BROOKINGS, S.D. — The South Dakota State University wrestling team will close the pre-holiday portion of its schedule Friday night by hosting Central Michigan in a dual between two nationally ranked programs.
Match time is set for 8 p.m. at Frost Arena and will be preceded by the Jackrabbit men’s basketball team taking on Concordia (Neb.) at 5:30 p.m. At intermission of Friday’s dual, SDSU will host a Teddy Bear Toss. The first 250 fans to bring a new teddy bear or unopened toy will receive a free Jacks shirt. The teddy bears and toys will be donated to the Sanford Children’s Hospital in Sioux Falls.
Friday’s dual will be available for viewing through the FloWrestling.org subscription service.
The Jackrabbits, ranked 17th in this week’s NWCA/USA Today Division I poll, enter the weekend with an 3-2 record in duals after sweeping all three duals at last weekend’s Dakota Showcase. SDSU’s two dual losses have been at the hands of ranked opponents — a 20-12 home setback to No. 8 Minnesota on Nov. 17 and a 25-13 defeat at No. 11 Arizona State on Nov. 26.
Central Michigan, meanwhile, is 1-1 in duals so far this season. The 18th-ranked Chippewas opened the dual season with a 31-9 win over Michigan State on Nov. 17, before falling to No. 10 Virginia Tech two days later. CMU will close its road trip to the Dakotas with a Sunday afternoon matchup at North Dakota State.
THE SERIES: Friday’s dual will mark the first-ever meeting on the wrestling mat between the Jackrabbits and Central Michigan.
SDSU Notes – December 7, 2017 | Results on TrackWrestling.com
RABBITS RANKED: South Dakota State is well represented both individually and as a team in rankings conducted by a number of wrestling-related media outlets.
The Jackrabbits opened the 2017-18 season with a No. 16 ranking in the first NWCA/USA Today Division I Coaches Poll, and have since dropped one spot to No. 17 a month into the dual season.
Defending national champion Penn State is the top-ranked team in the poll, followed by Ohio State. Reigning Big 12 Conference champion Oklahoma State is third.
Besides Oklahoma State and the Jackrabbits, the Big 12 is represented in the poll by newcomer Northern Iowa (15th) and Oklahoma (21st).
Other current top-25 opponents on the Jackrabbits’ dual schedule this season include Minnesota (eighth), Arizona State (11th), Central Michigan (18th) and Pittsburgh (25th).
The Jackrabbits also are ranked 11th by both FloWrestling, 13th by TrackWrestling and 16th by both Intermat and WIN Magazine.
Individually, all four of the Jackrabbits’ returning national qualifiers appear in at least one Division I poll, highlighted by Seth Gross’ No. 1 ranking by four rating services. The junior from Apple Valley, Minnesota, holds the top spot at 133 pounds in rankings conducted by FloWrestling, Intermat, TrackWrestling and WIN Magazine.
Three-time NCAA qualifier Nate Rotert at 197 pounds is ranked sixth by both Intermat and FloWrestling, as well as eighth by WIN Magazine and TrackWrestling, Senior 174-pounder David Kocer is ranked as high as ninth by FloWrestling, followed by a 12th-place showing by Intermat and respective 16th- and 17th-place showings in the TrackWrestling and WIN Magazine rankings. A Wagner native, Kocer is a two-time national qualifier.
Completing the Jackrabbit rankings is Luke Zilverberg, who has dropped down to the 157-pound weight class for his senior season. An NCAA qualifier at 165 pounds during the 2016-17 season, the Belle Plaine, Minnesota, native checks in at No. 11 in this week’s FloWrestling rankings. He also stands 12th in the Intermat rankings and 13th in the WIN Magazine and TrackWrestling surveys.
DUAL STREAK: Seth Gross brings a streak of 24 consecutive victories in dual competition into Friday’s dual against Central Michigan. After winning his final five dual bouts at 141 pounds during the 2015-16 season, Gross posted a perfect 17-0 record in duals last season while wrestling at 133 pounds. He stayed unbeaten at 133 pounds and extended his winning streak to 24 with a 19-1 technical fall over Arizona State’s Ali Naser on Nov. 26. Gross did not wrestle at last week’s Dakota Showcase.
Of his 24 consecutive dual wins, 11 have been by fall, five by major decision, and four each by decision and technical fall to total 118 team dual points.
Gross’ last dual loss was a 6-4 setback to Wyoming’s Bryce Meredith on Jan. 29, 2016. Overall, he holds a 30-6 record in duals during his Jackrabbit career.
A LOOK AHEAD: SDSU will be off from competition for three weeks, returning to the mat Dec. 29-30 at the Ken Kraft Midlands Championships hosted by Northwestern University. This year’s tournament will be held at the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates, Illinois.
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