FARGO, N.D. – The North Dakota State wrestling team will open the 2023-24 season on Saturday, Nov. 4 against No. 9/5 Nebraska. The dual will begin at 2 p.m. inside the Scheels Center.
Saturday’s meeting will be the 15th all-time between Nebraska and the Bison, with the Huskers holding a 9-4-1 record in the series. However, after an 11-year break in the series, NDSU upset No. 8 Nebraska last season, 20-16, in Lincoln. The Bison are 1-2 against the Huskers in the Division I era.
Seven different Bison, including two true freshmen, are lined up to potentially make their dual debuts for North Dakota State on Saturday. Aidan Brenot, Adam Cherne, Devon Dawson, Lathan Duda, Brendan Howes, Landen Johnson, and Max Petersen are scheduled to wear the Bison singlet in the opener.
Scheels Center Dual First Timers
Nine Bison are in the projected lineups to potentially make their Scheels Center debut for a dual on Saturday. Walker Bents, Aidan Brenot, Adam Cherne, Devon Dawson, Gavin Drexler, Lathan Duda, Brendan Howes, Landen Johnson, and Max Petersen are lined up to wear the Bison singlet in front of the home crowd for the first time in dual competition.
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.
Saturday’s dual will be streamed live on NDSU All-Access. The dual will also have live results. Links for coverage will be available on GoBison.com.
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. In the InterMat rankings the Bison reached No. 12, which marks the highest the Bison have ever been ranked in any poll in the Division I era.
The Blanc Era Begins
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 Big 12 Champions, as well as two All-American honors last season.
March Looking to Build Off on Nationals Appearance
Senior Kellyn March is the lone returning Bison national qualifier and is set to lead a young crop of Bison, with just two other upperclassmen in the projected lineup. March had a breakout junior season, more than doubling his win total (25-9), recording five ranked wins, and also picking up four wins at the Big 12 Championships (4th place finish) and a win in the national championships (1-2). March also owns the fastest two pins in dual competition in the NDSU Division I era, recording pins in 12 and 13 seconds.
Of the 34 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 #12 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, 184) having dual experience. The Bison have 10 redshirt freshmen and 10 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.
- The Bison have three returning starters from last season; 125 – Carlos Negrete Jr., 149 – #12 Kellyn March, and 174 – Gaven Sax. 11 Bison on the roster appeared in at least one dual last season.
- Redshirt Freshman Fernando Barreto (133) recorded a victory in his only dual appearance last season, defeating Anthony Sobotker of Binghamton in a 3-1 decision.
- Redshirt Freshman Gavin Drexler (141) won his dual debut last season, defeating Christian Nunez of California Baptist by major decision, 11-2. Drexler later battled eventual All-American Clay Carlson of South Dakota State in a dual, falling by a 7-4 decision.
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.
Four of NDSU’s Six home duals this season have been selected as television games for WDAY Xtra. The Bison 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.
The Bison at Home
NDSU holds a 286-122-8 (.697) record at home over the course of the program’s 66-year history. Since January of 2019, the Bison are 20-7 (.741) with six of the seven losses coming against ranked opposition.
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.
Bison wrestling will remain at home as North Dakota State welcomes in several programs for the 52nd annual Bison Open wrestling tournament on Saturday, Nov. 11. The event is set to get underway at 9 a.m. inside the Scheels Center.