FARGO, N.D. – The No. 17 North Dakota State wrestling program will jump back into dual action as the Bison head west for duals at Stanford and California Baptist on Thursday and Sunday. NDSU will make their first trip to Stanford on Thursday before their second-ever trip to Riverside at California Baptist on Saturday.
The Bison will face Stanford for just the second time in head-to-head competition, with NDSU claiming a 28-13 win over then No. 21 Stanford in Fargo on Feb. 15, 2020. NDSU is 2-0 all-time against California Baptist, winning 30-6 in the first-ever meeting in Riverside on Jan. 30, 2021, before a 43-3 victory in Fargo last season on Nov. 6, 2021.
Both duals will have streaming, with Stanford on the Pac 12 network and California Baptist on YouTube. Both duals will also have live results through TrackWrestling. Links for coverage will be available on GoBison.com.
Franek Defends Scuffle Title, Pentz and March Also Win, as Bison Take 2nd
Jared Franek (157) claimed his second-straight Southern Scuffle title to open up 2023. Kellyn March (149) recorded two ranked wins and Owen Pentz (197) added three ranked wins as both went 5-0 to lift their first Scuffle titles. The Bison took second overall, finishing behind Oklahoma State, but ahead of Missouri, Stanford and Minnesota.
New Program Record for Wrestlers Ranked
Following a strong performance at the Southern Scuffle, the Bison have eight wrestlers receiving ranking recognition in the latest FloWrestling and InterMat rankings. The previous best for the Bison in the D1 era was seven, most recently last season. Jared Franek also set another NDSU D1 era mark, becoming the highest ranked wrestler at #2 in both the FloWrestling and InterMat rankings.
Franek Notches Ranked Win #26, Ties Monk for NDSU Record
With Jared Franek’s victory over #3 Kendall Coleman in the Southern Scuffle title match, Franek reached 26 ranked victories for his career, matching Steven Monk’s NDSU Division I record. It’s the highest-ranked win in Franek’s career, as he now has four ranked victories this season, including his previous highest-ever, ranked win over #4 Brayton Lee in a dual with Minnesota in December.
Freshman Caliendo Making Statement
Redshirt freshmen Michael Caliendo (165) started this season ranked and has gone 12-2 with a Bison Open title and a runner-up finish at the Southern Scuffle. Caliendo has three ranked wins and his only losses of the season have come against the top two ranked wrestlers. He fell to defending national champion and No. 1 Keegan O`Toole (Missouri) in a 15-8 battle in a dual, with Caliendo scoring the first two takedowns of the match. He then fell in the Southern Scuffle final to #2 Shane Griffith (Stanford), losing 3-2.
Pentz Reaches Pin Milestone, Pins #4 in Scuffle Win
Junior 197-pounder Owen Pentz recorded his 20th and 21st career pins on his way to a Southern Scuffle title. Pentz becomes just the 10th Bison in the Division I era to record 20 career pins with a win in his opening match. The Morgan, Utah native then pinned #4 Ethan Laird (Rider) in the semifinals. With the pin over Laird, Pentz has now pinned the #2, #3 and #4 ranked wrestlers in his collegiate career.
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.
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.
Franek Claims First Big 12 Wrestler of the Week Honor
Jared Franek was the first Bison to claim Big 12 Wrestler of the Week honors this season when he won the award on December 12, 2022 and the first since Owen Pentz won the award on January 18, 2022 last season. Franek didn’t allow any points aside from escapes in two matches, which included a pair of ranked wins and an upset of No. 4 Brayton Lee (Minnesota). Franek is the sixth Bison overall to win Big 12 Wrestler of the Week.
The Bison at Home
NDSU holds a 283-121-8 (.697) record at home over the course of the program’s 65-year history. Since January of 2019, the Bison are 17-6 (.739), with five of the six losses coming against ranked opposition.
The Bison return to the Scheels Center for the first Big 12 duals at home this season, taking on Wyoming on Saturday, Jan. 21 and Utah Valley on Sunday, Jan. 22. The Wyoming dual will be at 7 p.m., with Utah Valley’s set for 2 p.m.