NDSU Set For Southern Scuffle

FARGO, N.D. – The No. 16 North Dakota State wrestling program will ring in the new year with 16 Bison wrestlers set to compete at the 2023 Southern Scuffle. The Bison will be making their third trip to the Southern Scuffle on Sunday and Monday, with the two-day event taking place inside the McKenzie Arena in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

The Southern Scuffle will have live streaming on both days, with the tournament being streamed on FloWrestling. The scuffle will also have live results through FloArena.

Franek Set to Defend Scuffle Title
Senior 157 pounder Jared Franek will head to the Southern Scuffle for the third time in his career and looks to defend the 2022 title. Franek won all five matches at the scuffle in 2022, including three ranked wins with victories over #31 Dazjon Casto (Citadel) in the quarters, #23 Jarrett Jacques (Missouri) in the semis, and #21 Chase Saldate (Michigan State) in the final.

Bison Looking to Improve on Runner-Up Scuffle Finish
North Dakota State opened the 2022 calendar year by taking second at the Southern Scuffle last season. NDSU was fifth in its only other appearance in 2020. The Bison had six placers in 2022, led by Jared Franek’s title at 157. Along with Franek, NDSU returns two other placers; Gaven Sax, 149, 4th and DJ Parker, 184, 8th. The Bison are slated to add No. 11 Dylan Droegemueller and No. 12 Michael Caliendo to the lineup, both of whom did not compete last year.

100 for Kish
With the Bison picking up a convincing 30-6 victory over Buffalo in mid-December, North Dakota State head coach Roger Kish scooped up his 100th career dual victory. Kish has since improved to 101-69 in his 12th season as the leader of the Herd.

Franek Notches Ranked Win #25
With Jared Franek’s victory over #13 Jarrett Jacques in the dual with Missouri, Franek reached 25 ranked victories for his career. Aside from reaching the milestone, it also pulls the senior to within one of Steven Monk’s NDSU Division I record of 26 career ranked victories. Franek has three ranked victories this season, including his highest-ever ranked win, defeating #4 Brayton Lee in a dual with Minnesota in December.

Freshman Caliendo Making Early Statement
Redshirt freshmen Michael Caliendo (165) burst onto the scene last year with a pair of ranked wins to claim the Daktronics Open as an unattached wrestler. He started this season ranked and has gone 8-1 with victories in the duals against Nebraska, Binghamton, Minnesota, Buffalo, and Little Rock, as well as a Bison Open title after a 3-0 weekend that included victory over Andrew Sparks (Minnesota) in the title match. Caliendo is 2-1 against ranked opposition, with his only loss of the season coming in a 15-8 battle, in which he secured the first two takedowns, against defending national champion and No. 1 Keegan O’Toole (Missouri).

Pentz Closing In On Pin #20
Junior 197-pounder Owen Pentz recorded his 19th career pin in the dual victory over Little Rock in mid-December. Pentz has two pins this season and stands one shy of 20 for his career. Pentz would become just the 10th Bison in the Division I era to record 20 career pins.

March Nearly Matches Own NDSU Pin Record
Kellyn March picked up the fastest pin of the season for the Bison in a dual against Buffalo, with a quick takedown and pin of Kaleb Burgess in just 13 seconds. The pin came one second shy of March’s fastest career pin and the NDSU Division I record pin of 12 seconds, which he set last season in a dual against Clayton Bashor of Edinboro.

Up Next
The Bison will return to dual action in two weeks, as North Dakota State makes a trip west to the Golden State of California for a pair of duals on January 12 and 14. The Bison will take on Stanford, who are receiving votes in the latest coaches poll, in the first-ever trip for NDSU to Palo Alto and Stanford, before traveling south to Riverside to take on new Big 12 foe California Baptist to close out the trip.

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