Bison Wrestling to Open Season With Dual Against California Baptist

FARGO, N.D. – The North Dakota State wrestling program will open up the 2021-22 season this Saturday, November 6, as the Bison welcome in future Big 12 Conference opponent California Baptist University for a non-conference clash. The Bison and Lancers will both begin their seasons with just the second all-time meeting between the two programs when they face off at 1 p.m. at the Scheels Center.

Tickets
Bison wrestling events will return to full capacity at the Scheels Center this season. Fans are strongly encouraged to wear masks to Bison wrestling events and maintain social distancing where possible with the COVID-19 Pandemic still impacting our community. Tickets for NDSU home matches are available online at GoBison.com/tickets or by calling the Bison Ticket Office in the south lobby of the Sanford Health Athletic Complex at (701) 231-6378 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Tickets will also be available on Saturday at the door. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for youth ages 3-17.

Series History
Saturday’s match between the Bison and California Baptist is just the second meeting in the series history. Despite the originally scheduled meeting between the two programs being canceled last season, the Bison and Lancers rescheduled a meeting at California Baptist, with NDSU leaving Riverside, California with a 30-6 victory.

Guess Who’s Back
North Dakota State returns five total NCAA qualifiers, including four from the 2021 season, and nine starters from last year’s team that went 7-3 overall in duals and placed sixth at the Big 12 tournament. Junior 157 Jared Franek (13-5, Big 12 runner-up), senior 165 Luke Weber (16-4, Big 12 champion), sophomore 197 Owen Pentz (9-6), and senior 285 Brandon Metz (9-8) all qualified for the NCAA Championships last season and headline the returners. Junior 141 Dylan Droegemueller, who qualified for the 2020 NCAA Championships, also returns. Other returning starters include sophomore 133 Kellyn March (7-8), senior 149 Jaden Van Maanen (7-9), junior 174 Austin Brenner (8-4), and sophomore 184 Michael Nelson (5-6).

Bison Start Year In FloWrestling Top 25
North Dakota State will begin the season ranked 25th in the FloWrestling Tournament rankings, valued at 13 points. The Bison are one of six Big 12 programs to appear in the first ranking.

Six Bison Wrestlers Ranked Ahead of Season
North Dakota State has six wrestlers ranked in the InterMat and FloWrestling weight class rankings, headlined by Luke Weber’s No. 6 ranking in FloWrestling after a Big 12 Championship last season at 165. Weber is also ranked No. 14 by InterMat. Jared Franek leads the InterMat rankings for the Bison, featured at No. 11 in 157. Franek is also No. 12 in the FloWrestling rankings. 197 Owen Pentz (No. 16 in Flo, No. 19 in IM) and 285 Brandon Metz (No. 23 in Flo, No. 27 in IM) were also ranked in both polls. 133 Kellyn March begins the season at No. 28 in the InterMat rankings. March also received honorable mention recognition in the preseason FloWrestling rankings. Austin Brenner is the final Bison to appear in the preseason rankings, coming in at No. 32 in the InterMat rankings.

Coming Up
The Bison will be back in action next week with two events at the Scheels Center. The Bison will host No.3 Missouri in the first Big 12 dual of the season on Thursday, November 11. North Dakota State will then host the annual Bison Open Saturday, with tournaments slated to begin at 10 a.m.

Check out Bison Wrestling at gobison.com and on Twitter.

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