Franek Reaches Final to Highlight Day One of Big 12 Championships

TULSA, Okla. – Jared Franek picked up a pair of wins to advance to the 157-pound championship match of the 2022 Big 12 Wrestling Championships on Saturday to lead the way for North Dakota State.

Franek started off his day by defeating Derek Holschlag of Northern Iowa by an 8-4 decision in the quarterfinal round, setting up a matchup with Oklahoma’s Justin Thomas in the semifinals.

Franek recorded an early takedown on Holschlag and then added a second right before the end of the period to give the junior with a 4-1 lead after the first period. After an escape to start the second, Franek added another takedown to take a commanding 6-2 lead into the third period before adding an escape and riding time point to seal the victory.

In his semifinal matchup with Thomas, Franek would see out a scoreless first period. Thomas picked up an escape 13 seconds into period two, but Franek responded with a takedown to take a 2-1 lead before play is stopped for blood time. Coming out of the break, Thomas recorded an escape to tie the match at 2-2 headed to the third period.

Franek picked up a quick escape and then recorded a takedown to go up 5-2. Thomas would get an escape point and a penalty point late, but Franek held on to set up a matchup with Iowa State’s Derek Carr in the championship final Sunday evening.

Three other Bison made semifinal appearances on Saturday, including defending 165 pound Big 12 champion Luke Weber, who had to secure wins in the prelims and the quarterfinals to reach the semis. Weber started out the day with a 6-2 decision over Northern Colorado’s Nick Knutson.

Weber then earned a spot in the semis by defeating Oklahoma State’s Travis Wittlake. In a rematch of the 2021 semifinal, Weber dominated Wittlake from the start, shutting out the Cowboy with a 4-0 decision.

However, Weber would fall to Missouri’s Keegan O’Toole in the semifinal and will start Sunday in the consolation semis, aiming to reach the third-place match.

Dylan Droegemueller and Owen Pentz also made trips to the semifinals with a pair of wins over Oklahoma wrestlers. Droegemueller picked up a win over Jacob Butler by a 4-2 decision before falling to Missouri’s Allan Hart in his semifinal match at 141 pounds. Pentz claimed a 6-4 win in his quarterfinal match at 197 pounds over Jake Woodley before falling to South Dakota State’s Tanner Sloan.

DJ Parker, Gaven Sax and Brandon Metz overcame quarterfinal losses to pick up wins in the consolation brackets and reach the medal rounds on Sunday.

Parker picked up a pair of 184-pound consolation round wins over Utah Valley’s Jacob Armstrong and West Virginia’s Anthony Carman to reach the consolation semifinals for a chance to reach the third-place match.

Sax and Metz recorded a win in the first consolation matches before falling in the second round of consolation matches to reach the seventh-place match on Sunday. Sax won at 149 pounds over Northern Colorado’s Christopher Sandoval, while Metz won in the heavyweight round against Utah Valley’s Chase Trussell.

Riley Habisch claimed the only other win for the Bison, as he won in a ninth-place bracket 174-pound matchup against Northern Colorado’s Jackson Hemauer. Habisch will wrestle for ninth on Sunday.

125 | Lucas Rodriguez | 0-2
L to #12 Trevor Mastrogiovanni (Oklahoma State); Dec 7-1
L to #21 Kysen Terukina (Iowa State); Dec 6-2

133 | Kellyn March | 0-2
L to Garett Lautzenheiser (West Virginia); Dec 9-5
L to Connor Brown (Missouri); SV-1 11-9

141 | Dylan Droegemueller | 1-1 | 7.0 pts
W over Jacob Butler (Oklahoma); Dec 4-2
L to #11 Allan Hart (Missouri); MD 14-1

149 | Gaven Sax | 1-2 | 3.5 pts
L to #13 Kaden Gfeller (Oklahoma State); MD 9-0
W over Christopher Sandoval (Northern Colorado); Dec 12-5
L to #22 Josh Edmond (Missouri); Dec 11-6

157 | Jared Franek | 2-0 | 14.0 pts
W over Derek Holschlag (Northern Iowa); Dec 8-4
W over #14 Justin Thomas (Oklahoma); Dec 5-4

165 | Luke Weber | 2-1 | 8.0 pts
W over Nick Knutson (Northern Colorado); Dec 6-2
W over #11 Travis Wittlake (Oklahoma State); Dec 4-0
L to #2 Keegan O`Toole (Missouri); MD 12-3

174 | Riley Habisch | 1-2
L to #12 Dustin Plott (Oklahoma State); MD 14-4
L to #25 Joel Devine (Iowa State); Dec 5-2
W over Jackson Hemauer (Northern Colorado); MD 10-1

184 | DJ Parker | 2-1 | 8.0 pts
L to #4 Parker Keckeisen (Northern Iowa); MD 12-4
W over Jacob Armstrong (Utah Valley); Dec 13-6
W over Anthony Carman (West Virginia); MD 9-1

197 | Owen Pentz | 1-1 | 7.0 pts
W over #17 Jake Woodley (Oklahoma); Dec 6-4
L to #6 Tanner Sloan (South Dakota State); MD 8-0

285 | Brandon Metz | 1-2 | 3.5 pts
L to #21 Sam Schuyler (Iowa State); SV-1 3-1
W over Chase Trussell (Utah Valley); SV-1 3-1
L to #19 Zach Elam (Missouri); Fall 1:47

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