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Photo by: South Dakota State University

Jacks head to West Regional...

Courtesy: SDSU Sports Info
Release: 03/01/2012 12:30:29

The South Dakota State wrestling team takes on individuals from other Western Wrestling Conference schools this weekend at the West Regional for the opportunity to compete at the NCAA Championships...

The regional is set for 10 a.m. on Sunday, March 4, in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

The Jacks finished the regular season at 4-9 (0-6 Western Wrestling Conference) after dropping its final home and conference dual to Wyoming two weeks ago, 45-0.

The lower weights paved the way for the Jackrabbits this season. Aaron Pickrel (125) and Nick Flynn (157) both posted 20-win seasons, as Pickrel was 23-9 and Flynn was 21-10. The other two varsity wrestlers with records of .500 or better were Dustin Walraven (141) and Dillon Reid (165).

SDSU is led by head coach Jason Liles. In his 19th season at SDSU, Liles is 148-143-5 record and the all-time wins leader in school history.

West Regional – The Jacks head to the West Regional to take on other individuals from Western Wrestling Conference schools for the right to go to the NCAA Championships.

The Regional is set to begin at 10 a.m. on Sunday, March 4, in Cedar Falls, Iowa. It is the third trip to Cedar Falls for SDSU this season. The Jacks competed at the UNI Open in early December before returning for a conference dual one and one-half weeks ago.

Ticket Information – Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for kids. All seats are general admission and can be ordered online at www.unitix.uni.edu, by phone (319-273-4849) or at the door. Gates open at 10 a.m. on Sunday. Parking lots surround the McLeod Center. The West Regional will also be streaming live at UNIPanthers.com. The link will appear on the homepage as the tournament is about to begin. The stream is free of charge

NCAA Championships Ticket Information – The NCAA Championships begin on Thursday, March 15, and run through Saturday, March 17, in St. Louis, Mo. Tickets are $125, which is good for all six sessions of the event, and are available through the Jackrabbit Ticket Office (605-688-6076). Tickets are issued on a "first come, first serve" basis.

Western Wrestling Conference release – The NCAA announced on Thursday that the NCAA West Regional Tournament/Western Wrestling Conference Championships has been allocated 17 automatic qualifier spots for the 2012 Division I Wrestling Championships. Only members of the WWC earn bids to the NCAA Tournament at that event.

The NCAA also released that the WWC had 22 wrestlers named in the final Coaches’ Panel Rankings and Rating Percentage Index (RPI) for the 2011-12 wrestling season.

The breakdown of the 17 automatic bids per weight class for the West Regional/WWC Championships, are as follows: 125 pounds (2), 133 (2), 141 (1), 149 (2), 157 (3), 165 (2), 174 (1), 184 (2), 197 (1) and Heavyweight (1).

Last season, the NCAA West Regional Tournament, at which all WWC institutions currently compete to qualify for nationals, was awarded 15 automatic qualifiers.  The WWC was also given two additional at-large bids for a total of 17 spots.

The Western Wrestling Conference, which is in its sixth year of competition, is comprised of seven schools including Air Force, North Dakota State, Northern Colorado, Northern Iowa, South Dakota State, Utah Valley and Wyoming.

This year’s NCAA West Regional Tournament will take place March 4 and will be hosted by the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, Iowa. The three-day, NCAA Championships will be then be held in St. Louis, Mo., March 15-17 at the Scottrade Center.

Each qualifying tournament was awarded spots per weight class based on current year data. Each wrestler was measured on the following: Division I winning percentage; rating percentage index (RPI); and coaches ranking.

For each wrestler that reached the threshold in at least two of the three categories, his qualifying tournament was awarded a qualifying spot in that weight class.  Each qualifying tournament, with automatic qualifying status, was awarded a minimum of one wrestler per weight class, which will go to the tournament champion, even if they did not have any wrestlers reach at least two of the three thresholds.  NCAA tournament spots for each qualifying event will be awarded at the tournament based solely on place-finish.

After all of the qualifying events have concluded, the NCAA Division I Wrestling Committee will meet in-person to select the remaining 40 at-large qualifiers, which will be announced on March 7. All weight classes will consist of 33 wrestlers.  The at-large selections will be made based on the following criteria: head-to-head competition; qualifying event placement; quality wins; results against common opponents; winning percentage; RPI; coaches ranking and the number of matches contested at that weight class.


