Berge repeats, four other Jacks in quarters

GENEVA, Ohio — South Dakota State wrestler Bennett Berge is headed back to the U20 World Championships in freestyle after winning the 86-kilogram division during competition Saturday at SPIRE Institute.

A native of Mantorville, Minnesota, Berge swept a best-of-three series against Brayden Thompson of the Cowboy Regional Training Series by scores of 6-2 (VPO1) and 10-0 (VSU, 1:35). Berge secured a spot in the finals after winning the U.S. Open in late April in Las Vegas.

The U20 World Championships are slated for Aug. 14-20 in Warsaw, Poland. Berge earned a silver medal at the 2022 U20 World Championships last summer in Bulgaria.

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SDSU wrestlers to compete in Ohio

About a dozen South Dakota State University wrestlers are scheduled to compete at the 2023 U23 Nationals and U20 World Team Trials this weekend in Geneva, Ohio.

Competition begins Friday and runs through Sunday at Spire Institute. Coverage of the event will be available through

The majority of Jackrabbit wrestlers will be competing in the freestyle division of the U23 Nationals, with Spencer Trenary entered in both freestyle and Greco-Roman competition.

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New Bison wrestling coach continues to blaze his own trail

Former world-class athlete Obe Blanc is the first Black head coach in NDSU athletics history

FARGO — The competitive wrestling career of Obenson Blanc was on an impressive path to the Olympic Games, just falling short of that goal when he was named an alternate to the 2012 U.S. team at the London Games. He was a two-time U.S. Open and World Team Trials champion before running out of steam and a coaching career came calling.

He didn’t go looking for it; coaching came to him. Today, at 38 years old, he finds himself a head coach for the first time, being named to the position about a month ago at North Dakota State.

In the process, Blanc became what is believed to be the first Black head coach in NDSU athletics history and, like getting into the profession in the first place, he didn’t go looking for it. It came to him. But he’s well aware of the significance from an overall university perspective, saying just his presence on the sideline “helps take that barrier in their mind away by visually seeing it.”

“I don’t know if it’s as important to me as it perhaps might be to other people,” Blanc said. “For me, I’ve never looked at it that way. I’m not saying there might be some different ceilings and stuff, I’m sure there are, but I’ve just never really had that kind of notion. Be smart and position yourself well, educate yourself and go chase what you want. I’ve never seen my color being a limitation.” Continue reading at →

Dragon Wrestling Camp Featuring Hayden Zillmer Slated for July 26-28

MOORHEAD, Minn. — MSU Moorhead wrestling will host its annual wrestling camp beginning on July 26 with the camp concluding on July 28. Former North Dakota State standout Hayden Zillmer will be the lead clinician for the camp.

Hayden Zillmer was a member of the USA World Team at 125 kg men’s freestyle in 2022. In September of 2022, Zillmer competed in the Senior World Championships in Belgrade, Serbia. Zillmer had previously made the US Senior National Teams in both freestyle and Greco-Roman. He is from Crosby, Minn., and was an All-American at North Dakota State.

The camp is available for those entering third grade through 12th grade. Wrestlers will develop their skills in folkstyle wrestling, concentrating on the top, bottom, and neutral positions. Continue reading at →

Power wrestling programs poaching Bison standouts with deep NIL pockets

NDSU All-Americans Jared Franek, Michael Caliendo may be on the move with better offers from bigger programs

There are 78 Division I universities across the country that have a wrestling program. From now until the life of the NCAA’s name, image, likeness stipulation, North Dakota State will forever be at the mercy of a select several.

There are two ways around it: Either the Bison have to adopt some sort of NIL collective or the NIL somehow gets severely restricted with a salary cap of sorts. We give you two examples: Jared Franek and Michael Caliendo.

They are the best 1-2 punch NDSU has put together in a long time and both are now in the NCAA transfer portal because the money that a few schools are putting in front of them will most likely be too hard to pass up. It is believed both are being wooed with six-figure offers; Franek for his final year of eligibility and Caliendo over the course of his final three years.

Welcome to the mid-major head coaching world, Obe Blanc. The former Bison assistant was elevated earlier this month after Roger Kish took a similar position at Oklahoma and for his first head coaching job, Blanc gets the torture of dealing with NIL as a school that doesn’t have it. Continue reading at →