FARGO, N.D. – The North Dakota State wrestling program and head coach Roger Kish have announced the complete signing class ahead of the 2022-23 season this week.
The 2022-23 signee class includes 13 Bison commits who are slated to join the program this fall from five different states. The class features 20 high school state championships along with numerous other cadet and junior regional and state titles.
“We are excited to welcome another talented group of young men to Fargo,” said Kish. “We have a great squad that this class will further add to and we have very high expectations for this group as they join our Bison Family.”
Five signees are ranked on the top recruiting big boards, bringing the NDSU total over the last two seasons to 13.
The full 2022-23 NDSU Wrestling Signee Class:
#92 Fernando Barreto
Barreto is one of two signees from California as he joins the Bison from Pomona. The No. 92 overall recruit by MatScouts, Barreto is a four-year state qualifier and posted a 164-27 record at Walnut High School, including a 38-2 record as a senior. He is ranked as the No. 15 overall recruit at 132 pounds. Barreto earned all-state honors on three occasions, including a second and two sixth-place finishes at three different weight classes.
#98 Max Petersen
Petersen, the No. 98 overall recruit by MatScouts and No. 15 at 145 pounds, had one of the most decorated seasons over the last year and will come to Fargo from Byron, Minnesota. The Byron High School product posted a 74-0 record on his way to an MSHSL 145 AA State Championship, as well as a 2022 USA Wrestling Northern Plains Regional Championship at 152 pounds in May. Petersen recorded 69 bonus-point victories out of his 74 wins, including 41 pins and 23 tech falls. Petersen claimed the Minnesota Junior Freestyle 145-pound title in May of 2021. He had a pair of runner-up finishes at the MSHSL State Championships in 2021 and 2020 in the 138- and 120-pound divisions. In 2019, Petersen claimed both the freestyle and Greco-Roman Minnesota Cadet 16U titles at 120 pounds
#126 Gavin Drexler
Drexler is the first of three from Wisconsin and will join the Bison from Stratford, where he was a four-year starter for Stratford High School, posting a 61-4 record in all competitions during his senior season with 30 pins and 22 tech falls. This summer at the USAW National Championships in Fargo, Drexler finished as an All-American, placing seventh at 145. Drexler, the No. 126 overall recruit by MatScouts and No. 22 recruit at 138 pounds, split time between 138 and 145 in the last year, claiming the 138-pound WIAA Individual State Championship for the second-straight season and his third overall after winning the 126-pound title in 2020. Drexler then went on to claim the WWF Greco-Roman and Freestyle Wisconsin State Championships at 145 pounds in May of 2022. In May of 2019, Drexler won the 16U WWF state championships in both disciplines at 120 pounds.
#138 Damian Mendez (Posthumously)
Mendez signed with the Bison in March of 2022. The No. 138 overall recruit by MatScouts and the No. 14 recruit at 126 pounds, was set to join the Bison this fall and was intending to major in Sport Management at NDSU before his tragic passing in early July. Mendez was a highly decorated athlete out of Dodge City, Kansas, including being a three-time state champion on the mat. He went undefeated as a senior and set the Kansas high school state record for the most takedowns in a single season.
#152 Landen Johnson
Johnson, the No. 152 overall recruit by MatScouts and No. 19 recruit at 160 pounds, is a product of Owatonna, Minnesota, and Owatonna High School, where he went 52-6 over the last year with 33 pins and nine techs. Johnson claimed his second-straight MSHSL AAA State title at 160 pounds in March before taking second overall at the 2022 USA Wrestling Northern Plains Regional in May. Prior to back-to-back state titles, Johnson took second as a sophomore at 152 pounds. In May of 2019, he claimed the Minnesota Cadet 16U 145-pound freestyle title.
Bents is one of six to join NDSU from neighboring Minnesota and will come to Fargo from Glenwood, where he wrestled at Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa. Bents is coming off of an MSHSL State Championship at 132 pounds in early March. In all competitions over the last year, Bents has amassed an 84-10 record with 36 pins, 13 tech falls, and 14 major decisions. In May of 2021, Bents claimed the Minnesota USA Juniors State title at 132 pounds following a runner-up performance at the MSHSL State Championships in March of 2021 at 126 pounds. He also claimed a state championship as a sophomore, claiming the MSHSL title at 106 pounds.
Gerber comes to Fargo from Cameron, Wisconsin. Over the last year, Gerber has posted a 56-2 record with 27 pins, 13 tech falls, and 10 majors. Gerber claimed the 132-pound title at the WIAA State Championships in February, completing four state titles in four seasons. Gerber won the 106-pound title as a freshman in 2019, before taking the 113-pound title in 2020. As a junior, he claimed his third state title at 126 pounds. Gerber claimed the WWF Greco-Roman State Championship at 132 pounds in May of 2021. Last October, Gerber took second overall at the USAW Preseason Nationals in Iowa.
Howes comes from Ramsey, Minnesota, and will come to Fargo off of a 70-13 year that included 32 pins and 28 tech falls. 65 of his 70 wins came by bonus-point decisions. Howes took first at the MSHSL Sectionals at 145 pounds before a pair of fourth-place finishes at the 2022 USA Wrestling Northern Plains Regional in May. Howes finished as the MSHSL AAA runner-up at 138 pounds as a junior in 2021. In 2019 he claimed the freestyle and Greco-Roman Cadet 16U state championships.
A Park High School product out of Cottage Grove, Minnesota, Silvis is set to join the Bison after a 52-4 season at 120 pounds that included a runner-up finish in the MSHSL AAA State Championships. Silvis posted 32 pins, five techs, and seven majors in the last year, and has earned All-State honors each of the last three seasons. Silvis is a four-time sectional champion, as well as four all-conference honors, and claimed the PHS career and season near-fall records, as well as the season pins record.
Simes comes to Fargo from Amery, Wisconsin, where he posted a 75-21 record in the last year, including 31 pins and 15 tech falls. Simes earned a runner-up finish for the second-straight year at the WIAA State Championships in 2022 at 160 pounds. As a junior, he finished as the runner-up at 152 pounds. In 2021, Simes took second in both the freestyle and Greco Roman Minnesota Junior State Championships at 170 pounds.
Solis will join the Bison out of Fountain Valley, California, where he posted a 115-31 career record with 70 career pins. Solis posted a 36-8 record as a senior with 21 pins at 132 pounds. Solis earned All-Orange County wrestling team honors as a junior and senior and helped Fountain Valley to a pair of CIF Championships in 2019 and 2020. Solis claimed the CIF Individual Central Division title as a senior in 2022.
Coming from Trout Creek, Montana, Trae Thilmony joins the Bison after a 52-1 season, including a 39-1 record while competing for Thompson Falls High School. Thilmony posted 32 pins and 11 techs last season on his way to an MHSA State Championship at 145 pounds. Thilmony is a three-time Montana State Champion, winning at 120 pounds in 2020 and 132 pounds in 2021. Thilmony placed as a freshman at 113 pounds, earning all-state honors all four years of high school.
Tulenchik will come to Fargo from Pine River, Minnesota where he was a three-time state finalist and a 2022 MSHSL State Championship for Pine River Backus at 170 pounds. Tulenchik posted a 49-3 record in his final year and an overall record of 216-32, earning all-conference honors every season. In the past year, he posted 32 pins, five techs and four majors. Tulenchik finished as a runner-up at 170 pounds as a junior in 2021 and as runner-up at 145 pounds in 2020.