North Dakota State 19, South Dakota State 13

NDSU Wins Western Wrestling Conference Regular Season Title with 19-13 Victory at SDSU

BROOKINGS, S.D.–North Dakota State University won three of the final four matches to defeat host South Dakota State University 19-13 and claim its second Western Wrestling Conference regular season championship over the past three years on Sunday, Feb. 22, before 956 spectators at Frost Arena.

NDSU finishes the regular season with a 9-4 overall dual record including an unblemished 5-0 mark in the WWC.

“For us to be on the road, our guys came out and were up for the challenge,” said NDSU head coach Roger Kish.

“I’m really proud of our guys, how they performed and competed. At the end of the day, it’s just a stepping stone on what we want to do in the long run and prepare for the conference tournament.”

South Dakota State (11-8, 3-2 WWC) had taken a 10-9 lead after winning back-to-back matches. Colin Holler posted a 16-7 major decision over NDSU redshirt freshman Mitchell Friedman at 157 pounds, while SDSU’s No. 7-ranked Cody Pack struggled past Bison redshirt sophomore Steven Keogh by the score of 8-5 at 165. The Jackrabbits moved Pack up a weight class on Sunday.

North Dakota State found itself in a similar situation in mid-December and again 174-pound senior Kurtis Julson (Inver Grove Heights, Minn.) steadied the ship. Julson was tied with David Kocer 1-1, but landed a takedown with 1:35 left in the third period and used 1-minute, 22-seconds of riding time for a 4-1 decision to put the Bison on top for good at 12-10. Julson is 16-9 overall and ended 8-5 in duals.

Then NDSU’s 9th-ranked 184 Hayden Zillmer (Crosby, Minn.) came out and registered five takedowns to race out to a 10-4 first period lead. Zillmer kept the pressure on, building the advantage to 15-5 after two periods and posted a 21-7 major decision. Zillmer improved to 29-4 overall and finished the 13-0 in duals.

While 197 redshirt freshman Tommy Petersen fell 8-2 to Nate Rotert, NDSU’s other senior, 285-pound Evan Knutson (Wausau, Wis.) closed the door with a convincing 5-0 win over J.J. Everard. He broke a 0-0 early in the second with an escape and posted a takedown with 22-seconds left in that period to build a 3-0 lead. Stalling and riding time added to the lead. Knutson is now 23-7, finishing 11-2 in duals.

North Dakota State won three of the dual’s first four matches. No. 16-ranked Josh Rodriguez (Guadalupe, Calif.) posted a 7-2 decision at 125-pounds, while redshirt freshmen, 141 Mitch Bengtson (St. Cloud, Minn.) and 149 Clay Ream (Wentzville, Mo.) grinded out two-point decisions in their respective weight classes.

Next up for both teams is the Western Wrestling Conference Championships on March 7 in Fargo.

#24 North Dakota State 19, South Dakota State 13
125: #16 Josh Rodriguez (NDSU) over Isaac Andrade (SDSU), Dec 7-2 / NDSU 3-0
133: Brance Simms (SDSU) over Kyle Gliva (NDSU), Dec 7-4 / Tied 3-3
141: Mitch Bengtson (NDSU) over Lucas Zilverberg (SDSU), Dec 5-3 / NDSU 6-3
149: Clay Ream (NDSU) over Alex Kocer (SDSU), Dec 7-5 / NDSU 9-3
157: Colin Holler (SDSU) over Mitchell Friedman (NDSU), MD 16-7 / NDSU 9-7
165: #7 Cody Pack (SDSU) over Steven Keogh (NDSU), Dec 8-5 / SDSU 10-9
174: Kurtis Julson (NDSU) over David Kocer (SDSU), Dec 4-1 / NDSU 12-10
184: #9 Hayden Zillmer (NDSU) over Brady Ayers (SDSU), MD 21-7 / NDSU 16-10
197: Nathan Rotert (SDS) over Tommy Petersen (NDSU), Dec 8-2 / NDSU 16-13
285: #12 Evan Knutson (NDSU) over J.J. Everard (SDSU), Dec 5-0 / NDSU 19-13

Dual started at 125 pounds
Attendance – 956
Referee—Keith Poolman

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