Homegrown Talent: Local Bison Wrestlers prepare for National Championship
FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - For the third consecutive season, a pair of NDSU wrestlers who the bison found in their own back yard qualified to compete on their sports biggest stage. West Fargo Graduates Jared Franek and Brandon Metz will be wrestling in the National Championships in Detroit.
“I’m super excited, this is my third time getting the full NCAA prep.” said Metz, “It’s nothing I’m unfamiliar with which is nice to have that feeling. So I’m just excited to go out with a bang.”
“You’ve got to be ready, all three days, every match, one at a time.” Franek said about getting ready for another tournament trip. “My preparation really hasn’t changed. Just really really focused and ready to execute on what I’ve been working on all year.”
Franek finished the Big 12 Wrestlers as the runner up at 157 pounds. After qualifying for the eventually-cancelled 2020 tournament, and falling just sort of the semi-finals in last year’s event, he’s looking forward to another shot.
“I lost those critical moments, those takedowns that would have changed the whole match.” Franek said about his tournament tenure a year ago. “This year I’ve just got to capitalize on the moment and wrestle every second of every match.”
Metz is a senior competing in the heavyweight bracket.. Set to compete in his final tournament as a member of his hometown team.
“It’s definitely weighed on my mind, where I’m like, oh this is the last this last that.” Metz said. “It sucks having that last thought but it kind of makes you excited to want to show out and show all your years of hard work and your heart. And do right by you.”
Both wrestlers are also thankful for the community support, something you can hear a little bit louder when their homegrown grapplers step onto the mat.
“Just running into people you don’t really know that well, asking you how you’re doing, just because they have that sense of connection with you because you’re from here and represent something that’s nearby to them, and they care.” said Metz.
“Representing them and the state of North Dakota is really awesome. To be home here, that’s what keeps me motivated. I want to do it for everyone who has had my back since I was young.” added Franek.
These two with a chance to become the first ever National Champion Bison wrestlers at the D-1 level.
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