gobison.com No. 4-ranked University of Minnesota reeled off six straight victories and seven of the first eight to defeat No. 23 North Dakota State University in an EAS Sports Nutrition/NWCA National Duals Regional held Sunday, Feb. 15, in front of a sold crowd of 1,465 at the Bentson Bunker Fieldhouse.
North Dakota State (8-4 overall, 4-0 Western Wrestling Conference) is scheduled to face South Dakota State University (11-7, 3-1 WWC) in Brookings, S.D. Minnesota (12-2, 7-2 Big Ten) travels to Iowa City on Feb. 21-22 for the EAS Sports Nutrition/NWCA National Duals Championships.
"It was a great turnout. There were a lot of Bison fans that came out. There were a lot of Gopher fans who came out. It was standing room only today, a great atmosphere for these guys and I think they performed hard. It was good to wrestle in front of this crowd. I think this experience will benefit us down the road," said North Dakota State head coach Roger Kish.
"For the most part, I think it was a hard-fought dual. I think Minnesota really exposed some of our weaknesses and that's why we wrestle these duals. Our guys stood toe-to-toe, I thought, and battled with them for the most part. There may have been a couple matches where we were outmatched, but I was really pleased with a lot of our young athletes to be able to step up, wrestle in front of this crowd and compete the way they did."
No. 5-ranked Scott Schiller (West Fargo, N.D.) opened the dual with a 12-3 major decision over Bison redshirt freshman Tommy Petersen (Lakeville, Minn.) to put the Gophers ahead 4-0.
North Dakota State 285-pound senior Evan Knutson (Wausau, Wis.) recorded an escape with one-second left in the third period to edge Minnesota's 13th-ranked Michael Kroells 4-3. The 15th-ranked Knutson posted his first career win over Kroells in four tries. He improved to 22-7 overall, 10-2 in duals and 3-5 against nationally-ranked opponents.
The Gophers started their roll at 125-pounds where freshman Ethan Lizak posted a 2-1 decision over 13th-ranked Josh Rodriguez (Guadalupe, Calif.) after racking up 1:25 of riding time. Rodriguez drops to 14-7 overall and 9-3 in duals.
Chris Dardanes, the nation's top-ranked wrestler at 133 pounds, recorded an 11-6 decision over NDSU redshirt freshman Kyle Gliva (Inver Grove Heights, Minn.), while his brother, 4th-ranked Nick Dardanes defeated Mitch Bengtson (St. Cloud, Minn.) at 141 by the score of 10-4 and put Minnesota on top 13-3. Gliva fell to 5-9 overall and 0-5 in duals, while Bengtson is 20-10 and 8-4.
At 149-pounds, Minnesota's Jake Short jumped out to an 6-0 lead and posted a 10-5 decision over Bison redshirt freshman Clay Ream (Wentzville, Mo.). Top-ranked Dylan Ness recorded the lone Minnesota pin, at 1:11 over NDSU redshirt freshman Mitchell Friedman (Oconto Falls, Wis.) to make the score 22-3. No. 17-ranked 165-pound Nick Wanzek posted an 11-3 major decision over NDSU's Steven Keogh (Thief River Falls, Minn.).
North Dakota State 174-pound senior Kurtis Julson (Inver Grove Heights, Minn.) overcame an early 2-1 deficit to take control in the third period. Julson used an escape, recorded a takedown and received a point for riding time to post a 5-2 decision over Jordan Rothers. Julson improved to 15-9 overall and 7-5 in duals.
The final match featured a pair of nationally-ranked wrestlers in NDSU's 9th-ranked Hayden Zillmer (Crosby, Minn.) and Minnesota's 13th-ranked Brett Pfarr, who squared off for the third time this season. Zillmer defeated Pfarr 6-4 in overtime at the Bison Open in November and 2-1 at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational in December.
Pfarr opened with a takedown in the first period and built over two-minutes of riding time until Zillmer gained an escape in the second period. Trailing 3-1 in the third, Zillmer recorded a pair of takedowns and was awarded a penalty point on stalling to edge Pfarr 6-5.
"I expected it to be a good fight, but I didn't expect to be taken down right away and then get rode for the first two minutes or whatever it was," said Zillmer.
"I'm pretty confident in myself at the end of matches. I won both of the previous matches against him like that. I try to stay positive all the way through, even if there is 10-seconds left."
Zillmer, who improved to 9-4 against nationally-ranked opponents, upped his record to 28-4 overall and 12-0 in duals.
#4 Minnesota 26, #23 North Dakota State 9
197: #5 Scott Schiller (MINN) over Tommy Petersen (NDSU), MD 12-3 / Minnesota 4-0
285: #15 Evan Knutson (NDSU) over #13 Michael Kroells (MINN), Dec 4-3 / Minnesota 4-3
125: Ethan Lizak (MINN) over #13 Josh Rodriguez (NDSU), Dec 2-1 / Minnesota 7-3
133: #1 Chris Dardanes (MINN) over Kyle Gliva (NDSU), Dec 11-6 / Minnesota 10-3
141: #4 Nick Dardanes (MINN) over Mitch Bengtson (NDSU), Dec 10-4 / Minnesota 13-3
149: Jake Short (MINN) over Clay Ream (NDSU), Dec 10-5 / Minnesota 16-3
157: #1 Dylan Ness (MINN) over Mitchell Friedman (NDSU), Fall 1:11 / Minnesota 22-3
165: #17 Nick Wanzek (MINN) over Steven Keogh (NDSU), MD 11-3 / Minnesota 26-3
174: Kurtis Julson (NDSU) over Jordan Rothers (MINN), Dec 5-2 / Minnesota 26-6
184: #9 Hayden Zillmer (NDSU) over #13 Brett Pfarr (MINN), Dec 6-5 / Minnesota 26-9
Dual started at 197 pounds
Officials— Rick Fink, Keith Poolman