North Dakota State 28, Air Force 11

USAF ACADEMY, Colo.– North Dakota State University won seven out of 10 matches including a dramatic overtime win by 125-pound Josh Rodriguez, along with pins from 157-pound Grant Nehring and 184-pound Hayden Zillmer to defeat host Air Force 28-11 in a Western Wrestling Conference dual on Friday, Jan. 30.

It was the fifth straight dual win for NDSU, which improves to 6-3 overall and 2-0 in the WWC. Air Force is 5-5 overall and 0-3 in the WWC. The Bison travel to Laramie Sunday, Feb. 1, to face 18th-ranked Wyoming (7-2, 3-0 WWC). The Cowboys defeated South Dakota State 32-10 on Friday night.

NDSU BisonIn the final match of the night, Rodriguez, a sophomore from Guadalupe, Calif. (Righetti H.S.), rallied from a 3-0 deficit after two periods to defeat 9th-ranked Josh Martinez of Air Force. He registered a pair of takedowns including one with less than :20-seconds and didn’t allow an escape to force overtime.

Rodriguez, who entered the weekend ranked 20th, came up with another takedown late in the overtime period to record the win. He improves to 13-5 overall and 8-1 in duals. Rodriguez, who has won eight of his last 10 matches, is 3-3 against nationally-ranked competition.

With North Dakota State clinging to a 7-3 lead after three matches, redshirt freshman 157 Nehring (Kimball, Minn.) provided a boost with his second pin of the season over Air Force’s Sam Kreimer at the 2:34 mark of the first period. Nehring is now 5-9 overall and 2-2 in duals.

Zillmer, a senior from Crosby, Minn., wasted little time in deciding things at 184 pounds and pinned Air Force’s Zen Ikehara in :40-seconds. It was the seventh pin of the season for the 9th-ranked Zillmer, who improved to 25-4 overall and 9-0 in duals.

NDSU redshirt freshmen Mitch Bengtson (St. Cloud, Minn.) and Clay Ream (Wentzville, Mo.) both posted wins. Bengtson (18-9, 6-3) recorded a 14-4 major decision over Cody Hancock at 141, while Ream (19-9, 8-1) grinded out a 3-0 decision over Jerry McGinty.

North Dakota State’s Kurtis Julson, a senior from Inver Grove Heights, Minn., trailed Adam Jackson 2-1 after the first period but scored five points in the second and added four more in the third for a 10-3 win at 174 pounds. Julson is now 13-8 overall and 5-4 in dual action.

NDSU 285-pound senior Evan Knutson (Wausau, Wis.) fought off a strong challenge from Air Force’s Marcus Malecek, recorded a takedown late in the third period for a 3-0 victory. Knutson improves to 19-7 overall and 7-2 in duals.

North Dakota State 28, Air Force 11
133: Anthony McHugh (AFA) over Kyle Gliva (NDSU), Dec 8-2 (0-3)
141: Mitch Bengtson (NDSU) over Cody Hancock (AFA), MD 14-4 (4-3)
149: Clay Ream (NDSU) over Jerry McGinty (AFA), Dec 3-0 (7-3)
157: Grant Nehring (NDSU) over Samuel Kreimier (AFA), Fall 2:34 (13-3)
165: #18 Jesse Stafford (AFA) over Trevour Chavez (NDSU), TF 17-0 5:00 (13-8)
174: Kurtis Julson (NDSU) over Adam Jackson (AFA), Dec 10-3 (16-8)
184: #9 Hayden Zillmer (NDSU) over Zen Ikehara (AFA), Fall 0:40 (22-8)
197: Jack Carda (AFA) over Tommy Petersen (NDSU), SV-1 6-4 (22-11)
285: #15 Evan Knutson (NDSU) over Marcus Malecek (AFA), Dec 3-1 (25-11)
125: #20 Josh Rodriguez (NDSU) over #9 Josh Martinez (AFA), SV-1 6-4 (28-11)

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