FARGO, N.D. – The North Dakota State wrestling team travels to Tulsa, Oklahoma, this weekend for the Big 12 Championships on Saturday, March 4, and Sunday, March 5, at the BOK Center.
Tickets for the 2023 Big 12 Wrestling Championship are available through TicketMaster. General admission seats start as low as $37, while reserved seating is $57, and premium reserved and club seating are available for $112 and $122, respectively. A link to purchase tickets can be found on the wrestling schedule page at gobison.com.
All matches from each of the four sessions will be available on the ESPN app through Big 12 Now on ESPN+. The championship round will be televised live on ESPNU. Live statistics for the event will be available through TrackWrestling. Links are available on GoBison.com.
Saturday, March 4
Session 1: Preliminary & Quarterfinal Matches — 10:00 a.m.
Session 2: Semifinal & Consolation Quarterfinal Matches — 5:00 p.m.
Sunday, March 5
Session 3: Consolation Semifinals, Third, Fifth & Seventh Place Matches — 12:00 p.m.
Session 4: Championship Matches — 8:00 p.m.
Franek Leads Seven Bison Pre-Seeded
Franek, who is ranked No. 2 in the country in the 157-pound weight class, picked up the top seed after posting a 19-1 record 8-0 Big 12), with his only loss coming to the current No. 1 wrestler in the very first match of the season.
Michael Caliendo picked up the No. 3 seed in the 165-pound class. The redshirt freshman is 20-2 on the season, with his only two losses coming against the last two NCAA National Champions in the weight class. Kellyn March will be seeded in the fourth spot in the 149-pound bracket. DJ Parker and Owen Pentz each picked up a fifth seed in the 184 and 197-pound divisions, respectively. McGwire Midkiff and Dylan Droegemueller wrap up the pre-seedings for the Bison, taking seventh at 133 and 141 pounds.
NDSU Big 12 Championship History
The Bison, who are in year eight in the Big 12, have had a pair of conference champions since joining the conference, with the championships coming in 2020 and 2021. Current assistant coach Cam Sykora took the 133-pound title in 2020, and Luke Weber won the 165-pound title in 2021. NDSU’s nine place winners and 90.5 team points in 2020 were the most by a Bison team since making their conference debut in 2016. North Dakota State’s highest finish in the team standings was fourth place in 2017 with 82.5 points. The Bison have had 45 placing finishers in the first seven seasons, including 10 runner-up finishes and five third-place finishes.
Big 12 Allocated 65 NCAA Qualifying Spots
The Big 12 Conference has been pre-allocated 65 qualifying spots for the NCAA Division I wrestling championship to be held March 16-18 in Tulsa. After the ten automatic qualifying champions from each weight class, the Big 12 will have seven additional qualifiers at 165 pounds and heavyweight; six additional at 141, 149, and 157; five additional at 125, 133, 174, and 197; and three additional at 184. Following automatic qualification from the pre-allocations, the NCAA will announce seven at-large spots at 184, five at-large spots at 133, 165, and 174, and four at-large spots for the remaining six weight classes to complete the 33-wrestler fields for each weight class.
Bison Placing at Big 12 Championships
Heading into this weekend’s championship, the Bison have had a total of 45 placers, averaging 6.5 placers per season in the first seven trips. Aside from the two champions, NDSU has also had ten second-place finishers and five third-place finishers. Jared Franek is the most recent to finish in both spots, with runner-ups in 2021 and 2022 and a third in his debut in 2020. The ten third-place finishers, along with ten sixth-place finishers, are the most frequent placing finish for the Bison.
1st – 2 | 2nd – 10 | 3rd – 5 | 4th – 4 | 5th – 4 | 6th – 10 | 7th – 6 | 8th – 4
Highest Ranking In Program History
The Bison reached No. 15 in the NWCA Coaches Poll, the highest official ranking in the program’s Division I history. Prior to this season, the Bison had never been ranked higher than 19. In the InterMat rankings, the Bison reached No. 12, which marks the highest the Bison have ever been in any poll in the Division I era.
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.