A strong group of young Bison showed up in Las Vegas for the UWW Junior Freestyle nationals and made a statement about the future of the program. Three Bison: Paul Bianchi (57 KG), Jaden Van Maanen (70 KG), and Brandon Metz (125 KG) went undefeated today and advanced to tomorrow morning’s semifinal round. Bianchi, a Wisconsin native who held down the 125 pound spot for the Bison as a freshman this season, recorded four consecutive technical fall victories and will wrestle Malik Heinselman in the semifinals. Heinselman could to step into the 125 role for Ohio state as a true freshman next season. Van Maanen advanced to the semifinals unseeded with wins over multiple seeded wrestlers including a 12-2 victory over former Cadet World Champion Jared Verkleeren of the Nittany Lion Wrestling Club. Van Maanen will wrestle another Penn State redshirt, Minnesota prep standout Brady Berge, in tomorrow’s semifinal round. Coming off a third place finish in the Greco portion of the tournament, West Fargo product Brandon Metz advanced to the semis with relative ease and will see his first test tomorrow against #2 ranked high school heavyweight Seth Nevills. Neville is headed to Penn State in the fall.
Also alive for the Bison in the wrestlebacks are McGwire Midkiff, Gavin Sutton, Jared Franek, and Nicholas Knutson. Wrestling at 70 KG, North Dakota 4X state champion Franek lost his lone match of the day 5-0 to North Carolina redshirt Austin O’Connor. Franek the dominated four backside matches in a row by combined score of 46-3.
Wrestling begins tomorrow at 11:00 AM CT.