ST. LOUIS – North Dakota State has three wrestlers still alive in the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships following the first day of action Thursday, March 18, at the Enterprise Center.
NDSU sophomore 157 Jared Franek went 2-0 on the day, freshman No. 31 seed Owen Pentz went 1-1 with an upset win over the No. 2 seed at 197 pounds, and senior 165 Luke Weber earned a first-round victory for the Bison before dropping into the consolation bracket.
Franek won by injury default over Kendall Coleman of Purdue to advance to Friday’s quarterfinals. Franek trailed 3-2 in the third period, but recorded a takedown for a 4-3 lead. Coleman was injured on the takedown, and could not return to the mat. Franek also won a hard-fought 5-2 bout against Parker Kropman of Drexel in the first round.
Pentz opened his first NCAA tournament with a bang pinning No. 2 seed Evan Schultz of Nebraska. After a 0-0 first period, Pentz started the second in top position, where he rode out nearly 45 seconds before giving up a reversal. Pentz scored a reversal of his own with 30 seconds left and got Schultz on his back for the pin with nine seconds left in the second period.
Weber extended his winning streak to 13 matches with a late victory over Andrew Sparks of Minnesota before falling to Shane Griffith of Stanford. Weber trailed 4-2 entering the final period against Sparks, before a reversal and four back points gave him a comfortable lead in an eventual 8-5 victory. Griffith got a takedown inside of a minute left in the third period for a 7-5 victory.
Bison heavyweight Brandon Metz went 0-2 for the day, losing 11-0 to Zach Elam of Missouri before losing by fall against Zachary Nighton-Ward of Hofstra in 55 seconds.
Day 2 action will begin at 10 a.m. on ESPNU and ESPN3.
157 #8 Jared Franek, So., Harwood, N.D. (West Fargo HS)
W dec. #23 Parker Kropman (Drexel), 5-2
W inj. def Kendall Coleman (Purdue), 6:30
165 #9 Luke Weber, Sr., Forsyth, Mont. (Forsyth HS/Nebraska)
W dec. #24 Andrew Sparks (Minnesota), 8-5
L dec. #8 Shane Griffith (Stanford), 7-5
197 #31 Owen Pentz, Fr., Morgan, Utah (Morgan HS/Fresno State)
W pinned #2 Evan Schultz (Nebraska), 4:51
L maj. dec. #15 Michael Beard (PSU), 17-8
285 #22 Brandon Metz, Jr., West Fargo, N.D. (West Fargo HS)
L maj. dec. #11 Zach Elam (Missouri), 11-0
L pinned by #27 Zachary Nighton-Ward (Hofstra), 0:55