125 pounds - Aaron Pickrel, redshirt junior
Pickrel enters the weekend with the best record on the team at 23-9. Pickrel was the only SDSU wrestler to post a winning record against WWC opponents, going 4-2 with wins against Northern Colorado, Utah Valley, Northern Iowa and Air Force. Pickrel is also the only Jackrabbit ranked in the final Coaches’ Panel Rankings at No. 33. Last season, Pickrel was 2-2 at the regional en route to a fourth-place finish. Pickrel knocked off the No. 2 seed in the first round, but went 1-2 the rest of the way with losses to the No. 3 seed and No. 2 seed in the third-place match.

133 pounds - Nick Chavez, freshman
One of two true freshman in the varsity lineup, Chavez joined the starting lineup midway through the season and found tough sledding in the competitive weight class. Chavez enters the regional with a 3-10 overall record.

141 pounds - Dustin Walraven, redshirt junior
Walraven was one of four wrestlers with a record of .500 or better, finishing the regular season at 14-10 overall and 7-5 in duals. Walraven posted two WWC wins at Northern Iowa and North Dakota State, but was sidelined for the final dual of the regular season due to injury. Walraven also scored a team-high five falls.

157 pounds - Nick Flynn, senior
The lone senior on the team, Flynn posted the highest single-season win total of his career with 21. Flynn earned conference victories over Northern Colorado and Utah Valley this season. Flynn posted a third-place finish at the West Regional last season. Flynn was defeated in the opening round, but fought his way back to a match with the true second-place finisher for a chance to claim an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships. Flynn dropped the match by an 11-4 decision, but was named to the All-WWC Third Team for his performance.

165 pounds - Dillon Reid, freshman
Reid is the other freshman wrestling varsity for SDSU, as well as the other wrestler with a record of .500 or better this season. Reid posted a 16-2 overall record and 6-5 dual record. Reid won against Northern Colorado and Air Force for his two WWC wins this season.

174 pounds - Joe Rasmussen, junior
Rasmussen also finished the regular season with an 8-15 overall record. In his best win of the year, Rasmussen earned a decision over his opponent from Northern Iowa. Rasmussen also dealt with an injury in the latter part of the season.

184 pounds - Tony Lisek, junior
Lisek closed the regular season with a 6-13 overall record. Lisek suffered a concussion at the midway point of the season which caused him to miss two conference duals.

197 pounds - Nick Mart, redshirt freshman
Mart posted an 11-15 overall record and competed in all duals this season. Mart won two conference matches against Utah Valley and North Dakota State. The win at NDSU, his best of the season, was by fall.

Heavyweight - Joe Skow, junior
Skow finished with a 5-16 overall record. Skow scored a fall over his opponent from Utah Valley in his best match of the season.

Wyoming Cowboys - The South Dakota State wrestling team stalled against Wyoming on Thursday night in this season’s dual finale...

The Jacks wrestled hard, but could not overcome the seventh-ranked team in the country as the Cowboys rolled to a 45-0 win.

On senior night, lone SDSU senior Nick Flynn put forth a strong effort. After a scoreless first period, Flynn scored a reversal after choosing to be down to start the second period. A third-period escape and riding time advantage evened the score and Flynn was outlasted in overtime, 7-2.

Aaron Pickrel posted another close decision, falling 5-2 at 125 pounds to his nationally-ranked opponent.

SDSU finished the season with a 4-9 overall record, 0-6 in the conference.

Wrestlers on Facebook – Fans can now show their support for the Jackrabbit wrestlers on Facebook. Log onto Facebook.com/JackrabbitWrestling to keep up with the Jackrabbit wrestling team.

Jackrabbit Insider on FOX and FSN – Fans of South Dakota State Athletics can get a weekly behind-the-scenes look at all 21 Jackrabbit varsity sports teams by tuning into “The Jackrabbit Insider.”

Hosted by Tyler Merriam, the show airs on Sundays on KTTW FOX 17 at 10:30 p.m., and can also be seen on Fox Sports North at 6 p.m. on Tuesdays.

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