South Dakota State and the wrestling coaching staff announced the addition of Alex Kocer to the Jackrabbit wrestling team.
Kocer is a South Dakota five-time state champion from Wagner, S.D. As a student at SDSU, Kocer was undecided about wrestling at the collegiate level, which changed with the seasons.
"I was not even sure I wanted to wrestle when I first came to school," Kocer said. "Wrestling season came around and I was watching my brother wrestle and I wanted to do it. I talked to Coach Bono, attended a couple duals and Coach Bono lined everything up. He was very helpful throughout the entire process. It was no time and I was practicing again."
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).
"Success ran in the family," said Kocer. "My older brother was a (three-time state champion) and I was raised with state champions. It was a dynasty of sorts. I hated losing, worked hard, tried my best and was able to win."
Kocer finished his career as one of three five-time state champions, one title behind Kirk Wallman and Logan Storley for most in a prep career. And while success is one reason for his return, the coaching staff provided another reason.
"(Coach Bono) is a great guy," Kocer said. "You know you are going to work hard because he wants you to be on the winning side. He is a good coach and very relational. The entire coaching staff is a positive."
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).
Eight student-athletes joined the Jackrabbit wrestling team on signing day in November, 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 is the best recruiting class for any sport in the history of Jackrabbit athletics.
"I started recently and do not know everyone on the team, so I am not sure what to expect," said Kocer. "All I know is I want to make it to the NCAA Championships, both individually and as a team."
Kocer is projected to wrestle at 149 or 157 pounds.