CLEVELAND – Led by quarterfinalists Seth Gross and Luke Zilverberg, six South Dakota State University wrestlers advanced to the second day of competition at the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships Thursday at Quicken Loans Arena.
The national runner-up at 133 pounds a year ago, Gross won both his matches Thursday by major decision. The top-seeded Gross opened the day with a 15-2 major decision over Matthew Schmitt of West Virginia for his third victory in five weeks over the Mountaineer.
Thursday night, Gross jumped out to 4-1 first-period lead against 16th-seeded Mitch McKee of Minnesota before finishing with a 13-5 major decision. Gross, who improved to 26-1 overall with his second win of the season over McKee, will meet eighth-seeded Montorie Bridges of Wyoming in quarterfinal action Friday morning.
Zilverberg, a senior from Belle Plaine, Minnesota, who was making his second consecutive appearance at nationals, pulled off an upset in the 157-pound Round of 16 during Thursday’s evening session. Facing fourth-seeded Josh Shields of Arizona State, to whom he had lost a pair of 4-0 decisions earlier in the season, the 13th-seeded Zilverberg moved on to the quarterfinals with a 9-6 decision. Zilverberg, who recorded his team-leading 29th win of the season, took the lead for good at 6-4 with a takedown in the closing seconds of the second period. He sealed the win with another takedown in the final minute of the third period.
Zilverberg also won a rematch in his opening-round bout, defeating Justin Staudenmayer of Brown, 6-1. He will face Alec Pantaleo of Michigan in the quarterfinals.
Two other Jackrabbit wrestlers lost in the Round of 16 Thursday night after winning opening-round matches.
At 174 pounds, 11th-seeded David Kocer began his third NCAA appearance by posting a methodical 3-1 victory over Utah Valley’s Kimball Bastian. In the second round, the senior from Wagner dropped an 11-3 major decision to sixth-seeded Bo Jordan of Ohio State to fall into the consolation bracket.
Eighth-seeded Nate Rotert, who is making his fourth consecutive trip to nationals, started his tournament run with a 6-2 decision over Hunter Ritter of Wisconsin in the morning session.
Rotert faced an old nemesis in Kent State’s Kyle Conel in the 197-pound Round of 16. With the match tied at 2 midway through the second period, the unseeded Conel caught Rotert in a hip toss for a takedown and ensuing 4-point near-fall to knock off Rotert, 8-2, defeating the Spearfish native for the second time in three years at the NCAA Championships.
Staying alive in Thursday night’s wrestlebacks were 125-pounder Connor Brown and 141-pounder Henry Pohlmeyer.
Brown jumped out to an 8-1 first-period lead before fending off Alonzo Allen of Chattanooga with another late surge for a 16-11 decision in their consolation match.
Brown, a freshman from Oak Grove, Missouri, held a 5-2 lead with about a minute remaining in regulation in his opening-round match against Luke Welch of Purdue before Welch countered with a takedown and 4-point near-fall to take an 8-5 lead. Welch later added points for stalling and riding time to thwart Brown’s upset bid.
Pohlmeyer, a sophomore from Johnston, Iowa, notched the only pin of the day for the Jackrabbits as he rallied past Cleveland State’s Evan Cheek in the consolation round. He fell behind 2-0 early and still trailed 2-1 entering the third period before getting a takedown and putting Cheek’s shoulders to the mat for the fall in 5 minutes and 49 seconds.
Pohlmeyer dropped an 8-1 decision to 11th-seeded Michael Carr of Illinois in his initial match of the day.
The lone Jackrabbit to be eliminated from the tournament on the opening day was 184-pounder Martin Mueller, who dropped both of his bouts. A sophomore from Rapid City, Mueller lost a 16-4 major decision to top-seeded Bo Nickal of Penn State before bowing out after a 4-3 loss to Eastern Michigan’s Kayne MacCallum in the consolation round. Mueller tied the match against MacCallum at 3-all with a takedown midway through the third period, but MacCallum managed to escape about 30 seconds later for the winning point.
In the team standings, the Jackrabbits finished Day 1 tied for 12th place with Wisconsin with 11 points. The top four teams are all from the Big Ten Conference with Ohio State leading the way with 36 points after 10 Buckeye wrestlers combined to go 19-1 on the day. Penn State is second with 28.5 points, followed by Iowa with 27 and Michigan with 23. North Carolina State rounds out the top five with 20 points.
Action resumes at 11 a.m. Eastern Time (10 a.m. Central) Friday, with coverage on ESPNU and ESPN3.com.
Following are SDSU’s complete results from the opening day of the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships:
125: Connor Brown, Fr., Oak Grove, Mo. (1-1 record)
* lost to #14 Luke Welch (Purdue), by dec., 5-10
* dec. Alonzo Allen (Chattanooga), 16-11
* vs. #13 Zeke Moisey (West Virginia)
133: #1 Seth Gross, Jr., Apple Valley, Minn. (2-0 record)
* major dec. Matthew Schmitt (West Virginia), 15-2
* major dec. #16 Mitch McKee (Minnesota), 13-5
* vs. #8 Montorie Bridges (Wyoming)
141: Henry Pohlmeyer, So., Johnston, Iowa (1-1 record)
* lost to #11 Michael Carr (Illinois), by dec., 1-8
* def. Evan Cheek (Cleveland State), by fall 5:49
* vs. #5 Kevin Jack (North Carolina State)
157: #13 Luke Zilverberg, Sr., Belle Plaine, Minn. (2-0 record)
* dec. Justin Staudenmayer (Brown), 6-1
* dec. #4 Josh Shields (Arizona State), 9-6
* vs. #5 Alec Pantaleo (Michigan)
174: #11 David Kocer, Sr., Wagner, S.D. (1-1 record)
* dec. Kimball Bastian (Utah Valley), 3-1
* lost to #6 Bo Jordan (Ohio State), by major dec., 3-11
* vs. Ryan Christensen (Wisconsin)
184: Martin Mueller, So., Rapid City, S.D. (0-2 record)
* lost to #1 Bo Nickal (Penn State), by major dec., 4-16
* lost to Kayne MacCallum (Eastern Michigan), by dec., 3-4
197: #8 Nate Rotert, Sr., Spearfish, S.D. (1-1 record)
* dec. Hunter Ritter (Wisconsin), 6-2
* lost to Kyle Conel (Kent State), by dec., 2-8
* vs. Rocco Caywood (Army)
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