With it’s performance at the Big 12 championships, North Dakota State has qualified four wrestlers to the NCAA championships beginning March 15 in Cleveland, OH. Paul Bianchi (125), Cam Sykora (133), Clay Ream (157), and Andrew Fogarty (165) placed high enough in their respective weight classes to advance. Bianchi, an redshirt freshman from Two Rivers, WI, needed to win a seventh place bout over Sean Williams of Fresno State to qualify. Williams had beaten Bianchi 10-6 in the first round of the tournament, and scored the first takedown of the qualifying match for an early 2-0 lead. From there, Bianchi scored three takedowns and racked up nearly three minutes of riding time for a 9-6 victory. Needing to finish in fifth place to qualify, Sykora started the morning with a disappointing 6-2 loss to West Virginia’s Matt Schmitt. In the win or go home fifth place match, Sykora scorded a 17-2 technical fall victory over Rico Montoya of Northern Colorado. Sykora also qualified for the NCAA championships at 133 last season.
The Bison will have to wait another season to get their first Big 12 champion, as both Ream and Fogarty lost tight bouts came up just short and finished second. Ream battled Wyoming’s Archie Colgan for seven minutes, but fell by 4-3 decision on the strength of Colgan’s full value takedown and ride out to end the second period. Ream scored a takedown of his own in the third and pushed hard for another, but it wasn’t enough. Ream is now a 4X NCAA qualifier and 2X Big 12 runner-up. Andrew Fogarty handed Oklahoma State All American Chandler Rogers a 6-0 lead before battling back hard and ultimately falling 12-9.
NDSU 285 Dan Stibral finished fifth, but did not qualify for the NCAA championships as the weight class was only allotted qualifiers to the top three finishers. Stibral and the rest of the Bison that didn’t qualify will wait for the release of wild card bids this week as a last chance for qualification..