TULSA, Okla. – Jared Franek and Michael Caliendo earned All-American honors Friday evening at the NCAA Wrestling Championships, advancing into the medal rounds to lead the way for North Dakota State wrestling at the BOK Center.
It’s the first All-American honor for both Franek and Caliendo and the first for the Bison since 2015. It is just the second time that the Bison have earned multiple All-American honors in the same season, matching the 2015 season with Hayden Zillmer (6th; 184) and Kurtis Julson (8th; 174).
After falling a win shy of All-American in each of the last two national championships, Franek secured the honor with a 7-3 decision over #32 Vinny Zerban of Northern Colorado in the blood round. The Harwood, N.D. native opened the match with a takedown 25 seconds in and then added a takedown early in the third.
Franek then scored an early takedown and never trailed in a 3-2 win over #9 Will Lewan of Michigan, earning a spot in the consolation semifinals Saturday morning. Franek will take on Nebraska’s Peyton Robb in the consolation semis, with a spot in the third-place match on the line. Franek fell into the consolation bracket after a loss to #5 Josh Humphreys of Lehigh in the quarterfinals during the day session.
Minutes after Franek secured his win in the blood round, Caliendo joined him as an All-American with a dominating 12-6 win over Michigan State’s Caleb Fish. The redshirt freshman never trailed, as he scored two takedowns and a four-point nearfall for an 8-1 lead after one period. Caliendo added another takedown in the third and tacked on a riding time point.
Caliendo would fall in the consolation fifth round later on to former national champion Shane Griffith of Stanford 3-2. Caliendo will wrestle #12 Izzak Olejnik of Northern Illinois in the seventh-place match on Saturday.
Caliendo needed a pair of victories in the day session to reach the blood round Friday night. He started off by beating Oregon State’s Matthew Olguin 9-8, needing a takedown in the final minute to go back in front of a back-and-forth match. Caliendo then came from behind to defeat Virginia’s Justin McCoy, 7-4. With one second left in the second period, Caliendo secured a takedown on the edge to go in front and he added a final takedown in the third to secure his spot in Friday night’s session.
NDSU’s two other wrestlers to make it to the second day – 149-pounder Kellyn March and 197-pounder Owen Pentz – were eliminated in the morning session, falling in their consolation second-round matches. March fell to #14 Austin Gomez of Wisconsin, while Pentz dropped his match to #18 Tanner Harvey of Oregon State.
As a team, the Bison sit at 21.0 points and in 24th overall. The 21.0 points is a new program record at the national championships. The previous high at a Division I championship was 20.5 in 2014.
The NCAA Wrestling Championships will resume at 10 a.m. on Saturday with Session 5, which includes the consolation semifinals and medal rounds, before the finals and parade of All-Americans beginning at 6 p.m.
North Dakota State Results:
157 | Jared Franek | 4-1 | 10.0 pts
W over #29 Corbyn Munson (Central Michigan); MD 10-1
W over #13 Trevor Chumbley (Northwestern); Dec 5-3
L to #5 Josh Humphreys (Lehigh); Dec 5-2
W over #32 Vinny Zerban (Northern Colorado); Dec 7-3
W over #9 Will Lewan (Michigan); Dec 3-2
#3 Peyton Robb (Nebraska)
165 | Michael Caliendo | 4-2 | 5.5 pts
W over #26 Brevin Cassella (Binghamton); Dec 6-1
L to #10 Carson Kharchla (Ohio State); Dec 8-3
W over #8 Matthew Olguin (Oregon State); Dec 9-8
W over #15 Justin McCoy (Virginia); Dec 7-4
W over #29 Caleb Fish (Michigan State); Dec 12-6
L to #9 Shane Griffith (Stanford); Dec 3-2
#12 Izzak Olejnik (Northern Illinois)
197 | Owen Pentz | 1-1 | 3.0 pts
W over #17 Braxton Amos (Wisconsin); Inj. 1:38
L to #1 Nino Bonaccorsi (Pittsburgh); Dec 8-2
L to #18 Tanner Harvey (Oregon State); TF 20-5 6:52
149 | Kellyn March | 1-2 | 2.5 pts
L to #20 Graham Rooks (Indiana); Dec 4-3
W over #29 Dylan Chappell (Bucknell); Fall 4:14
L to #14 Austin Gomez (Wisconsin); MD 9-1
133 | McGwire Midkiff | 0-2
L to #33 Ethan Oakley (Appalachian State); Dec 5-3
L to #30 Ethan Rotondo (Cal Poly); Dec 7-2
184 | DJ Parker | 0-2
L to #4 Trey Munoz (Oregon State); Dec 2-1
L to #13 Lenny Pinto (Nebraska); Dec 7-1