NDSU Hosts Virginia in Non-Conference Dual

FARGO, N.D. – After a week off over Thanksgiving Break, North Dakota State wrestling jumps back into action and returns to the Scheels Center for a dual against Virginia on Saturday, Dec. 2. The dual with the Cavaliers is set for a 7 p.m. start and will be televised live on WDAY Xtra.

Tickets are available online at GoBison.com/tickets or by calling or visiting the Bison Ticket Office, located in the south lobby of the Sanford Health Athletic Complex. Tickets will also be available on Friday night and Sunday at the door. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for youth ages 3-17.

Saturday night’s dual against Virginia will be televised live on WDAY Xtra. Cullen Holt (play-by-play) and Jack Maughan (color) will have the call. Check GoBison.com for full channel listings and coverage areas.

The dual against the Cavaliers will also be streamed live on NDSU All-Access. The dual will also have live results. Links for coverage will be available on GoBison.com.

Ranked Bison
Three Bison are ranked in this week’s edition FloWrestling and InterMat rankings. Senior 149 pounder Kellyn March sits at No. 10 overall in InterMat and No. 12 in Flo, while redshirt freshman 141 pounder Gavin Drexler sits at No. 26 in Flo and No. 30 in InterMat. Junior 174 pounder Gaven Sax sits at No. 22 in the Flo rankings.

Series History
The Bison and Virginia will meet for the sixth time on Saturday, with the Cavaliers holding a slight 3-2 advantage in the series, including the only match in Fargo in 2015. NDSU won the last meeting, claiming a 27-13 victory in January of 2017 at the Virginia Duals hosted in Hampton, Virginia.

Cherne With Stellar Dual Debut
184-pound true freshman Adam Cherne made a statement in his dual debut with a big upset at Oklahoma, defeating #19 Giuseppe Hoose. Cherne won in dominating fashion by 18-6 major decision. He recorded four takedowns and had a four-point near fall, escape and riding time in just his second collegiate appearance.

Quick Pins

  • Redshirt freshman Landen Johnson (157) scored his first dual and first Big 12 victory with a 7-3 decision against Oklahoma’s Jared Hill on Nov. 19. Johnson used a takedown and four-point nearfall, along with a full third period ride to claim the win in just his second dual start for the Bison.
  • Redshirt freshmen Gavin Drexler (141) and Max Petersen (149) claimed their first Bison Open titles in mid-November. Drexler capped off his title by defeating then-No. 24 Vance Vombaur of Minnesota by a 6-4 decision. Petersen scored a 10-8 decision over then-No. #17 Drew Roberts of Minnesota in his 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.

Petersen Named Second Big 12 Wrestler of the Week
Max Petersen was named the Big 12 Wrestler of the Week following the Bison Open. Petersen earned the award after an individual title at the Bison Open that included defeating Minnesota’s then No. 17 Drew Roberts by a 10-8 decision in the championship match.

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.

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, Blanc has guided NDSU wrestlers to all three of NDSU’s individual Big 12 Championships, as well as two All-American honors last season.

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.

Young Herd
Of the 30 Bison suiting up in the NDSU singlet this season, just four are upperclassmen, including one junior college transfer. The Bison have two 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 seven sophomores, with just two (Carlos Negrete Jr., 125, and Spencer Mooberry, 197) having dual experience entering the year. The Bison have 10 redshirt freshmen and nine true freshmen, both classes ranking in the top 25 recruiting rankings, that look to fight for starting spots this season. 13 of the 19 were ranked in the last two top recruiting big boards.

Strong Dual Schedule Awaits
The 2023-24 schedule includes 15 duals with eight match ups 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.

TV Time
Four of the Bison’s six home duals this season have been selected as television games for WDAY Xtra. NDSU’s match ups 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.

Up Next
The Bison will be back in action next Sunday, as the Herd makes a trip to the Twin Cities for the first time since 2011 to face Minnesota in dual action. NDSU is slated for a 2 p.m. start against the Gophers at the Maturi Pavilion, with the dual being streamed live on B1G+.

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