NDSU Wrestling Edges Wyoming

By  | 

NDSU Athletics North Dakota State University 125-pounder Josh Rodriguez recorded his second straight overtime win over a ranked opponent, and 141 Mitch Bengtson and 149 Clay Ream each recorded pins as the Bison defeated 18th-ranked Wyoming 22-21 on criteria Sunday, Feb. 1, before 504 fans at the University of Wyoming Sports Complex.

NDSU, which has won six straight duals, improves to 7-3 overall and 3-0 in the WWC. The Cowboys drop to 7-3 overall and 3-1 in the WWC. The Bison are scheduled to host Utah Valley University (2-6, 1-1 WWC) at 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 7, at the Bentson Bunker Fieldhouse.

"It was a hard-fought dual against a talented and experienced team," said NDSU head coach Roger Kish.

"We're getting better every week. We're a different team than we were in November and December. The energy has been picking up for us and that's what we've been seeing in the wrestling room."

Rodriguez, a sophomore from Guadalupe, Calif. (Righetti H.S.), defeated 13th-ranked Tyler Cox 9-7 in tiebreaker-3 overtime. After a scoreless first period, Rodriguez recorded a takedown and near fall, while Cox countered with a pair of escapes and a takdown.The third period saw Rodriguez gain a takedown, but Cox rallied with an escape and a point awarded on NDSU stalling.

The wrestlers were scoreless after the first OT period, and then each gained an escape for a 7-7 draw after a pair 30-second periods. Rodriguez recorded a near fall with 17-seconds left in the fifth and held off Cox in the third tie-breaker. Rodriguez' win put the Bison ahead 21-17 heading into the final match.

Rodriguez, who entered the weekend ranked 20th, posted back-to-back overtime wins over 9th-ranked Josh Martinez of Air Force and the 13th-ranked Cox. He has won nine of his last 11 matches to improve to 14-5 overall and 9-1 in dual action. Rodriguez is 4-3 against nationally-ranked opponents this season.

"Josh (Rodriguez) had a little adversity. He was able to battle through it and get the win," said Kish.

The dual started at 141 pounds where North Dakota State redshirt freshman Mitch Bengtson (St. Cloud, Minn.) started things with a fall over Wyoming's Cole Mendenhall at 4:54. Bengtson recorded his team-leading ninth pin. He is now 19-9 overall and 7-3 in duals.

NDSU redshirt freshman Clay Ream (Wentzville, Mo.) followed with a fall over the Cowboys' Jake Elliott at the 5:50 mark to extend the Bison lead to 12-0. Ream, who has won 8 of his last 10 matches, improved to 20-9 overall and 9-1 in duals. He has seven pins on the season.

"Both Mitch (Bengtson) and Clay (Ream) came out strong, stayed composed and were able to capitalize. They came out and scored big points for us," said Kish.

Host Wyoming rallied to take a 13-12 lead after five matches with a pair of tech falls and a decision. At 157, Archie Colgan dispatched NDSU redshirt freshman Grant Nehring (Kimball, Minn.) 16-0 at 2:08, while 20th-ranked Dakota Friesth recorded a 18-2 tech fall at 6:12 over redshirt freshman Trevour Chavez (Bethel, Alaska) at 165. NDSU 174-pound senior Kurtis Julson (Inver Grove Heights, Minn.) lost a 4-1 decision to the Cowboys' 15th-ranked Andy McCulley.

The teams went back and forth over the next three bouts. North Dakota State's 9th-ranked 184-pound junior Hayden Zillmer (Crosby, Minn.) started slow with a scoreless first period against 19th-ranked Ben Stroh, but built a 4-2 lead after two and posted a 10-4 decision. Zillmer improved to 26-4 overall and has won all 10 dual matches this season.

Wyoming's 17th-ranked 197-pounder Shane Woods recorded a 12-1 major decision over redshirt freshman Tommy Petersen (Lakeville, Minn.), while NDSU's 15th-ranked Evan Knutson (Wausau, Wis.) held off Tanner Harms for a 6-4 decision at 285. That win put the Bison ahead 18-17 heading into the 125 bout. Knutson improved to 20-7 overall and 8-2 in duals this season.

The Cowboys tied things at 21-all at 133 pounds where Drew Templeman posted a 10-2 major decision over sophomore Hunter Weber (Marshall, Wis.).