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Photo by: Robby Gallagher

Wrestling at West Regional

Courtesy: SDSU Sports Info
Release: 03/07/2013 13:33:59

South Dakota State wrestles for tickets to the NCAA Championships at the West Regional. Start time is set for 9 a.m. on Saturday, March 9, in Laramie, Wyo.

The Jacks finished the regular season 5-12 overall (1-4 conference) and fifth in the conference standings.

First-year head coach Chris Bono and first-year assistant coaches Israel Silva and Andrew Sorenson leads SDSU. Bono posted a 39-17-0 record in three years at Tennessee at Chattanooga, including a 15-0 SoCon record. His squad won three SoCon regular season and tournament championships and he was named SoCon Coach of the Year all three seasons.

- The NCAA released its final coaches' panel rankings for the 2012-13 season. Final rankings are one of the tools used to determine the qualifiers for the NCAA Championships.

Dustin Walraven checked in at No. 29 in the 149-pound weight class in the final rankings. Walraven finished the season with a 23-11 overall record, 11-5 in duals and 4-1 in conference. His seven pins are a season best and he has the second-fastest pin by a Jackrabbit this season (0:54). Walraven also ranked No. 20 in the initial RPI, but was unranked in the final RPI.

Complete rankings are available on NCAA.com.

West Regional
- The West Regional consists of competitors from teams in the Western Wrestling Conference. North Dakota State, Wyoming, Utah Valley, Air Force and Northern Colorado join SDSU in Laramie, Wyo., for the NCAA qualifying tournament.

The West Regional has 14 wrestlers ranked in the final coaches' panel rankings spread out across five of the six teams. Air Force leads the way with four wrestlers, while NDSU, Wyoming and Utah Valley all sport three and SDSU finished with one. Three top-six wrestlers are set to compete at the West Regional in No. 3 Cole VonOhlen (149, Air Force), No. 4 Alfonso Hernandez (197, Wyoming) and No. 6 Steven Monk (165, NDSU).

The 125-pound weight class sports the most ranked wrestlers with four and also sports the most qualifying spots with four. Three qualifying spots are allocated for 149 pounds and two are allocated for 157. All other weight classes hold one qualifying spot.

For more information on the West Regional, the competing teams, Saturday's results and other exclusive features, visit Tournament Central via host Wyoming's athletics website.

West Regional Ranked Wrestlers (NCAA Coaches' Rankings)
125 - No. 10 Trent Sprenkle (NDSU), No. 11 Josh Martinez (Air Force), No. 14 Tyler Cox (Wyoming), No. 20 Jade Rauser (Utah Valley)

149 - No. 3 Cole VonOhlen (Air Force), No. 21 Josh Wilson (Utah Valley), No. 29 Dustin Walraven (SDSU)

157 - No. 16 Andy McCulley (Wyoming), No. 17 Josh Kreimier (Air Force)

165 - No. 6 Steven Monk (NDSU)

184 - No. 22 Mac Stoll (NDSU), No. 31 Devin Hightower (Air Force)

197 - No. 4 Alfonso Hernandez (Wyoming)

285 - No. 33 Adam Fager (Utah Valley)

125  pounds (Top four placers receive NCAA automatic bid)
1.       Jade Rauser, Utah Valley
2.       Tyler Cox, Wyoming
3.       Josh Martinez, Air Force
4.       Trent Sprenkle, North Dakota State
5.       Aaron Pickrel, South Dakota State

133 pounds (Winner receives NCAA automatic bid)
1.       Dylan Hyder, Air Force
2.       Josh Rodriguez, North Dakota State
3.       Brance Simms, South Dakota State
4.       Chasen Tolbert, Utah Valley
5.       Kasey Garnhart, Wyoming

141 pounds (Winner receives NCAA automatic bid)
1.       Avery Garner, Utah Valley
2.       Mark Erickson, North Dakota State
3.       McCade Ford, Wyoming
4.       Carter McElhany, Air Force
5.       Ben Gillette, South Dakota State

149 pounds (Top three placers receive NCAA automatic bid)
1.       Cole VonOhlen, Air Force
2.       Josh Wilson, Utah Valley
3.       Dustin Walraven, South Dakota State
4.       Joe Garner, North Dakota State
5.       Brandon Richardson, Wyoming

