FARGO, N.D. – North Dakota State hosts its first home meet of the 2011-12 season with the 41st annual Bison Open Saturday, Nov. 12. The meet starts at 10 a.m. at the Bison Sports Arena.
A strong contingent of teams will compete including No. 4 Minnesota, Minnesota State Moorhead, Concordia Moorhead, Northern State, Southwest Minnesota State, St. John’s (Minn.), Jamestown and Mary.
NDSU claimed one title at the 2010 meet as Vince Salminen finished first at 157 pounds. The Bison have won at least one title the past five seasons. Going into the 2011-12 season, 125-pounder Trent Sprenkle is ranked No. 9 by Intermat.
The Minnesota Golden Gophers come into the weekend ranked No. 4 in both the Intermat and USA Today/NWCA polls. The team returns four All-Americans from last year’s NCAA sixth place team – Zach Sanders (125), Sonny Yohn (197), Kevin Steinhaus (184) and Tony Nelson (Hwt). Members of the Minnesota program claimed nine titles at the 2010 Bison Open.
Minnesota State Moorhead is led by former Bison wrestler Kris Nelson. The Dragons return 125-pound Division II All-American Corey Ulmer and finished 26th at the Division II national championships. They were picked to finish sixth in the Northern Sun preseason poll.
Concordia is coming off a school-best seventh place finish at the Division III national championships, where senior Phil Moenkedick won his second national title. Moenkedick had claimed Concordia’s only Bison Open titles in 2008 and 2009.
Northern State’s Matt Meuleners won the Division II national heavyweight title last season, giving the Wolves their first-ever wrestling national champion. Meuleners returns to lead the team this winter.
Last year, Southwest Minnesota State finished eighth at the NCAA Super Regionals. CD Johnson, the team’s only NCAA qualifier, graduated in the spring.
St. John’s comes into the Bison open ranked No. 6 in the Division III preseason poll. The Johnnies tallied five All-Americans in a sixth place finish at the 2011 Division III NCAA Championships, including returners Chad Henle, Matt Pfarr and Dustin Baxter.
Jamestown returns 125 pound All-America performer Sean Blumhardt, who finished fifth at the national championships. The Jimmies finished 17th at the NAIA national meet.
Mary has one Division II NCAA qualifier returning in 184-pounder Brady Anderson. Anderson finished 1-2 at the national championships.