Gross Advances To National Semifinals & Becomes SDSU’s First Modern D1 All-American
Alex Kocer Falls In National Quarterfinals
ST. LOUIS, MO – Second-seeded Seth Gross moved on to the semifinals of the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships during competition Friday morning at Scottrade Center, becoming the first South Dakota State wrestler to secure All-America honors in the Division I era.
A sophomore from Apple Valley, Minnesota, Gross avenged his lone loss of the season with an 11-1 major decision over Nebraska’s Eric Montoya in the 133-pound quarterfinals. Gross scored an early takedown and immediately put Montoya on his back for a four-point near-fall to build a 6-0 lead. Working from the top in the second period, Gross recorded another four-point near-fall, then tacked on the final point of the match with a riding-time advantage of more than three minutes.
Gross has outscored his three opponents at the NCAA Championships by a 31-1 margin in improving to 33-1 on the season. He will face third-seeded Kaid Brock of Oklahoma State in Friday night’s semifinals in what will be a rematch of the Big 12 Conference championship match two weeks ago.
Two other Jackrabbit wrestlers previously earned All-America honors at the Division I national championships after qualifying out of the College Division/Division II championships. Greg Schmidt earned a fifth-place finish at 115 pounds in 1970, with Pat Dorn placing eighth at 134 pounds in 1988. SDSU first began competing at the Division I level during the 2004-05 season.
In other quarterfinal action Friday, unseeded Alex Kocer was sent to the 149-pound consolation bracket after losing by technical fall, 19-2, to top-seeded and defending national champion Zain Retherford of Penn State. A senior from Wagner, Kocer will meet 14th-seeded Steve Bleise of Northern Illinois Friday night, with the winner clinching All-America status.
Two other Jackrabbits, 165-pounder Luke Zilverberg and Nate Rotert at 197 pounds, were eliminated in wrestlebacks Friday morning. A junior from Belle Plaine, Minnesota, Zilverberg dropped a 10-1 major decision to 12th-seeded Austin Matthews of Edinboro, while the ninth-seeded Rotert fell 2-0 to seventh-seeded Aaron Studebaker of Nebraska. It was the third meeting between Rotert and Studebaker this season, with Studebaker winning the last two matchups.
Zilverberg, who was making his first appearance in the NCAA Championships, ended the season with a 26-10 overall record. A junior from Spearfish, Rotert compiled a 22-9 overall record while earning his third consecutive trip to nationals.
Through three sessions, SDSU is tied with Michigan for 18th place in the team standings with 17 points. Penn State leads the way with 74 points, followed by fellow Big Ten Conference members Ohio State (59) and Iowa (58). Oklahoma State is fourth with 47.5 points, while Cornell (N.Y.) rounds out the top five with 47 points.
Friday’s evening session begins at 7 p.m., with television coverage on ESPN.
SOUTH DAKOTA STATE INDIVIDUAL RESULTS
133: #2 Seth Gross, Jr., Apple Valley, Minn. [3-0 record]
dec. Billy Rappo (Maryland), 5-0
tech. fall Joseph Palmer (Oregon State), 15-0 [7:00]
major dec. #7 Eric Montoya (Nebraska), 11-1
vs. #3 Kaid Brock (Oklahoma State)
149: Alex Kocer, Sr., Wagner, S.D. [2-1 record]
dec. #8 Patricio Lugo (Edinboro), 6-5
dec. #9 Justin Oliver (Central Michigan), 5-4
lost to #1 Zain Retherford (Penn State), by tech. fall, 19-2 [5:14]
vs. #14 Steve Bleise (Northern Illinois)
165: Luke Zilverberg, Jr., Belle Plaine, Minn. [2-2 record]
dec. Tyrel White (Columbia), 6-5
lost to Daniel Lewis (Missouri), by major dec., 8-0
dec. Andrew Mendel (Army), 4-3
lost to #12 Austin Matthews (Edinboro), by major dec., 10-1
Zilverberg ends season 26-10 overall
174: David Kocer, Jr., Wagner, S.D. [1-2 record]
lost to #5 Mark Hall (Penn State), by dec., 8-2
major dec. Matt Reed (Oklahoma), 8-0
lost to #12 Casey Kent (Pennsylvania), 6-0
Kocer ends season 24-10 overall
197: #9 Nate Rotert, Jr., Spearfish, S.D. [1-2 record]
lost to Daniel Chaid (North Carolina), by dec., 10-5
dec. Jacob Holschlag (Northern Iowa), 4-1
lost to #7 Aaron Studebaker (Nebraska), by dec., 2-0
Rotert ends season 22-9 overall