ST. LOUIS – Seth Gross' quest to become the first South Dakota State wrestler to win an individual Division I national title came up a point short against Iowa's Cory Clark, 4-3, Saturday night at the NCAA Wrestling Championships at the Scottrade Center.
The second-seeded Gross scored the first points of the match on a takedown with about a minute to go in the opening period. Clark escaped late in the period and evened the score at 2-all with another escape midway through the second period.
Gross held a riding-time advantage of 1 minute, 19 seconds at the start of the third period and took a 3-2 lead in the first 10 seconds of the decisive period with an escape.
However, Clark came up with what turned out to be the winning takedown midway through the third period and rode out the remainder of the match for the 4-3 victory.
A three-time finalist, Clark won his first national title and finished an injury-plagued season with a 20-3 record.
Gross, a sophomore from Apple Valley, Minn., ended the season 34-2 overall while making his second appearance at the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships.
In action Saturday morning, the Jackrabbits' other All-American, Alex Kocer, completed his tournament run with an eighth-place finish.
A senior from Wagner, Kocer lost by fall in the first period to 15th-seeded Kenny Theobold of Rutgers in the seventh-place match. Kocer defeated three seeded wrestlers en route to finishing the three-day meet with a 3-3 record. He ended the season with a 30-11 record and completed his Jackrabbit career as a three-time NCAA qualifier and tied for 14th on the SDSU career victories list with a 96-44 overall record.
SDSU finished 16th in the team standings with 28.5 points. With a record-tying five individual national champions, Penn State won the team title with 146.5 points, followed by Ohio State (110) and Oklahoma State (103). Iowa took fourth with 97 points, while Missouri rounded out the top five with 86.5 points.
TEAM STANDINGS (Top 20)
197: #1 J'Den Cox (Missouri) dec. #2 Brett Pfarr (Minnesota), 8-2. 285: #1 Kyle Snyder (Ohio State) dec. #2 Connor Medbery (Wisconsin), 6-3. 125: #4 Darian Cruz (Lehigh) dec. #6 Ethan Lizak (Minnesota), 6-3. 133: #4 Cory Clark (Iowa) dec. #2 Seth Gross (South Dakota State), 4-3. 141: #1 Dean Heil (Oklahoma State) dec. #6 George DiCamillo (Virginia), 6-3. 149: #1 Zain Retherford (Penn State) tech. fall #3 Lavion Mayes (Missouri), 18-2 [6:43]. 157: #1 Jason Nolf (Penn State) major dec. #3 Joey Lavallee (Missouri), 14-6. 165: #3 Vincenzo Joseph (Penn State) def. #1 Isaiah Martinez (Illinois), by fall 5:26. 174: #5 Mark Hall (Penn State) dec. #3 Bo Jordan (Ohio State), 5-2. 184: #2 Bo Nickal (Penn State) dec. #1 Gabe Dean (Cornell), 4-3.