CEDAR FALLS, Iowa -Trent Sprenkle and Steven Monk both won titles at the NCAA West Regional to lead the North Dakota State wrestling team to a third place finish on Sunday, March 4. Sprenkle claimed the 125 pound crown, while Monk won the 157 pound title. Both Sprenkle and Monk also earned automatic bids to the 2012 NCAA Championships March 15-17.
Four Bison also finished third – Mark Erickson at 149, Tyler Johnson at 174, Mac Stoll at 184 and Evan Knutson at heavyweight.
The Bison finished third with 51.5 points as Wyoming won its second straight title with 93.5 points.
No. 19 Sprenkle opened with a 16-4 major decision over Utah Valley’s Colby Christensen. In the semifinals, Sprenkle claimed a 17-3 major decision over Air Force’s Greg Rinker. Sprenkle took on Wyoming’s Michael Martinez, who came in ranked No. 19. Sprenkle scored an early takedown, but Martinez came back with an escape to end the period with the Bison leading 2-1. Martinez tied it on an escape in the second, but Sprenkle took the lead on an escape in the third and also added a point for riding time to take the title with a 4-2 win.
At 157 pounds, Monk put together a dominant run en route to the title, only giving up one point in three bouts. He opened with a 17-1 technical fall over Northern Colorado’s Charlie McMartin. In the semis, Monk shut out Wyoming’s Andy McCully, 7-0. No. 11 Monk avenged an earlier loss to No. 17 David Bonin of Northern Iowa in the final. After a scoreless first period, Monk opened the scoring with a two-point near fall in the second period and was able to tally a two minute riding time advantage as well. Monk then scored an early escape in the third and added a point for riding time.
Erickson lost his opening bout to top-seeded Cole VonOhlen of Air Force, but rebounded to win a 9-1 major decision over UNI’s Ryan Jauch in the consolation semifinals. In the third place bout, Erickson won a 3-1 decision over Northern Colorado’s Justin Gonzalez after scoring the winning takedown in sudden victory overtime. Erickson lost a 6-1 decision to Utah Valley’s Josh Wilson in the true second place bout, just missing out on an automatic berth in the NCAA Championships.
Johnson won a 13-3 major decision over South Dakota State’s Joe Rasmussen in his opening bout at 174 pounds. Johnson then dropped a close 6-5 decision to eventual champ Pat Martinez of Wyoming. In the consolation semis, Johnson pinned UNI’s Omni Prestidge in 2:37. He then won a 4-2 decision over Utah Valley’s Monte Schmalhaus in the third place bout. Johnson scored the winning takedown 21 seconds into sudden victory overtime. Johnson lost an 8-4 decision to Clayton Gable of Air Force in the true second place bout.
At 184 pounds, Stoll opened with a 4-1 win over South Dakota State’s Tony Lisek. Stoll then ran into No. 8 Ryan Loder of UNI in the semis, dropping a 17-2 technical fall. In the consolation semifinals, Stoll won a 4-2 decision over Northern Colorado’s Cody McAninch. Stoll held off Air Force’s Greg Isley in the third place bout, 13-10.
At heavyweight, Knutson had a bye in the first round. In the semifinals, he was pinned by eventual champion Blayne Beale of UNI in 3:39. Knutson responded with a 3-1 win over Northern Colorado’s Henry Chirino in the consolation semifinals. In the third place bout, Knutson defeated Utah Valley’s Dustin Dennison, 2-1, on an escape in the third overtime period.
Justin Solberg went 0-2 at 133, Tyler Diamond was 0-2 at 141, Joe Garner was 0-2 at 165 and John Gusewelle was 0-2 at 197 pounds.
The NCAA will announce the at-large selections for the NCAA Championships March 7.
1. Wyoming, 93.5
2. Northern Iowa, 76
3. North Dakota State, 51.5
4. Air Force, 50.5
5. Utah Valley, 43.5
6. Northern Colorado, 36.5
7. South Dakota State, 5
Top Four Finishers
125 – Trent Sprenkle, 1st
149 – Mark Erickson, 3rd
157 – Steven Monk, 1st
174 – Tyler Johnson, 3rd
184 – Mac Stoll, 3rd
Hwt – Evan Knutson, 3rd