FARGO, N.D. – North Dakota State will compete in the NCAA West Regional on Sunday, March 6 in Colorado Springs, Colo. The NCAA West Regional serves as the national qualifying tournament for the Western Wrestling Conference. Action begins at the Clune Fieldhouse at 11 a.m. Central Time. The finals will be at 6 p.m. CT. The finals will be live streamed free on GoAirForceFalcons.com. The NCAA allocated 15 automatic qualifying spots to the West Regional based on Division I winning percentage, coaches’ panel rankings and RPI.
NCAA West Regional Preview
The Bison will look to improve on last year’s third place finish at the West Regional. Senior Vince Salminen will look to defend his 157 pound title and head back to the NCAA Championships for the second straight year. Salminen is No. 18 in the latest InterMat poll. Junior Drew Ross will aim to improve on his second place finish at 197 pounds. Sophomore No. 14 Trent Sprenkle will face a tough road at 125 pounds as he is one of three wrestlers ranked in the top 20. The tournament bracket will be released after the seeding meeting Saturday, March 5.
Salminen, Sprenkle in final NCAA Coaches’ Panel Rankings
Senior Vince Salminen is ranked No. 18 at 157 pounds and sophomore Trent Sprenkle is No. 20 at 125 pounds in the final edition of the NCAA Division I Coaches’ Panel Rankings announced by the NCAA. In the RPI, Salminen is No. 20 and Sprenkle is No. 21. These rankings were used to determine the allocations for the NCAA qualifying tournament. The WWC earned 15 spots in the tournament. The breakdown of the 15 automatic bids per weight class for the West Regional are as follows: 125 pounds (2), 133 (1), 141 (2), 149 (2), 157 (2), 165 (1), 174 (1), 184 (2), 197 (1) and Heavyweight (1).
Sprenkle named WWC Co-Wrestler of the Week
19th ranked 125 pounder Trent Sprenkle was named Western Wrestling Conference Co-Wrestler of the Week after upsetting No. 13 Ben Kjar of Utah Valley as announced by the league office Feb. 22. Sprenkle shares the weekly honor with Northern Iowa’s Caleb Flores, who defeated No. 15 Michael Martinez of Wyoming. No. 19 Sprenkle jumped out to a 5-0 lead over Kjar with two takedowns and an escape. Kjar tallied four points in the third period, but Sprenkle’s two escapes and point for riding time sealed the 8-4 upset win. Sprenkle was the only wrestler to defeat Kjar in dual action this season.
Bison defeat Utah Valley in season finale
NDSU closed out the regular season with a bang, defeating WWC foe Utah Valley, 25-10. The Bison opened with four straight wins, including then-No. 19 Trent Sprenkle’s upset over then-No. 13 Ben Kjar in an 8-4 decision. Utah Valley responded with three straight wins to close the gap, but the Bison closed the meet out with three wins to clinch the team victory. The team honored seniors Geoff Martin, Kenny Moenkedick, Andrey Patselov and Vince Salminen prior to the match.
Sprenkle moves up, Salminen stays in InterMat poll
Sophomore Trent Sprenkle moved up five places and senior Vince Salminen maintained his place in the latest version of the InterMat rankings released Feb. 15. Sprenkle is No. 14 at 125 pounds after upsetting No. 13 Ben Kjar of Utah Valley and Salminen is No. 18 at 157 pounds. Sprenkle is also No. 12 in the WrestlingReport.com rankings and No. 15 in Wrestling Insider Newsmagazine (WIN)’s latest poll. He is No. 22 in the D1 College Wrestling rankings. Salminen is also ranked in three additional polls. He is No. 17 in the WrestlingReport.com poll and No. 16 in WIN’s rankings. Salminen is No. 17 in the D1 College Wrestling rankings.