NDSU Wrestling Travels to 51st Midlands Championships

The North Dakota State wrestling team heads to Evanston, Ill., this weekend to participate in the 51st Ken Kraft Midlands Championships hosted by Northwestern University. Wrestling begins inside Welsh-Ryan Arena at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, Dec. 29, and will continue until the final session begins at 8 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 30.

NDSU BisonSchedule
The 51st Ken Kraft Midlands Championships first session begins at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, Dec. 29, followed by the second session at 7:00 p.m.

The action continues Monday, Dec. 30, with the third session, semifinals, consolation matches and seventh-place matches at noon.

The Midlands Championships final sessions will air live on Big Ten Network at 8 p.m. CT.

Big Ten Network will broadcast Monday’s finals live at 8 p.m. Live updates of the tournament on Twitter can be followed throughout the weekend with the #Midlands51 hashtag. Updated brackets will also be posted on NUsports.com.

Last Season
Steven Monk and Trent Sprenkle each earned top-five finishes at the Midlands Championships last season 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 the school’s 2011 finish. NDSU finished in front of seven schools that were 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.

2012 Midlands Results – NDSU Individuals
125 – Trent Sprenkle, 5-2, 5th place
133 – Josh Rodriguez, 0-2
141 – Mark Erickson, 2-2
149 – Joe Garner, 3-2
157 – Hayden Zillmer, 5-3, 8th place
165 – Steven Monk, 4-2, 4th place
174 – Kurtis Julson, 1-2
184 – Mac Stoll, 3-2
197 – Kallen Kleinschmidt, 1-2
285 – Evan Knutson, 3-2

In the Rankings
Senior 165-pounder Steven Monk is ranked fifth nationally by both Amateur Wrestling News and Intermat this season. Monk is 11-1 overall and 5-0 in duals for the Bison this season.

Sophomore 174-pounder Hayden Zillmer is No. 14 in the Amateur Wrestling News rankings and No. 17 in the Intermat rankings. Zillmer owns a 9-3 record this season, with all three losses coming to ranked opponents.

Top Contenders
The Midlands Championships have released a list of top contenders (subject to change) who are expected to wrestle. Monk and Zillmer were both pegged at No. 3 in their respective weight classes. Brackets are scheduled be released on Dec. 28.

1. Nick Moore, Iowa
2. Taylor Massa, Michigan UNATT
3. Steven Monk, North Dakota State
4. Dan Yates, Michigan
5. Jackson Morse, Illinois
6. Cooper Moore, Northern Iowa
7. Brock Gutches, Southern Oregon
8. Ramon Santiago, Rider
9. Pierce Harger, Northwestern
10. Bo Jordan, Ohio State UNATT
11. Ryan LeBlanc, Indiana
12. Nazar Kulchytskyy, UW-Oshkosh

1. Mike Evans, Iowa
2. Lee Munster, Northwestern
3. Hayden Zillmer, North Dakota State
4. Elliot Riddick, Lehigh
5. Bryce Hammond, CSU Bakersfield
6. Cody Caldwell, Northern Iowa
7. Dominic Kastl, Cal Poly
8. Tony Dallago, Illinois
9. Austin Gabel, Virginia Tech
10. Landon Williams, Wartburg College
11. Scott Liegel, Wisconsin
12. Matt Mougin, Northern Illinois