NDSU Hosts Oklahoma in Big 12 Action

FARGO, N.D. – No. 13/15 North Dakota State will welcome in Big 12 foe Oklahoma Friday night at the Scheels Center. The two teams will clash on the mat for the first time in over three years, with the dual set for a 7 p.m. start.

The Bison will face Oklahoma for just the fourth time, holding a 1-2 record against the Sooners. However, the Bison won the last meeting between the two programs, which also took place in Fargo in January of 2021, picking up a convincing 24-15 victory. The Bison fell to Oklahoma 25-14 in Norman in 2016 and 20-18 in Norman in 2019.

Tickets are available at GoBison.com/tickets and in the Bison Ticket Office. Tickets will also be available on Friday night at the door. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for youth ages 3-17.

On the Xtra
Friday’s dual against Oklahoma will be televised live on WDAY Xtra. Dom Izzo (play-by-play) and Jack Maughan (color) will have the announcing duties.

Dual Coverage
While Friday’s dual will be televised locally, the dual will also be on the radio on Bison 1660, streamed live on NDSU All-Access and will have live results through TrackWrestling. Links for coverage will be available on GoBison.com.

Highest Ranking in Program History
The Bison sit at No. 15 in the NWCA Coaches Poll, the highest official ranking in the program’s Div. I history. Prior to this season, the Bison had never been ranked higher than 19. In the InterMat rankings, the Bison sit at 13 for the third-straight week, which marks the highest the Bison have ever been in any poll in Div. I.

Class of 2022 Showing Strong Success in Spot Dual Appearances
Four Bison true freshmen have made an appearance in duals this season for NDSU. All four (Fernando Barreto, Gavin Drexler, Sean Solis and Walker Bents) have won their dual match, giving the class a 4-0 record. Barreto and Solis won by decisions, while Drexler earned a major decision. Against Air Force, Bents won with a first-period pin, becoming the sixth Bison true freshman in the D1 era to win their first-ever dual match by fall. It is also the third consecutive season that the Bison have had a true freshman win by fall in their dual debut.

Bison Second in NWCA Mid-Major Poll
While the Bison are ranked No. 13 by InterMat and No. 16 in the NWCA Coaches Poll, NDSU is also second in the latest NWCA Mid-Major Top 20 poll, behind only Cornell.

Jared Franek Claims Ranked Win NDSU Record
With Franek’s victory over #13 Jacob Wright (Wyoming) in a dual on January 21, he secured his 27th-ranked victory, passing Steven Monk’s NDSU Div. I record (26). Franek now has 28 ranked wins headed into Friday’s Oklahoma dual.

Caliendo and Franek Hold Big 12 Wrestler of the Week Honors
Michael Caliendo became the second Bison to be named Big 12 Wrestler of the Week this season on January 17 after his win over #2 Shane Griffith in a dual at Stanford. He joined Jared Franek, who picked up the honor on December 12. Franek became the sixth and Caliendo became the seventh Bison overall to win Big 12 Wrestler of the Week.

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.

Pentz Reaches Pin Milestone, Pins #4 at Scuffle
Owen Pentz became just the 10th Bison in the Division I era to record 20 pins with a fall in his opening match at the Southern Scuffle. The junior also pinned #4 Ethan Laird (Rider) in the semis and has added three more in duals to sit at 24, sixth in the D1 era. With the pin over Laird, Pentz has pinned the #2, #3 and #4 ranked wrestlers in his career.

Freshman Caliendo Makes Strong Statement with Battles Against NCAA Champions
Redshirt freshmen Michael Caliendo (18-2) took runner-up at the Southern Scuffle, losing 3-2 to #2 Shane Griffith (Stanford), 2021 NCAA Champion. Caliendo avenged the loss at Stanford, defeating #2 Griffith 6-3. Caliendo’s only other loss this season came to #1 Keegan O’Toole (Missouri), the 2022 NCAA Champion. In the loss, Caliendo secured two takedowns and held a lead before falling 15-8. O’Toole has only allowed three takedowns all season.

100 W’s for Kish
With NDSU’s 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 107-69 in his 12th season as the leader of the Herd.

March Nearly Matches Own NDSU Pin Record
In a dual against Buffalo, Kellyn March pinned Kaleb Burgess in 13 seconds, one second shy of March’s fastest career pin and the NDSU Div. I record pin of 12 seconds, set last season in a dual against Edinboro’s Clayton Bashor.

Program Hits 600
In the dual victory at Stanford, NDSU wrestling secured program victory No. 600 in dual competition. NDSU currently has 605 wins as a program, with 166 in the Division I era and 71 in the Big 12 era.

The Bison at Home
NDSU holds a 285-121-8 (.698) record at home over the course of the program’s 65-year history. Since January of 2019, the Bison are 19-6 (.760) with five of the six losses coming against ranked opposition.

NCAA D1 Qualifiers
The Bison have 58 NCAA Div. I qualifiers in 14 years of postseason eligibility, including 15 over the last three seasons. Rich in wrestling history, the Bison sent 26 to NCAA Div. I Championships from 1971 to 1991, bringing the total to 84. The Bison have 10 All-Americans at the Div. I Championships, including a best finish of 3rd by Steven Monk at 165 in 2014. In 2015, Kurtis Julson and Hayden Zillmer both placed in the top 8.

Head Coach Roger Kish
Roger Kish is in his 12th season at the helm of NDSU wrestling, taking over the program in 2011-12 after he spent two years as an assistant coach under the legendary Bucky Maughan. Under his tenure, the Bison have had seven All-Americans and two Big 12 Champions; Cam Sykora (133 in 2020) and Luke Weber (165 in 2021). Kish was a two-time All-American and two-time NCAA runner-up for Minnesota at 184 pounds with a career record of 117-27 for the Gophers. He then spent two seasons on staff at Minnesota as a graduate assistant.

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