North Dakota State Heads to Las Vegas for Cliff Keen Invitational

North Dakota State University (0-2, 0-0 #Big12WR) is set to compete at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational on Friday, Dec. 4, and Saturday, Dec. 5 in the Cashman Center. Action gets underway at 11 a.m. Central on Friday. Teams scheduled to participate include Air Force, American, Arizona State, Army West Point, Binghamton, Boise State, Brown, Bucknell, Cal Poly, Columbia, Cornell, CSU Bakersfield, Harvard, Hofstra, Iowa State, Kent State, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Navy, Northern Colorado, Northern Iowa, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oregon State, Purdue, The Citadel, Utah Valley, Virginia, Virginia Tech, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

NDSU BisonBison Rewind
North Dakota State University 184-pounder Hayden Zillmer upset the nation’s top-ranked wrestler to place third at the 33rd Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational in the Las Vegas Convention Center last season while teammates 285 Evan Knutson and 141 Mitch Bengtson placed in the top eight. NDSU with 49.5 points placed 13th out of 39 teams competing in the event. Zillmer defeated then No. 1-ranked and eventual national champion Gabe Dean of Cornell 8-3 in the third place match.

Live pay per view video of the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational will be provided by Live updates will be provided through

Bison in the Rankings
North Dakota State was No. 26 in the WIN Magazine’s Tournament Power Index (Dec. 1, 2015). Individually, in the (Nov. 30) rankings, Josh Rodriguez is No. 18 at 125 pounds; Hayden Zillmer is No. 5 at 184 pounds. In the Asics/Flowrestling Rankings (Nov. 30), Josh Rodriguez was No. 17 at 125 pounds, Hayden Zillmer is No. 4 at 184 pounds. In (Nov. 30) rankings, Josh Rodriguez was No. 14 at 125 and Hayden Zillmer is No. 3 at 184 pounds. In WIN Magazine’s Dec. 1) rankings, Josh Rodriguez is No. 14 at 125 pounds and Hayden Zillmer is No. 4 at 184 pounds. In the Amateur Wrestling News (Nov. 30), 125 Josh Rodriguez is No. 11 and 184 Hayden Zillmer is No. 4.

Trio of Bison Record Wins Against No. 6 Virginia Tech
In back-to-back fashion, North Dakota State sophomores, 149 Clay Ream posted a major decision and 157 Grant Nehring returned to the mat for the first time this season with a pin in the Bison 23-13 loss to sixth-ranked Virginia Tech on Nov. 22. NDSU 184 Hayden Zillmer held off Virginia Tech’s Zack Zavatsky for a 7-5 decision to stay perfect this season.

Streak Stays Alive
With NCAA All-American 184 Hayden Zillmer and NCAA qualifier 125 Josh Rodriguez leading the way, North Dakota State claimed eight individual titles at the 2015 Bison Open — it marked the 10th straight season that at least one NDSU wrestler came away with a Bison Open title. Rodriguez won his third individual title, while Zillmer claimed his second straight. Nick O’Brien (133), Kyle Gliva (149), unattached Andrew Fogarty (157), Tyler McNutt (165), unattached Cordell Eaton (197) and Ben Tynan (285) each won their weight divisions, while unattached Nico Colunga (133), unattached Tyler Harrington (174) and Logan Paxton (197) achieved runner-up finishes.

Four Bison Earn Wins against Virginia
NDSU 184-pound senior Hayden Zillmer started the dual against Virginia on Nov. 6 with a 20-7 major decision over Will Schany to improve to 5-0. The Bison lost 25-14 to the Cavaliers as 125-pound junior Josh Rodriguez posted an 8-0 major decision. Newcomer, 285-pound junior Ben Tynan and 149 Mitch Bengtson each recorded 7-5 overtime wins.

Bison Coaching Staff with a Little Virginia, ACC Flair
North Dakota State University assistant Manny Rivera was an assistant coach at the University of Virginia for one season prior to joining the Bison staff … New NDSU assistant coach Jarrod Garnett was a three-time ACC champion and 2013 All-American for Virginia Tech.

NCAA All-American, Three NCAA Qualifiers Return for North Dakota State
NDSU returns NCAA Division I All-American 184-pound senior Hayden Zillmer (Crosby, Minn.), and three NCAA qualifiers in 125-pound junior Josh Rodriguez (Guadalupe, Calif.), 141-pound sophomore Mitch Bengtson (St. Cloud, Minn.) and 149-pound sophomore Clay Ream (Wentzville, Mo.). North Dakota State had a school-record six national qualifiers and two All-Americans at the NCAA Division I championship last year. The Bison are coming off back-to-back NCAA West Region championships and won two of the last three Western Wrestling Conference regular-season titles.

Big 12 Adds North Dakota State to Wrestling Membership
North Dakota State along with Air Force, Northern Colorado, South Dakota State, Utah Valley and Wyoming have joined Iowa State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and West Virginia in the Big 12 Conference. NDSU and the other affiliate members are eligible immediately. The 10-team Big 12 wrestling championship has shifted to a neutral site and has expanded to a two-day event with the 2016 championship set for March 5-6 at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.

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