BROOKINGS, SD Sometimes it takes a while to get a grasp on things, something Tanner Sloan learned as he got into wrestling growing up in Iowa.
"Started when I was four and my parents and family just kind of threw me into it and it just kind of took off from there. Escalated from little kids tournaments to traveling to national tournaments and to high school winning a couple of state titles." SDSU Freshman Tanner Sloan says.
And something new South Dakota State wrestling coach Damion Hahn figured out when he inherited the incoming freshman from the previous staff.
"Cody Caldwell we kept here. I remember Cody saying hey listen, we gotta get this kid." Hahn says.
That's because with Tanner, it's all about his grip!
"He looks like just another guy coming out. But the second he puts his hands on you you're like woah! His hands are huge. He's got something that other people don't have." Hahn says.
"I feel like people don't like to wrestle me because I'm kind of relentless. I'm pretty offensive." Tanner says.
Though Jackrabbit fans didn't see that in Sloan's freshman year when he redshirted, Tanner would open plenty of eyes in the summer.
"Got second at US Open and then win world team trials. And then travel to Pan-Am's and Worlds. Kind of just a snow ball effect." Sloan says.
"He got on everybodies radar and they were like, who is this Tanner Sloan?" Hahn says.
And that carried over to his first full season at SDSU. Wrestling at 197 pounds, Sloan went 21-6 and rose to 9th in the national rankings, finishing runner-up in the Big 12 Tournament, and helping the Jackrabbits go from three dual wins to 12.
"He wasn't a big recruit coming out of high school. He keeps his head down and works hard." Hahn says.
Tanner will have to wait another year for another shot at the NCAA Championships....
"The goal is to be a national champ before it's all said and done." Sloan says.
"He has all the things to make a career. And something special." Hahn says.
....when he'll get a chance to grab hold of a national title.
In Brookings, Zach Borg, Dakota News Now Sports.