No. 9 Gophers Hit the Road for Trio of Road Contests to Close Out First Half

MINNEAPOLIS – The No. 9 University of Minnesota wrestling program is set to hit the road for the third-straight weekend as they’ll close out the first half of the season with a trio of road contests, including two duals versus ranked opponents.

The road trip begins on Friday, December 9, as the Gophers will make their second trip of the season to Fargo, N.D., for a dual against the No. 24 North Dakota State Bison. The dual takes place at 7:00 p.m. CST and will broadcast live on or on WDAY Xtra for fans in western Minnesota.

Following Friday’s action, the Maroon & Gold will then travel out west to San Luis Obispo, Calif., for a triangular dual against Lindenwood and Cal Poly on Sunday, December 11. The Gophers will first take on Lindenwood at 1:30 p.m. CST, then square off against Cal Poly at 4:30 p.m. CST. Minnesota’s dual with Cal Poly will be live-streamed on Cal Poly All-Access. The Gophers contest with Lindenwood will not be televised.

Currently sitting at 4-0 on the season, the Gophers are looking to continue their best start to a season since the 2014-15 season, where Minnesota started 10-0 and ultimately finished with an 8th-place finish at the NCAA Championships.

Tale of the Tape – The Bison
North Dakota State is led by head coach Roger Kish, a former two-time NCAA All-American for the Gophers in the late 2000s. Kish is in his 12th season at the helm for the Bison, holding a 99-67 career mark.

The NDSU lineup houses a total of five ranked wrestlers in the InterMat polls, including seventh-ranked Jared Franek at 157 pounds, who has reached the blood round at the NCAA tournament twice in his career. The Bison lineup also features Carlos Negrete Jr., Dylan Droegemueller, Michael Caliendo, and Owen Pentz.

North Dakota State comes into the weekend with a 2-0 record on the year. They kicked off the season with a 20-16 road upset win against Nebraska before hosting Binghamton in their home opener in which they secured an 18-13 victory.

The Series with North Dakota State
Minnesota leads the all-time series against North Dakota State with a record of 19-2 in a rivalry that dates back to the 1966-67 season. The Golden Gophers have dominated the series thus far, winning the last 17 meetings with the Bison, having not lost a dual since 1970. The Gophers’ most recent victory against the Bison came on February 15, 2015 in Fargo, when Minnesota defeated North Dakota State by a score of 26-9.

First Meeting: W, 22-11 (12/17/1966)
Last Meeting: W, 26-9 (2/15/2015)
Longest Win Streak: W17 (2/17/1976-2/15/2015)
Longest Losing Streak: L2 (12/5/1969-12/5/1970)
Current Streak: W17

Last Meeting
Minnesota traveled to Fargo for a road dual against North Dakota State on February 15, 2015, where the Gophers won seven of the ten bouts en route to a 26-9 victory. The dual began at 197 pounds, where Scott Schiller pushed the Gophers out front with a major decision win. Following a loss at heavyweight, Minnesota rattled off six-straight victories to jump out to an insurmountable 26-3 lead, as Ethan Lizak, Chris Dardanes, Nick Dardanes, Jake Short, Dylan Ness, and Nick Wanzek all earned victories, with Ness earning a first-period fall before Wanzek capped off the streak with an 11-3 major decision.

Tale of the Tape – The Lions
Lindenwood, a program that is in its first year of transitioning to Division-I, is coached by seventh-year head coach Dallas Smith. Smith led the Lions to a career-best third-place finish in the Division-II NCAA Championships in 2021, and has helped lead the program to two individual D-II NCAA champions during his tenure.

Sunday’s contest between Minnesota and Lindenwood will be the first all-time matchup between the two programs.

Tale of the Tape – The Mustangs
Head coach Jon Sioredas leads Cal Poly in his seventh season with the Mustangs with a career mark of 16-42. The Mustangs have continued to climb the ranks nationally under Sioredas, reaching as high as the top 10 in the rankings last season, and currently hold a total of five wrestlers ranked in the InterMat polls.

Two-time All-American Bernie Truax leads a much improved Mustang lineup at 197 pounds, as well as Oklahoma transfer and 2019 All-American Dom Demas at 141 pounds. Antonio Lorenzo, Adam Kemp, and Legend Lamer round out the ranked competitors for Cal Poly.

