Four North Dakota State wrestlers will compete at the NCAA Wrestling Championships March 21-23 at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa. Seniors Trent Sprenkle (125) and Mac Stoll (184), junior Steven Monk (165) and sophomore Evan Knutson (285) will be in search of NDSU’s first All-America honors of the school’s Division I era.
The 2013 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships begin with ESPN3’s exclusive live coverage of the first and second rounds on Thursday, Mar. 21 at noon and 6:30 p.m. (CT). ESPN3 will feature a four-screen, four-mat view in the first, second and quarterfinal rounds.
ESPNU will air the semifinal round on Friday evening and the early medal rounds on Saturday morning. ESPN will broadcast the championship matches at 7 p.m. (CT) on Saturday.
NDSU finished 36th as a team at the 2012 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships with 10.5 points. Trent Sprenkle and Steven Monk each posted 3-2 records and came up one win short of All-America honors.
Two Good Runs
Steven Monk is 50-6 in his last 56 matches dating back to Jan. 13, 2012. Trent Sprenkle is 40-7 in his last 47 matches dating back to Jan. 20, 2012, with two of those losses coming against the No. 1 and No. 2-ranked wrestlers in the nation at last season’s NCAA Championships.
Regular Season WWC Champs
NDSU defeated South Dakota State 36-9 on Feb. 15 to finish the Western Wrestling Conference season with a perfect 5-0 record and win the regular-season title outright. The title was NDSU’s first Division I conference championship. The Bison won 17 North Central Conference titles in the NCAA Division II ranks from 1979-2004.
Monk (33-2) was awarded the No. 5 seed in the 165-pound bracket and will wrestle unseeded Josh Condon (20-6) of Chattanooga in the opening round. Sprenkle (28-4) will be the No. 9 seed in the 125-pound bracket and open against unseeded Tyler Iwamura (23-8) of CSU Bakersfield.
Stoll and Knutson are unseeded for the NCAA Championships.
NDSU’s Division I All-Americans
1971 – Bill Demaray – 6th – 177 pounds
1973 – Lee Petersen – 4th – 142 pounds
1974 – Lee Petersen – 7th – 142 pounds
1975 – Brad Rheingans – 4th – 190 pounds
1984 – Mike Langlais – 6th – 150 pounds
1988 – Pat Johannes – 7th – 177 pounds
Best Finish Yet
NDSU recorded its highest finish ever at the NCAA West Regional on March 9, taking second place with 76 points. Wyoming won the team title with 79 points.
The Bison finished third with 51.5 points in 2012. NDSU alternated fourth- and third-place team finishes every year from 2007-12.
Senior 125-pounder Trent Sprenkle opened the Feb. 15 dual with South Dakota State by winning his 100th career match and becoming the eighth Bison wrestler in history to join the elite 100-win club. Sprenkle started the dual with a 12-3 major decision of Aaron Pickrel to improve his career record to 100-44.
Junior 165-pounder Steven Monk owns 95 career wins.
Eight Ranked Opponents
On Feb. 3, No. 20 Northern Iowa became the eighth ranked opponent that NDSU has faced this season. The Bison are 3-5 in duals against ranked teams this year, with wins over No. 14 Wyoming, No. 24 Boise State and No. 25 Old Dominion. The Bison dropped duals versus No. 1 Minnesota, No. 7 Missouri, No. 9 Central Michigan, No. 15 Oregon State and No. 20 Northern Iowa.
The North Dakota State wrestling team has been ranked among the nation’s top 25 programs in the USA Today/NWCA/AWN Division I Coaches Poll on three different occasions this season. The Bison were last ranked 25th in the poll released on Feb. 5.
Bison junior Steven Monk went 18-0 in dual meets this season and has registered victories in 21 straight dual meets dating back to Feb. 5, 2012. Monk’s last defeat in a dual was a 3-2 decision by Northern Iowa’s David Bonin at 157 pounds.
NDSU senior 125-pounder Trent Sprenkle and junior 165-pounder Steven Monk combined to go 34-2 in duals this season. Both are two-time defending WWC champions.
Two Top 10’s
North Dakota State wrestlers Steven Monk and Trent Sprenkle are ranked No. 6 and No. 8, respectively, in the nation in the latest Amateur Wrestling News and Intermat individual rankings.
Monk (33-2, 18-0 duals) owns five wins this season over wrestlers ranked in the top 11 at 165 pounds – No. 7 Nick Sulzer (Virginia), No. 8 Conrad Polz (Illinois), No. 10 Cody Yohn (Minnesota), No. 10 Zach Toal (Missouri) and No. 11 Mark Lewandowski (Buffalo).
Monk is 50-6 in his last 56 matches and owns a record of 95-21 in his Bison career. His .819 career winning percentage is the eighth-best in NDSU history.
Sprenkle (28-4, 16-2 duals) is 6-2 against ranked opponents at 125 pounds this season, including wins over David Thorn of Minnesota and Christian Cullinan of Central Michigan, who were ranked No. 5 and No. 8 in the nation at the time of their meetings.
Sprenkle was ranked as high as No. 4 in December – the highest ranking ever achieved by a Bison wrestler in NDSU’s Division I era.