157 pounds (Top two placers receive NCAA automatic bid)
1.       Josh Kreimier, Air Force
2.       Andy McCulley, Wyoming
3.       Chase Cuthbertson, Utah Valley
4.       Cody Pack, South Dakota State
5.       Tanner Carlisle, North Dakota State

165 pounds (Winner receives NCAA automatic bid)
1.       Steven Monk, North Dakota State
2.       Curtis (Abner) Cook, Utah Valley
3.       Jesse Stafford, Air Force
4.       Joe Brewster, South Dakota State
5.       Dakota Friesth, Wyoming

174 pounds (Winner receives NCAA automatic bid)
1.       L.J. Helbig, Wyoming
2.       Kurtis Julson, North Dakota State
3.       Monte Schmalhaus, Utah Valley
4.       Clay Gable, Air Force
5.       Troy Morisette, South Dakota State

184 pounds (Winner receives NCAA automatic bid)
1.       Mac Stoll, North Dakota State
2.       Devin Hightower, Air Force
3.       Shane Woods, Wyoming
4.       Shea Nolan, South Dakota State
5.       Derek Thomas, Utah Valley

197 pounds (Winner receives NCAA automatic bid)
1.       Alfonso Hernandez, Wyoming
2.       Kallen Kleinschmidt, North Dakota State
3.       David Prieto, Utah Valley
4.       Josh Mohr, Air Force
5.       Joe Skow, South Dakota State

285 pounds (Winner receives NCAA automatic bid)
1.       Adam Fager, Utah Valley
2.       Evan Knutson, North Dakota State
3.       Bentley Alsup, Air Force
4.       J.J. Everard, South Dakota State
5.       Leland Pfeifer, Wyoming

NEXT UP - Qualifiers from the West Regional advance to the NCAA Championships on March 21-23 in Des Moines, Iowa.

- Coach Bono coached the Simpson dual on Jan. 11 barefoot to raise awareness for Samaritan's Feet. Coach Bono is the first wrestling coach to join the movement and is the first Division I coach to participate barefoot in 2013.

The dual preceded Coach Nagy's barefoot men's basketball game on Jan. 26.

"If by me doing this, we can put one pair of shoes on somebody who does not have shoes, then it is worth it," said Bono. "Anything we can do to support the cause, and it is a great one, we are happy to do it."

Samaritan's Feet is a non-profit, humanitarian aid organization and so much more - a community of more than 70,000 volunteers who have joined together to make a difference in the lives of children in need in every corner of the world. Over four million impoverished children and adults in more than 60 nations being served by having their feet washed, receiving a new pair of shoes and hearing a message of hope.

Samaritan's Feet and its team of global ambassadors have touched the lives of men, women and children across the United States and around the world in an effort to help the nearly 300 million people who go without shoes each day and the more than a million who die each year as a result. Through this simple act of humility and servant-leadership, our team members and volunteers are expressing love, compassion, and a message that brings hope.

Nearly 300 million people go without shoes each day and millions are plagued with foot-borne illnesses that may be preventable by simple protection - shoes.

For more information or to donate to Samaritan's Feet visit its website and click on SDSU Wrestling-Coach Bono.

TOP-10 RECRUITING CLASS - Head coach Chris Bono and assistant coaches Israel Silva and Andrew Sorenson announced the signing of the sixth-best recruiting class in the nation (The Open Mat, Amateur Wrestling News).

Eight student-athletes joined the Jackrabbit wrestling team on signing day, including three ranked by Amateur Wrestling News. Brandon Brunner, Hank Goettl, Colin Holler, Coltan Laganiere, Paul Mascarenas, Austin Oyen, Nathan Rotert and Matt Seabold make up the best recruiting class in SDSU history.

The No. 6 ranking makes it the best recruiting class for any sport in the history of Jackrabbit athletics.

The SDSU wrestling coaching staff also announced the addition of Alex Kocer to the Jackrabbit wrestling team.

Kocer is a South Dakota five-time state champion from Wagner, S.D. Kocer won the 152-pound Class B state title as a senior in 2012 en route to an undefeated season (44-0). He first climbed the championship ladder in 2008 at 103 pounds and won three titles between his first and last (2009 at 118 pounds, 2010 at 130 and 2011 at 152).

In effect, Kocer joins next year's recruiting class, already touted as one of the best in the nation (The Open Mat, Amateur Wrestling News).



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