The Mustangs come into Sunday’s contest with a 1-0 record on the season, with their lone dual taking place more than a month ago on November 5, where they defeated California Baptist, 38-9. Cal Poly most recently competed at the Las Vegas Cliff Keen Invitational, where they placed 24th out of 34 teams.

The Series with Cal Poly
Minnesota leads the all-time series against Cal Poly with a record of 3-1 in a series that dates back to the 1976-77 season. The Golden Gophers have won each of the previous three matchups against the Mustangs, with their most recent meeting coming December 8, 2007 as the Gophers won that dual by a score of 23-12.

First Meeting: L, 17-23 (1/28/1977)
Last Meeting: W, 23-12 (12/8/2007)
Longest Win Streak: W3 (2/13/1983-12/8/2007)
Longest Losing Streak: L1 (1/28/1977)
Current Streak: W3

Last Meeting
Minnesota last met Cal Poly in a triangular dual hosted by Cal-State Fullerton on December 8, 2007, in which the Gophers would defeat the Mustangs by a score of 23-12 in their matchup. Jayson Ness kicked things off with a major decision win at 125 pounds followed up by a Mack Reiter decision victory at 133 pounds. After Cal Poly would win the next three bouts to take a 12-7 lead heading into the break, the Gophers would claim the final five matches of the night as Scott Glasser, Gabe Dretsch, Roger Kish, Justin Bronson, and Ben Berhow all won the lead the Maroon & Gold to a win.

Up Next
After a busy road trip, the Gophers will return home to enjoy a three-week hiatus from competition over the holiday break. Minnesota returns to action on January 1-2, where they will travel to Chattanooga, Tenn., to participate in the Southern Scuffle. The “U” will then kick off Big Ten competition with a road contest against Northwestern on January 7.

#9 Minnesota Probable Starters
125: #4 Patrick McKee (4-0) -OR- Troy Spratley (3-0)
133: #20 Aaron Nagao (5-1)
141: #4 Jake Bergeland (2-1) -OR- Vance VomBaur (4-2)
149: #16 Michael Blockhus (7-0) -OR- Marcos Polanco (8-4)
157: #4 Brayton Lee (1-1) -OR- Sebas Swiggum (3-1)
165: #19 Andrew Sparks (5-2)
174: #17 Bailee O’Reilly (1-1) -OR- Jared Krattiger (5-0)
184: #15 Isaiah Salazar (5-1)
197: #20 Michial Foy (6-1)
HWT: #24 Garrett Joles (5-2) -OR- Keaton Kluever (3-4)

#18 North Dakota State Probable Starters
125: #27 Carlos Negrete Jr. (4-2) or Ryan Henningson (1-5)
133: McGwire Midkiff (2-2) or Fernando Barreto (3-2)
141: #7 Dylan Droegemueller (2-0)
149: Kellyn March (6-2) or Gabriel Schumm (3-2)
157: #7 Jared Franek (1-1)
165: #13 Michael Caliendo (5-0)
174: Gaven Sax (4-2) or Riley Habisch (5-3)
184: DJ Parker (2-4) or Michael Nelson (0-0)
197: #30 Owen Pentz (2-3) or Spencer Mooberry (3-2)
285: Juan Mora (4-1)

Lindenwood Probable Starters
125: Austin Kegley (2-4) -OR- Ben Lindley (2-3)
133: Ben Lindley (2-3) -OR- Tanner Hitchcock (0-0)
141: Kalen Napier (1-4)
149: Ben Bohr (0-4)
157: Kaden Charboneau (2-5)
165: Gavin Londoff (5-1)
174: Drew Gvillo (1-2)
184: Austin Raynor (8-2)
197: Ryan Golnick (3-2)
285: David Hernandez (0-3)

#28 Cal Poly Probable Starters
125: #14 Antonio Lorenzo (4-0)
133: Ethan Rotondo (3-4)
141: Lawrence Saenz (1-2)
149: #11 Dom Demas (4-1)
157: Luka Wick (7-4)
165: #30 Legend Lamer (4-3)
174: Jarad Priest (6-5)
184: #19 Adam Kemp (0-0)
197: #7 Bernie Truax (4-0)
285: Trevor Tinker (5-3)

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