EVANSTON, Ill. – North Dakota State junior Steven Monk continued his impressive start to the 2012-13 season on Saturday at the Midlands Championships, registering his third victory over a Top-10 opponent this season and going 3-0 on his way to a berth in the 165-pound semifinals of the prestigious tournament.
Monk, ranked No. 6 in the nation and seeded fourth at 165 pounds, opened the tournament with two falls, pinning Oklahoma’s Kyle Detmer and Columbia’s Josh Houldsworth each in the third period. In the quarterfinals, Monk recorded a 9-2 decision over No. 8 Conrad Polz of Illinois for his third win over a Top-10 opponent this year.
Monk (18-1) will meet top-seeded Bekzod Abdurakhmonov, an unattached post-collegiate wrestler from Clarion University, in the semifinals on Sunday.
North Dakota State is in 10th place in the team standings at the conclusion of the first day of the tournament.
Senior Trent Sprenkle, ranked No. 4 in the nation and seeded fifth at 125 pounds, posted two wins before suffering his first loss of the season. Sprenkle recorded an 18-6 major decision over Penn Gottfried of Columbia and a 12-7 decision over 12th-seeded and 17th-ranked Shane Gentry of Maryland.
In the quarterfinals, Sprenkle faced off with No. 5 Jesse Delgado of Illinois – seeded fourth for the tournament – and came up on the short end of a 5-3 decision for his first loss of the season. Sprenkle is now 12-1 on the year.
Joining Sprenkle in the consolation bracket on Sunday will be redshirt freshman Hayden Zillmer (157) and senior Mac Stoll (184).
Zillmer dropped his opening match to 12th-seeded Dillon Bera of UW-Parkside before rattling off four straight victories to advance through the wrestlebacks. Zillmer’s first two wins were by decision, and his second two came via first-period falls.
Stoll posted a win over Michigan’s Jordan Thomas to open the day but fell to eighth-seeded Joe Rau of Elmhurst by 12-4 decision in the second round. Stoll bounced back with two wins in the consolation bracket to remain alive.
The 50th Midlands Championships will conclude on Sunday. Competition begins at noon with Session III, which includes semifinal and consolation rounds, along with seventh-place matches. First, third and fifth-place bouts begin at 7 p.m. Big Ten Network will broadcast Sunday’s finals live at 7 p.m.
Midlands Day One Results – NDSU Individuals
125 – Trent Sprenkle, 2-1
133 – Josh Rodriguez, 0-2
141 – Mark Erickson, 2-2
149 – Joe Garner, 3-2
157 – Hayden Zillmer, 4-1
165 – Steven Monk, 3-0
174 – Kurtis Julson, 1-2
184 – Mac Stoll, 3-1
197 – Kallen Kleinschmidt, 1-2
285 – Evan Knutson, 3-2