Twas an impressive weekend for the NDSU wrestling team. North Dakota State is sending six wrestlers through to the NCAA Championships, and 133 Cam Sykora was crowned Big 12 champion. The Bison looked strong start to finish, winning the matches they were supposed to, and even some they weren’t. Seeded third, Sykora scored his first win in four tries over Wyoming’s Montorie Bridges in Saturday evening’s semifinals, and then tipped Northern Colorado’s Mosha Schwartz 5-4 in the finals for NDSU’s first individual championship since joining the Big 12 five years ago. Sykora has set himself up nicely headed into the NCAA championships. The four-time NCAA qualifier should be seeded somewhere in the ten range with an eye on becoming the first Bison All American since Hayden Zillmer an Kurtis Julson both got it done in 2015.
Maybe more impressive than Sykora’s run was that of unseeded 141 Dylan Droegemueller. Droegemueller, a Redshrit Freshman from Champlin, MN, entered the tournament unseeded and dropped his first bout to eventual champion Ian Parker of Iowa State. From there, Droegemueller ran together three backside wins in a row before falling 6-4 to Oklahoma State’s Dusty Hone. With the top five qualifying for NCAA’s at the weight, Droegemueller is headed home for nationals next weekend.
NDSU senior Andrew Fogarty lost his final attempt at a Big 12 championship 8-4 to Oklahoma State star freshman Travis Wittlake. Fogarty finishes his Big 12 career a three-time finalist. Like Sykora, Fogarty should be seeded somewhere around ten next week at the NCAA championships.
Freshman Jared Franek rebounded from a frustrating semifinal loss and took third. Franek defeated Jacob Wright of Fresno State 7-4 before upending Justin Thomas of Oklahoma 4-2.
It was a wild tournament for 197 Cordell Eaton, but ultimately Eaton won his true sixth place match and secured his first trip to the NCAA tournament. Seeded eighth, Eaton needed wins over Tanner Orndorff of Utah Valley and Stephen Buchanan of Wyoming to earn his spot. Both Orndorff and and Buchanan had previously beaten Eaton this season.
285 Brandon Metz had the lightest Sunday of all the Bison. Metz spent 1:44 on the mat before pinning Blake Wolters of South Dakota State in the seventh place match and qualifying for the national tournament.
|4||South Dakota State||94.0|
|5||North Dakota State||90.5|