The No. 22-ranked North Dakota State wrestling team heads to Hampton, Va., this weekend to take part in the Virginia Duals on Jan. 11-12. The tournament format is a 16-team, double-elimination dual tournament, with each team guaranteed a minimum of three duals. The opening round begins at 8 a.m. (CT) on Friday, Jan. 11, with the championship and third-place duals set for 7:30 p.m. (CT) on Saturday, Jan. 12.
The Bison will open with a dual against No. 8-seeded Arizona State at 8 a.m. Friday morning, with the winner earning a showdown with either top-seeded Central Michigan or Rider in the quarterfinals.
VirginiaDuals.org is the home for all tournament information, brackets and results throughout the weekend. GoBison.com will feature recaps of NDSU results at the conclusion of wrestling each day. Brackets/Results on TrackWrestling.com.
About the Virginia Duals
The Virginia Duals are a 16-team, double-elimination dual tournament, with each team guaranteed a minimum of three duals. Teams that lose both of their first two duals are provided a third dual against another such team. The first and second rounds are scheduled for Friday, Jan. 11, beginning at 8 a.m. (CT). Consolation duals begin Saturday, Jan. 12, at 9 a.m., and semifinals start at 1 p.m. The championship and third-place duals are set for 7:30 p.m. (CT) on Saturday.
The 16-team field for the 2013 Virginia Duals features five schools currently ranked in the USA Today/NWCA/AWN Division I Coaches Poll — No. 9 Central Michigan, No. 10 Virginia Tech, No. 16 Edinboro, No. 19 Virginia and No. 25 Old Dominion. Boise State is receiving votes in the latest coaches poll.
The North Dakota State wrestling team is currently No. 22 in the Intermat team rankings. The Bison improved their spot for four consecutive weeks in the national tournament-strength poll earlier this season, climbing as high as No. 21 for the week of Dec. 11.
The Bison are once again the highest-rated team from the Western Wrestling Conference, and NDSU is ranked higher than five teams from the Big Ten Conference. The Intermat team rankings are based on projected NCAA Tournament strength.
Pair of 6’s
North Dakota State wrestlers Steven Monk and Trent Sprenkle are each ranked No. 6 in the nation in the latest Intermat individual rankings.
Monk moved to 19-3 on the season with his fourth-place showing at the Midlands Championships on Dec. 29-30. He owns four wins this season over wrestlers currently ranked in the Top 12 at 165 pounds – No. 7 Nick Sulzer of Virginia, No. 8 Conrad Polz of Illinois, No. 10 Cody Yohn of Minnesota and No. 12 Mark Lewandowski of Buffalo.
Monk is 36-6 in his last 42 matches and owns a record of 81-21 in his Bison career. His .794 career winning percentage is approaching the 10th-best in NDSU history.
Sprenkle was ranked as high as No. 4 in December — the highest ever achieved by a Bison wrestler in NDSU’s Division I era.
Sprenkle has climbed steadily in the AWN rankings this season after starting the year at No. 9. He is 15-2 on the season with six wins by fall, including a win over the current No. 11-ranked wrestler at 125 pounds, David Thorn of Minnesota.
Senior Mac Stoll (7-3) is currently ranked No. 19 in the Intermat rankings.
Sixth a Year Ago
North Dakota State finished in sixth place at the 2012 Virginia Duals with a 3-2 record. The Bison defeated Campbell, Arizona State and The Citadel, and lost to two ranked opponents in No. 9 Missouri and No. 20 Rutgers. Steven Monk completed the tournament with a 5-0 record.
The first-round dual between NDSU and Arizona State will be a rematch of the meeting between the two schools at last season’s Virginia Duals when the Bison earned a 23-19 victory over the Sun Devils in the consolation bracket. Trent Sprenkle, Steven Monk, Tyler Johnson, Mac Stoll and John Gusewelle all earned victories in that dual a year ago.
Monk, Sprenkle Guide Bison to Ninth-Place Team Finish at Midlands
North Dakota State junior Steven Monk and senior Trent Sprenkle each earned top-five finishes at the prestigious Midlands Championships on Dec. 30 to help the Bison to a ninth-place team finish. Monk placed fourth at 165 pounds and Sprenkle took fifth at 125 pounds, while redshirt freshman Hayden Zillmer claimed eighth place at 157 pounds.
The Bison scored 57 team points to earn a ninth-place finish out of 34 Division I schools – an improvement of 15.5 points and seven places over one year ago. NDSU finished in front of seven schools currently ranked in the national coaches’ poll, including No. 13 Pittsburgh, No. 17 Nebraska, No. 18 (tied) Edinboro, No. 18 (tied) Maryland, No. 21 Purdue, No. 22 Penn and No. 23 Wisconsin.
Monk Claims WWC Wrestler of the Week
NDSU 165-pound junior Steven Monk (Wausau, Wis./Wausau West HS) was named the Western Wrestling Conference Wrestler of the Week on Jan. 1 after leading his team to a ninth-place finish at the 50th annual Ken Kraft Midlands Championships. Monk was 4-2 for the tournament, winning twice by fall and defeating two opponents ranked in the top 11 in the nation at the time. The WWC weekly honor was the fourth of Monk’s career.
Sprenkle, Monk Named Back-to-Back WWC Wrestlers of the Week
NDSU wrestlers Trent Sprenkle (125) and Steven Monk (165) claimed back-to-back Wrestler of the Week awards from the Western Wrestling Conference. Sprenkle (10-0) won the award on Nov. 27 after defeating No. 5 David Thorn of Minnesota as part of a 3-0 record at the Bison Quad. Monk (15-1) took the honor on Dec. 4 after earning a runner-up finish at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational.
Two Good Runs
Steven Monk is 36-6 in his last 42 matches dating back to Jan. 13, 2012. Trent Sprenkle is 27-5 in his last 32 matches dating back to Jan. 20, 2012, with two of those three losses coming against the No. 1 and No. 2-ranked wrestlers in the nation at last season’s NCAA Championships.