FARGO, N.D. (SDSU) — The final dual meet of the season for the South Dakota State wrestling team came down to the final match. When all was said and done Sunday afternoon at Bentson Bunker Fieldhouse, heavyweight A.J. Nevills came out victorious to lift the 17th-ranked Jackrabbits to a 19-17, back-and-forth victory over rival and No. 15 North Dakota State.

In retaining the Border Bell traveling trophy, the Jackrabbits completed the dual slate with a 12-4 overall record, including a 6-2 mark against Big 12 Conference opponents. NDSU dropped to 11-3 overall and 6-2 in the Big 12.

While Nevills’ victory was the eventual match-winner, 133-pounder Derrick Cardinal came up with perhaps the biggest win for the Jackrabbits on the day. A redshirt freshman from Forest Lake, Minnesota, Cardinal recorded a takedown early in overtime for a 5-3 sudden victory over 33rd-ranked McGwire Midkiff.

Cardinal’s victory was part of a 10-0 advantage the Jackrabbits built up through the first three matches. Tanner Jordan opened the dual with a 9-0 major decision over Ryan Henningson in the opening bout at 125 pounds and 11th-ranked Clay Carlson followed Cardinal’s win with a 7-4 decision over Gavin Drexler in the 141-pound matchup.

SDSU weathered the storm presented by the Bison in the middle weights despite shuffling its lineup at a few weight classes. NDSU grabbed a 14-10 lead as nationally ranked Kellyn March, Jared Franek and Michael Caliendo all were victorious, with Franek posting a technical fall at 157 pounds and Caliendo winning by fall at 165 pounds over Jackrabbit backups Caleb Gross and Connor Gaynor, respectively.

Cade DeVos ended the Bison winning streak with a 7-4 decision over Gaven Sax in the 174-pound matchup, but NDSU stayed in the lead at 17-13 after D.J. Parker’s 4-2 victory over Jackrabbit freshman Bennett Berge at 184 pounds. With his victory, DeVos reached the 20-win mark.

That left the fate of the dual for the Jackrabbits in the hands of Tanner Sloan and Nevills, who entered Sunday’s matchup with a combined record of 26-1 in duals this season. Matched up against No. 11 Owen Pentz, the ninth-ranked Sloan scored on an early takedown and maintained the momentum for much of the 197-pound bout in posting an 8-2 decision for his 20th win of the season.

Nevills also recorded an early takedown in his match against Juan Mora and added two more takedowns in cruising to an 8-3 decision.

In other action Sunday, Cody Donnelly and Roman Rogotzke each placed in the top three of the 197-pound weight class during competition at the Last Chance Open in Ames, Iowa.

Donnelly went 2-1 on the day en route to a runner-up finish. After receiving a first-round bye, he won his next two matches by fall against Fernando Villaescusa (Iowa State) and Gabe Nagel (Minnesota) to set up a title bout against Max Shaw of North Carolina. In the championship match, Shaw came away with an 8-4 decision.

Rogotzke was upended by Shaw, 11-5, in the semifinals, but went on to claim third place with a 3-1 record.

The Jackrabbits will turn their attention to postseason tournament action, starting with the Big 12 Wrestling Championship March 4-5 at the BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

125: #29 Tanner Jordan (SDSU) major dec. Ryan Henningson (NDSU), 9-0
133: Derrick Cardinal (SDSU) dec. #33 McGwire Midkiff (NDSU), 5-3 [SV-1}
141: #11 Clay Carlson (SDSU) dec. Gavin Drexler (NDSU), 7-4
149: #16 Kellyn March (NDSU) dec. Alek Martin (SDSU), 10-9
157: #2 Jared Franek (NDSU) tech. fall Caleb Gross (SDSU), 21-6 [4:39]
165: #8 Michael Caliendo (NDSU) def. Connor Gaynor (SDSU), by fall 5:30
174: #14 Cade DeVos (SDSU) dec. Gaven Sax (NDSU), 7-4
184: #28 D.J. Parker (NDSU) dec. Bennett Berge (SDSU), 4-2
197: #9 Tanner Sloan (SDSU) dec. #11 Owen Pentz (NDSU), 8-2
285: #12 A.J. Nevills (SDSU) dec. Juan Mora (NDSU), 8-3


  • NDSU leads the all-time series, 45-25-1, although the Jackrabbits have won the last two meetings and six of the last 10
  • Sloan completed the dual season 14-0 and ran his overall record to 20-1 with his 17th consecutive victory
  • Sloan also completed an undefeated dual slate during the 2020-21 season (11-0) and ran his career dual record to 49-4
  • Nevills closed the dual season with a 14-1 record
  • DeVos is a combined 50-15 over the past two seasons, while Carlson moved to 50-13
  • Attendance was a sellout crowd of 1,154