FARGO, N.D. – North Dakota State wrestling hits the road for the first time this season as the Bison travel to Norman, Oklahoma, to take on former head coach Roger Kish and the Oklahoma Sooners on Sunday, Nov. 19. The dual is set for a noon start inside the McCasland Field House.
Sunday’s dual with the Sooners will be streamed live on ESPN+. The dual will also have live results. Links for coverage will be available on GoBison.com.
The Bison Lineup
125 – Carlos Negrete Jr. (So. | Fresno, Calif.), 2-2
133 – Fernando Barreto (RFr. | Pomona, Calif.), 0-1 or Ryan Henningson (Sr. | Winona, Minn.), 1-2
141 – #26 Gavin Drexler (RFr. | Stratford, Wisc.), 4-0
149 – #11 Kellyn March (Sr. | Canton, S.D.), 1-2 or Max Petersen (RFr. | Byron, Minn.), 3-0
157 – Landen Johnson (RFr. | Owatonna, Minn.), 3-2 or Boeden Greenley (Fr. | Lisbon, N.D.), 2-1
165 – Brendan Howes (RFr. | Ramsey, Minn.), 2-2
174 – #23 Gaven Sax (Jr. | St. Robert, Mo.), 1-0
184 – Aidan Brenot (Fr. | Clarksville, Tenn.), 2-3 or Adam Cherne (Fr. | Medina, Minn.), 3-1
197 – Spencer Mooberry (So. | Osage, Iowa), 4-2
285 – Devon Dawson (Jr. | Brooklyn Park, Minn.), 2-2
Three Bison are ranked in this week’s edition FloWrestling and InterMat rankings. Senior 149-pounder Kellyn March sits at No. 11 overall in both polls, while redshirt freshman 141-pounder Gavin Drexler climbs to No. 26 in Flo and No. 30 in IM after his 4-0 start, including a Bison Open title last week. Junior 174-pounder Gaven Sax sits at No. 23 in the Flo rankings following his ranked win to open the season.
Petersen Named Big 12 Wrestler of the Week
Max Petersen was named the Big 12 Wrestler of the Week on Tuesday. Petersen earned the award after an individual title at the Bison Open in the 149-pound bracket. Petersen capped off the title with an upset in the championship match, defeating Minnesota’s then No. 17 Drew Roberts by a 10-8 decision. The Big award is the first for Petersen and the seventh overall for NDSU, including the second straight.
After 12 years with Roger Kish lining up on the North Dakota State bench, Sunday’s dual will see the Bison looking at the former head man as an opposition for the first time. Kish was 108-70 all-time with the Bison, the second-winningest coach in program history, behind only the legendary Bucky Maughan.
Potential Dual Debuts
Two Bison, 157-pound freshman Boeden Greenley and 184-pound freshman Adam Cherne, are in the projected lineup for Sunday’s dual at Oklahoma. An appearance by either true freshman will be a first in a Bison singlet in a dual. Both wrestlers took second overall in their respective weight classes last week at the Bison Open.
- Gavin Drexler (141) improved to 4-0 on the season following a Bison Open title last weekend. Drexler capped off the title by defeating then-No. 24 Vance Vombaur of Minnesota by a 6-4 decision.
- Max Petersen (149) scored his first Bison Open title as well last weekend, recording a pair of ranked wins in the process. Petersen defeated No. 11 Kellyn March by injury in the first before claiming the top spot with a 10-8 decision over then-No. #17 Drew Roberts in the championship match.
- Four Bison (Carlos Negrete Jr.-125, Boeden Greenley-157, Brendan Howes-165, and Adam Cherne-184) claimed runner-up finishes at last week’s Bison Open.
The Beginning of the Blanc Era
With the departure of Roger Kish after 12 seasons in Fargo, top assistant Obenson Blanc has taken over the reins of the Herd. Since Blanc’s arrival in Fargo, he has guided NDSU wrestlers to all three of NDSU’s individual Big 12 Championships, as well as two All-American honors last season.
Dawson Opens Bison Career with Fall
Junior transfer Devon Dawson opened up his Bison career on top like he did so many times during his time at Pratt Community College before coming to Fargo. Dawson battled into the lead before securing a late takedown and then a pin of Nebraska’s Harley Andrews at 6:20. The Brooklyn Park, Minnesota native had 41 career pins during his time at Pratt CC. He has two pins this season heading into Sunday’s dual.
Sax Scoops First Big 12 Wrestler of the Week
Gaven Sax was named the Big 12 Co-Wrestler of the Week following the opening week of the season. Sax earned the award after he took down then-No. 20 Elise Brown Ton of Nebraska in the opening dual.
Bison Looking to Build Off Historic Season
Last year, NDSU reached No. 15 in the NWCA Coaches Poll, the highest official ranking in the program’s Division I history. Prior to 2022-23, the Bison had never been ranked higher than 19. The Bison also reached as high as No. 12 in the InterMat rankings, the highest in any poll in the Division I era.
Of the 33 Bison set to suit up in the NDSU singlet this season, just five are upperclassmen, including one junior college transfer. The Bison have three returning seniors, led by 149-pound NCAA qualifier #11 Kellyn March, and one returning junior, two-time Big 12 Championship participant Gaven Sax at 174.
The Bison have nine sophomores, with just two (Carlos Negrete Jr., 125, and Spencer Mooberry, 197) having dual experience. The Bison have ten redshirt freshmen and ten true freshmen, both classes ranking in the top 25 recruiting rankings, that look to fight for starting spots this season. 13 of the 20 were ranked in the last two top recruiting big boards.
Strong Dual Schedule Awaits
The 2023-24 schedule includes 15 duals with eight matchups against traditional Power 5 programs, including Nebraska, Oklahoma, Virginia, Minnesota, Stanford, Purdue, Oregon State, and Missouri, along with traditional mid-major powers Campbell, Northern Colorado, Wyoming and South Dakota State.
Four of NDSU’s Six home duals this season have been selected as television games for WDAY Xtra. The Bison matchups against Virginia, California Baptist, Air Force and Missouri will be televised live and broadcast across the state of North Dakota, Eastern Montana and Western Minnesota on WDAY Xtra. Check GoBison.com for full channel listings and coverage areas.
NCAA D1 Qualifiers
The Bison have had 64 NCAA Div. I qualifiers in 15 years of postseason eligibility, including 21 over the last four seasons. Rich in wrestling history, the Bison sent 26 to NCAA Div. I Championships from 1971 to 1991, bringing the total to 90. The Bison have 12 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, while Jared Franek and Michael Caliendo earned All-American honors last season.
The Bison will have a week off over Thanksgiving Break before jumping back into action and returning to the Scheels Center for a dual match-up against Virginia. The dual with the Cavaliers is set for a 7 p.m. start on Saturday, Dec. 2, and will be televised live on WDAY Xtra.