straight wins after that and lost to Bartlett again 12-2. Carlson finished out the tournament beating No. 4 Brock Hardy of Nebraska by injury default. Carlson finished the tournament in fifth place in his weight class and had a 27-10 overall record on the year. 

“He’s not the most athletic or the most gifted guy out there, but he gives maximum effort in all that he does,” Hahn said of Carlson. “It showed in his match where he’s wrestling Allan Hart, a guy that has beaten him multiple times. He had to get a last second takedown to become a two-time All-American. I was ecstatic.”

As a team, SDSU finished 14th in total points in the tournament with 37.0, half a point behind Princeton for 13th. The Jacks’ finish was the second-highest finish at nationals since joining Division I in 2004-05. Penn State finished first overall with 137.5 points, followed by Iowa with 82.5 and Cornell rounding out the top three with 76.5 points. 

“We finished 14th in the country in dual meets. We finished 14th in the country at the NCAA Tournament,” Hahn said. “If that doesn’t say something about being a well-balanced team, then I don’t know what does. It’s special what we have and when you have guys that are out there battling for one another, good things happen.”

Other wrestlers that took part in the tournament for SDSU were Tanner Jordan, Cael Swensen, Tanner Cook, Cade DeVos, Cade King and A.J. Nevills. 

Even though their season just ended, the grind doesn’t stop for the Jacks wrestling team.

“We got to get guys ready because we’ve got the U.S. Open coming up next month,” Hahn said. “I thought we’d have a little bit more time to enjoy this, but it never stops. It truly doesn’t. We got guys pushing to get on world teams this year. We put two on world teams last year and that’s the goal.”