NDSU’s Sax into Big 12 Championship Final

TULSA, Okla. – North Dakota State wrestling 174-pounder Gaven Sax earned a spot in the 2024 Big 12 Championship final on Saturday following a trio of wins, including a pair of seed upsets.

Sax, who entered as the No. 7 seed, started his day with a 15-0 first-period tech fall of Wyoming’s Quayin Short. In the quarterfinal Saturday afternoon, Sax forced a sudden victory against No. 2 seed and 19th-ranked MJ Gaitan of Iowa State and then picked up the win with a takedown in the overtime period.

With his win over Gaitan, Sax earned a spot in the NCAA Championships in two weeks by automatic qualification. However, Sax continued his run Saturday evening and punched his ticket to the final with a win over the No. 3 seed and 21st-ranked Brayden Thompson of Oklahoma State. Sax used a reversal in the third period, along with riding time, to secure a 3-2 win.

Max Petersen will also wrestle on Sunday, advancing to the 7th-place match. The No. 6 seed started his day off with a pin of Northern Iowa’s Adam Allard in the second period but fell to No. 3 seed and 7th-ranked Ty Watters of West Virginia in the quarterfinals.

Petersen then defeated California Baptist’s Dayne Morton in the first wrestleback 4-1 but lost in a sudden victory to No. 2 seed and 17th-ranked Willie McDougald in the next match. In the seventh-place match on Sunday, Petersen will wrestle South Dakota State’s Alex Martin.

Spencer Mooberry, Gavin Drexler, and Devon Dawson also picked up points for the Bison with victories on Saturday but were eliminated in wrestlebacks. Mooberry provided one of the upsets of the day as he recorded a first-period pin of Oklahoma State’s Luke Surber in the first round. Gavin Drexler also picked up a bonus point with a major decision win in wrestlebacks over Oklahoma’s Kaden Smith, winning 8-0.

Dawson opened up with a narrow defeat to No. 3 seed and fifth-ranked Zach Elam of Missouri, falling 1-0 in the first round. Dawson then won with an upset of 15th-ranked and No. 6 seed Tyrell Gordon of Northern Iowa, winning 5-2 in the consolation bracket. Dawson then fell to No. 5 seed and 11th ranked Konnor Doucet of Oklahoma State in his next match.

Petersen will wrestle in session III on Sunday, which will begin at noon. Sax will wrestle in the championship session Sunday evening, which will begin at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN 2.

Full NDSU Results:

174 | Gaven Sax | 2-0 | 9.5 pts
W over Quayin Short (Wyoming); TF 15-0
W over #19 MJ Gaitan (Iowa State); SV-1 6-3
W over #21 Brayden Thompson (Oklahoma State); Dec 3-2
#4 Cade DeVos (South Dakota State)

Wrestlebacks
149 | Max Petersen | 2-1 | 3.5 pts
W over Adam Allard (Northern Iowa); Fall 3:21
L to #7 Ty Watters (West Virginia); MD 12-2
W over Dayne Morton (California Baptist); Dec 4-1
L to #17 Willie McDougald (Oklahoma); SV-1 8-5
#22 Alek Martin (South Dakota State)

Eliminated Wrestlers
197 | Spencer Mooberry | 1-2 | 3.0 pts
W over #16 Luke Surber (Oklahoma State); Fall 0:49
L to #6 Stephen Buchanan (Oklahoma); Fall 6:20
L to Xavier Vasquez (Northern Colorado); SV-1 4-1

141 | Gavin Drexler | 1-2 | 1.5 pts
L to #29 Haiden Drury (Utah Valley); Dec 2-0
W over Kaden Smith (Oklahoma); MD 8-0
L to #30 Cole Brooks (Wyoming); MD 14-4

285 | Devon Dawson | 1-2 | 0.5 pts
L to #5 Zach Elam (Missouri); Dec 1-0
W over #15 Tyrell Gordon (Northern Iowa); Dec 5-2
L to #11 Konner Doucet (Oklahoma State); Dec 4-0

125 | Ryan Henningson | 0-2
L to #21 Tanner Jordan (South Dakota State); Fall 5:26
L to #7 Stevo Poulin (Northern Colorado); Fall 1:09

133 | Fernando Barreto | 0-2
L to #3 Daton Fix (Oklahoma State); TF 18-3
L to Hunter Leake (California Baptist); Dec 6-2

157 | Landen Johnson | 0-2
L to #13 Ryder Downey (Northern Iowa); TF 15-0
L to Sloan Swan (Wyoming); MD 11-0

165 | Brendan Howes | 0-2
L to #8 Peyton Hall (West Virginia); TF 16-1
L to #13 Giano Petrucelli (Air Force); Dec 5-0

184 | Adam Cherne | 0-2
L to Colton Hawks (Missouri); MD 17-3
L to #8 Bennett Berge (South Dakota State); MD 17-4

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