TULSA, Okla. (NDSU Athletics) -- North Dakota State 133-pounder Cam Sykora became the program’s first-ever Big 12 Conference champion and 165 Andrew Fogarty was runner-up for the third straight season to highlight the second day of the Big 12 Conference Wrestling Championships on Sunday, March 8, in the BOK Center. NDSU placed fifth with 90.5 points in the team standings and recorded its highest point total in five trips.
Sykora, a redshirt senior from Wheaton, Minn., won the title with a 5-4 decision over Northern Colorado’s Mosha Schwartz. Sykora gained a takedown with 1:06 left in the first period for a 2-0 lead and went up 3-0 on an escape to start the second.
However, Schwartz countered with a pair of takedowns and Sykora escaped twice to make it 5-4. A challenge took a Sykora takedown with 10-seconds left in the second. The wrestlers battled through a scoreless third. Sykora went 3-0 at the tournament and improved to 17-4 overall. He had an 11-5 Big 12 tournament record.
Fogarty, a redshirt senior from Jordan, Minn., dropped an 8-4 decision to Oklahoma State’s Travis Wittlake. Wittlake came up with a takedown in each period and led 7-2 in the third. Fogarty rallied with a reversal to cut the deficit to 7-4 with 30-seconds left. Wittlake picked up a point for riding time.
Fogarty went 2-1 at the tournament and stands at 21-4 overall. He was 8-6 in four Big 12 tournaments.
Nine Bison placed in the top eight overall. Joining Sykora and Fogarty are third place 157 Jared Franek, fourth place 141 Dylan Droegemueller, true sixth place 197 Cordell Eaton, sixth place 125 McGwire Midkiff, seventh place Brandon Metz, and eight place 149 Jaden Van Maanen and 174 Luke Weber.
And North Dakota State has six automatic qualifiers to the NCAA tournament – 133 Sykora, 141 Droegemueller, 157 Franek, 165 Fogarty, 197 Eaton and 285 Metz. Sykora and Fogarty will make their fourth trip to the NCAA tournament, while Droegemueller, Franek, Eaton and Metz will each make their first appearance.
The NCAA field, 33 wrestlers in each weight class, will be announced Tuesday afternoon. The bracket and seeding will be announced during the NCAA Selection Show on NCAA.com at 5 p.m. Central Time Wednesday. The NCAA tournament is scheduled for March 19-21 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. Three of the Bison qualifiers are from Minnesota – Droegemueller, Fogarty and Sykora.
Oklahoma State won its eighth straight Big 12 Conference wrestling championship and 17th overall.