FARGO, N.D. – The North Dakota State wrestling team travels to Tulsa, Oklahoma this weekend for the Big 12 Championships on Saturday, March 5, and Sunday, March 6, at the BOK Center.
Saturday, March 5
Session 1: Preliminary & Quarterfinal Matches — 11:00 a.m. CT
Session 2: Semifinal & Consolation Quarterfinal Matches — 5:00 p.m. CT
Sunday, March 6
Session 3: Consolation Semifinals, Third, Fifth & Seventh Place Matches — 12:00 p.m. CT
Session 4: Championship Matches — 7:00 p.m. CT
All-session tickets are available through TicketMaster. General admission seats start as low as $37, while reserved seating is $57 and premium reserved and club seating are available for $112 and $122, respectively.
All matches from each of the four sessions will be available on the ESPN app through Big 12 Now on ESPN+. The championship round will be televised live on ESPN2. Live statistics for the event will be available through TrackWrestling.
Franek Leads Nine Bison Pre-Seeded
Nine North Dakota State wrestlers have been pre-seeded in their respective weight classes. North Dakota State junior 157 Jared Franek leads the way for the Bison at No. 2, while sophomore 133 Kellyn March slots in at No. 4 and senior 165 Luke Weber sits at No. 5.
The Bison have two No. 6 seeds in sophomore 197 Owen Pentz and senior 285 Brandon Metz, while junior 141 Dylan Droegemueller, redshirt freshman 149 Gaven Sax, junior 174 Austin Brenner, and freshman 184 DJ Parker received a No. 8 seed.
Eight Bison Appear In NCAA Coaches Rankings and RPI Rankings
The Bison have eight wrestlers represented in the NCAA coaches and NCAA RPI rankings, with seven in each. Junior 157 Franek leads the way at No. 5 in the coaches and No. 11 in the RPI. Senior 165 Luke Weber also pulls down a top 10 ranking, as he sits No. 7 in the RPI and No. 17 in the coaches.
Junior 141 Dylan Droegemueller (26 (coaches)/22 (RPI), junior 174 Austin Brenner (25/29), sophomore 197 Owen Pentz (22/27), and senior 285 Brandon Metz also appear in both rankings. Sophomore 133 Kellyn March and freshman 184 DJ Parker each received one ranking, with March at No. 24 in the coaches and Parker at No. 26 in the RPI.
Seven Bison in Other Major National Rankings
North Dakota State has seven wrestlers in the latest Division I rankings. Junior 157 Jared Franek is 5th in InterMat and 6th in FloWrestling. Senior 165 Luke Weber is 17th in InterMat and FloWrestling. Senior heavyweight Brandon Metz is 23rd in FloWrestling and 24th in InterMat. Junior 174 Austin Brenner is 22nd in FloWrestling and 26th in InterMat. Sophomore 197 Owen Pentz is 21st in InterMat, sophomore 133 Kellyn March is 26th in InterMat, and junior 141 Dylan Droegemueller is 30th in InterMat.
NDSU Big 12 Championship History
The Bison, who are in year seven in the Big 12, have a had a pair of conference champions since joining the conference, with both championships coming in the last two seasons. Current assistant coach Cam Sykora took the 133-pound title in 2019-20 and current senior Luke Weber won the 165-pound title last season. NDSU’s nine place winners and 90.5 team points in 2020 were the most by a Bison team since making their conference debut in 2016. North Dakota State’s highest finish in the team standings was fourth place in 2017 with 82.5 points.
Big 12 Allocated 58 NCAA Qualifying Spots
The Big 12 Conference has been pre-allocated 58 qualifying spots for the NCAA Division I wrestling championship to be held March 17-19 in Detroit. After the 10 automatic qualifying champions from each weight class, the Big 12 will have seven additional qualifiers at 174; six additional at 141 and 197; five additional at 125, 133, 157 and 285; and three additional at 149, 165 and 184. Following automatic qualification from the pre-allocations, there will be five at-large spots at 141, 157 and 285 and four at-large spots for the remaining seven weight classes to complete the 33-wrestler fields.
Pentz Third In NCAA Wrestling Awards Standings for Pins
Sophomore Owen Pentz continues to rank in the standings for the 2022 NCAA Wrestling Awards. Pentz, has 12 pins on the year, including 11 against Division I competition, which has him tied for third overall in Division I, and two behind King Sandoval (Maryland) and Wyatt Hendrickson (Air Force) for the national lead. The top finisher over the course of the entire season (regular and postseason) will receive the award. Pentz is the only wrestler in the 197-pound class in Division I to have double-digit pins or appear in the rankings.
NCAA D1 Qualifiers
The Bison have had 53 NCAA Div. I qualifiers in 14 years of postseason eligibility since moving to Division I in the 2004-05 season, including 10 qualifiers over the last two seasons. Rich in wrestling history, the Bison have also sent 26 wrestlers to the NCAA Div. I Championships from 1971 to 1991, bringing the total to 79 NCAA Div. I qualifiers in program history. The Bison have had 10 placing finishers at the NCAA Div. I Championships including an NDSU best finish of 3rd place by Steven Monk at 165 pounds in 2014. In 2015, Kurtis Julson and Hayden Zillmer both placed in the top 8.
Check out Bison Wrestling at gobison.com and on Twitter.