North Dakota State 21, Air Force 18

Knutson Leads NDSU Past Air Force, 21-18

FARGO, N.D. – The North Dakota State wrestling team defeated Western Wrestling Conference foe Air Force, 21-18, thanks to heavyweight Evan Knutson’s 3-1 win in the final bout of the night. The Bison (5-6, 2-0 WWC) snapped a three-match losing skid with the win. Air Force is now 6-4 overall and 1-2 in the WWC.

With the match tied at 18-18 going into the heavyweight bout, Knutson struck first with an escape in the second period. Air Force’s Jared Erickson tied it at 1-1 early in the third, but Knutson was able to get a good shot in and score the winning takedown with 46 seconds remaining.

No. 20 Trent Sprenkle wasted no time giving NDSU the lead, pinning Greg Rinker in one minute 58 seconds at 125 pounds.

The Falcons came back to win the next three straight bouts to take a 9-6 lead. At 133 pounds, Dylan Hyder used a second period reversal and two-point near fall to help clinch a 7-4 win over Justin Solberg. At 141 pounds, Air Force’s Carter McElhany jumped out to a 6-2 lead, but Tyler Diamond came back with an early third period escape and takedown to close the gap to 6-5. McElhany was able to score twice more to claim a 9-5 win.

Mark Erickson took on No. 3 Cole VonOhlen at 149 pounds. Erickson struck first with a takedown, but two escapes and a takedown from VonOhlen gave the Falcon a 4-3 lead going into the third period. VonOhlen put the match away with a takedown with 45 seconds remaining and also added a point for riding time to win 7-3.

No. 10 Steven Monk snapped the Air Force run as he put Josh Kreimier on his back early and was able to pin him at the 2:03 mark in the first period. It was the eighth straight win for Monk.

At 165 pounds, Tyler Johnson won a 10-7 decision over Colby Kluesner, thanks to four takedowns, including two in the final period. His win extended NDSU’s lead to 15-9.

Clayton Gable tied the match at 15-15 after pinning Joe Garner in 1:04 at 174 pounds. Mac Stoll went down 2-0 early to Greg Isley at 184 pounds, but tied the match at 2-2 after an escape and a technical violation point. In the third period, Stoll was able to flip Isley on his back for a three-point near fall and then ride out the 5-2 win.

The back-and-forth continued in the 197 pound bout as Air Force’s Josh Mohr used a seven-point second period to claim a 9-3 win over John Gusewelle and tie the match at 18-18. Knutson clinched the win for the Bison at heavyweight.

The Bison are now back on the road for three straight duals against conference opponents, starting with Northern Iowa Sunday, Feb. 5 at 1 p.m.

North Dakota State 21, Air Force 18
125 – No. 20 Trent Sprenkle (NDSU) fall Greg Rinker (AF), 1:58
133 – Dylan Hyder (AF) dec. Justin Solberg (NDSU), 7-4
141 – Carter McElhaney (AF) dec. Tyler Diamond (NDSU), 9-5
149 – No. 3 Cole VonOhlen (AF) dec. Mark Erickson (NDSU), 7-3
157 – No. 10 Steven Monk (NDSU) fall Josh Kreimier (AF), 2:03
165 – Tyler Johnson (NDSU) dec. Colby Kluesner (AF), 10-7
174 – Clayton Gable (AF) fall Joe Garner (NDSU), 1:04
184 – Mac Stoll (NDSU) dec. Greg Isley (AF), 5-2
197 – Josh Mohr (AF) dec. John Gusewelle (NDSU), 9-3
Hwt – Evan Knutson (NDSU) dec. Jared Erickson (AF), 3-1