Caliendo Named Big 12 Wrestler of the Week After Defeating National Champion

IRVING, Texas – North Dakota State wrestling’s Michael Caliendo has been named the Big 12 Wrestler of the Week following his performance last week in two duals, including a victory over a past national champion.

Caliendo started off the week by defeating #2 Shane Griffith, 2021 NCAA champion, with two takedowns in a 6-3 decision to help the Bison to a win over Stanford on Thursday. He avenged a 3-2 loss in the 165-pound Southern Scuffle finals to Griffith two weeks ago.

Michael Caliendo
Michael Caliendo

The redshirt freshman took a 2-0 lead after a takedown in the first. With a 2-1 lead in the third, Caliendo escaped before Griffith secured a takedown to tie the match. Caliendo then escaped and sealed the victory with a late takedown in the final seconds.

On Saturday, Caliendo would continue his winning form by picking up a 10-4 win over Frank Almaguer in a dual at California Baptist. Caliendo only gave up escape points, securing four takedowns, an escape and a riding time point.

Caliendo is the second Bison to claim Big 12 Wrestler of the Week honors this season, joining Jared Franek. He is the seventh Bison overall to win Big 12 Wrestler of the Week honors. He is 14-2 on the season, including 4-2 against ranked competition, with his two losses coming against the last two national champions in the weight class, ranked at No. 1 and No. 2.

North Dakota State wrestling is set to return to action on Saturday and Sunday with home duals against Wyoming and Utah Valley.

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