EVANSTON, Ill. – North Dakota State’s Steven Monk earned the school’s first individual title at the prestigious Midlands Championships hosted by Northwestern University on Monday night, claiming a 4-2 decision over No. 4-ranked Nick Moore of Iowa in the 165-pound championship match.
Monk improved to 16-1 this season and 114-23 in his career – a mark that ranks him second in school history in wins. Monk placed fourth at Midlands in each of the past two seasons.
“This is another stepping stone for Steve,” said NDSU head coach Roger Kish. “He’ll be the first one to tell you that he has bigger plans and a lot of his goals are down the road in March.”
Monk registered a 7-2 decision over fifth-seeded Cooper Moore of Northern Iowa in the semifinals. Moore is the only wrestler to defeat Monk this season, but Monk swung the season series to 2-1 in his favor with his second win over Moore on Monday.
NDSU sophomore Hayden Zillmer went 4-0 on Monday in the consolation bracket to earn a third-place finish at 174 pounds, making him the second-highest Midlands finisher in school history behind Monk. Zillmer won by decision in all four matches, with the final two of the day coming in overtime periods, to finish the tournament with a 6-1 record.
Zillmer avenged his only defeat with a 2-1 decision over Southern Oregon’s Brock Gutches in the tiebreaker period to take third place.
Bison junior Kurtis Julson placed seventh at 184 pounds. Julson pinned Michigan’s Domenic Abounader in his first match on Monday before dropping a 2-1 decision to No. 7 seed Sam Brooks of Iowa in the first tiebreaker period. Julson took seventh place by virtue of a medical forfeit over eighth-ranked Vic Avery of Edinboro.
NDSU will travel to California later this week for duals at Cal Poly on Jan. 4 and CSU Bakersfield on Jan. 6.