North Dakota State 23, Air Force 14

NDSU Wins Four of Final Five to Defeat Air Force 23-14 in Big 12 Home Dual

FARGO, N.D.—North Dakota State University won four of the last five matches starting with Grant Nehring’s impressive win at 165 pounds to defeat the Air Force Academy 23-14 in a Big 12 Conference wrestling match before 374 spectators Friday, Jan. 22, in the BBF.

NDSU (2-4, 2-0 Big 12) is scheduled to host the University of Wyoming (2-5, 1-3 Big 12) at 1 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 31, in the Bentson Bunker Fieldhouse.

Air Force (5-3, 0-2 Big 12) led 10-8 after the first five matches before the momentum shifted to North Dakota State.

NDSU BisonNehring, a sophomore from Kimball, Minn. (St. Cloud Apollo H.S.), recorded a first-period takedown and two-point near fall to build an early 4-1 lead. He extended the advantage to 6-2 in the second.

Nehring then added a takedown in the third, along with a point for nearly two minutes of riding time for a 9-2 win over Alex Lopouchanski. Lopouchanski entered Friday with a 7-0 dual record. The Bison regained the lead at 11-10 as Nehring improved to 4-6 overall and 3-2 in duals.

It was the first of three straight wins for NDSU, as 174-pound redshirt freshman Blake Thompson outlasted Zen Ikehara 5-3.

Then came North Dakota State senior 184-pounder Hayden Zillmer, who recorded a fall at 2:52 over Anthony McLaughlin. It was Zillmer’s team-high eighth pin of the season. He improved to 24-3 overall and 6-0 in duals to extend his streak to 22 straight. The sixth-ranked Zillmer recorded his 98th career win to move into a tie for No. 11 all-time at NDSU. That pin also pushed the score to 20-10.

Air Force gained a temporary reprieve and cut the deficit to 20-14 when Parker Hines posted a 12-4 decision over Logan Paxton at 197 pounds.

NDSU junior 285-pounder Ben Tynan closed out the dual with a hard-fought 4-1 decision over Marcus Malecek. Tynan is now 16-8 this season and 5-1 in duals.

The Bison had a familiar start to the dual when 16th-ranked Josh Rodriguez was relentless in racking up an 18-2 tech fall over Drew Romero. Rodriguez improved to 26-7 and 5-1 in duals in recording his seventh tech fall of the season.

Air Force bounced back with three wins in the next four weight classes, receiving wins from 19th-ranked Josh Martinez at 133, a major decision from Dylan Hyder at 141 and decision from Zach Stepan at 157.

Clay Ream, a 149-pound sophomore from Wentzville, Mo., grinded out a 2-0 decision for North Dakota State’s only win during that run.

Bentson Bunker Fieldhouse, Fargo, N.D.
Attendance: 374
(Dual started at 125 pounds)

North Dakota State 23, Air Force 14
125 – No. 16 Josh Rodriguez (NDSU) tech fall Drew Romero (AFA), TF 18-2, 5:23
133 – No. 19 Josh Martinez (AFA) dec. Nick Colunga (NDSU), 8-3
141 – Dylan Hyder (AFA) maj. dec. Tommy Walton (NDSU), MD 12-2
149 – Clay Ream (NDSU) dec. Gerald McGinty (AFA), 2-0
157 – Zachary Stepan (AFA) dec. Kyle Gliva (NDSU), 7-3
165 – Grant Nehring (NDSU) dec. Alex Lopouchanski (AFA), 9-2
174 – Blake Thompson (NDSU) dec. Zen Ikehara (AFA), 5-3
184 – No. 6 Hayden Zillmer (NDSU) pins Anthony McLaughlin (AFA), 2:52
197 – Parker Hines (AFA) maj. dec. Logan Paxton (NDSU), MD 12-4
285 – Ben Tynan (NDSU) dec. Marcus Malecek (AFA), 4-1

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