DES MOINES – North Dakota State’s Steven Monk and Trent Sprenkle both took the first step toward All-America honors on Thursday afternoon at the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships, posting first-round victories and advancing to the second round later tonight.
NDSU senior Mac Stoll and sophomore Evan Knutson dropped their first-round matches at 184 pounds and 285 pounds, respectively.
Sprenkle, seeded ninth at 125 pounds, used a first-period takedown and two near-fall points to cruise to a 4-1 first-round victory over Tyler Iwamura of CSU Bakersfield. The senior from Billings, Mont., will meet No. 8-seeded and No. 8-ranked Matthew Snyder of Virginia in the second round on Thursday evening with a spot in the quarterfinals on the line.
No. 5 seed Monk rolled to a 4-1 win over Tyler Wilps of Pittsburgh in the first round of the 165-pound bracket. Monk will wrestle No. 12 seed Taylor Massa of Michigan in the second round on Thursday night for a berth in the quarterfinals. Massa, a freshman, was ranked ninth in the nation in the season’s final coaches’ panel rankings.
Stoll dropped a 6-0 decision to No. 8 seed Josh Ihnen of Nebraska at 184 pounds, giving up two takedowns, an escape and a point for riding time. Stoll will meet senior Chris Chionuma of Oklahoma State in the consolation bracket this evening.
In the first round of the heavyweight bracket, Knutson lost a 7-5 thriller to Odie Delaney of The Citadel in sudden victory. Trailing 5-0 with less than 15 seconds remaining in the third period, Knutson scored a reversal and was awarded three near fall points as time expired to force overtime. Delaney took down Knutson five seconds into the sudden victory period to advance to the second round.
Knutson is scheduled to face Steven Graziano of Penn in the wrestleback first round tonight.
Session II of the NCAA Wrestling Championships (first round of wrestlebacks and second round of the championship brackets) will begin at 6:30 p.m. tonight. ESPN3 is providing live online coverage, and live scoring for all matches can be found on TrackWrestling.com.