South Dakota State wrestling coach Damion Hahn recaps the team’s outing at the 2023 NCAA wrestling championships.
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Minnesota Closes Out NCAA Championships
TULSA, Okla. – The 2022-23 season has come to a close for the University of Minnesota wrestling program, as Aaron Nagao and Michael Blockhus locked in their spots on the NCAA podium on Saturday morning.
Nagao opened up the session in the consolation semifinals in a rematch with Oklahoma State’s Daton Fix. It was a back-and-forth bout that appeared to be heading to overtime as Nagao had the riding time advantage to send the match to overtime, but Fix earned a reversal in the final fifteen seconds to steal a 6-4 win.
Nagao then dropped to the fifth-place match, where he would once again face Jesse Mendez of Ohio State. This time around, Nagao dominated from start to finish, securing a takedown off the opening whistle and tallying nearly three minutes of riding time en route to a 4-0 decision.
Sloan comes up short in championship match
TULSA, Okla. — Top-seeded Nino Bonaccorsi of Pittsburgh controlled the final two periods to defeat South Dakota State’s Tanner Sloan, 5-3, in the national title bout at 197 pounds Saturday night at BOK Center.
Sloan, a senior from Alburnett, Iowa, who has a year of eligibility remaining, was the aggressor early. After nearly putting Bonaccorsi on his back midway through the first period, Sloan opened the scoring with a takedown with 25 seconds remaining in the opening period.
After Sloan escaped to open the second period for a 3-0 lead, Bonaccorsi began to find his footing. He tallied his first takedown of the match moments after Sloan’s escape and rode out the remainder of the period to build up more than a minute of riding time.
NDSU’s Franek Takes Fourth, Caliendo Seventh at NCAA Championships
TULSA, Okla. – Jared Franek took fourth overall and Michael Caliendo finished seventh to cap the NCAA Championships for North Dakota State wrestling on Saturday at the BOK Center.
Franek started off the morning in the 157-pound consolation semifinals by avenging his season opening loss to #3 Peyton Robb of Nebraska to reach the third-place match. After both wrestlers picked up an escape in regulation, the Harwood, N.D. native secured a takedown in the final seconds of sudden victory to defeat Robb 3-1.
Franek, who was also named the Elite 90 award winner for the second time Saturday evening ahead of the finals, would fall to #5 Josh Humphreys of Lehigh for the second-time at the NCAA Championships in the third-place match. His fourth-place finish is tied for the second-best finish at the NCAA Division I Championships in program history, and is the highest finish for a Bison since Steven Monk took third at 165 pounds in 2014.
NCAA DI National Championships
2023 NCAA Division I National Championships results. March 16-18 in Tulsa, OK.
NDSU’s Jared Franek Repeats As Winner of NCAA Elite 90 Award
TULSA, Okla. – North Dakota State’s Jared Franek is the recipient of the Elite 90 award for the second straight season, as the NCAA presented the Harwood, North Dakota native with the award prior to Saturday night’s championship round at the BOK Center.
Franek, a senior 157-pound wrestler for the Bison, has a 4.00 grade-point average majoring in sport management with a minor in business administration.
Franek is North Dakota State’s 19th Elite 90 award winner across five different sports, and he is the fourth Bison to win the award multiple times, joining Carson Wentz (3x), Clay Ream (3x) and Cole Wisniewski (2x). It is the fifth award for the wrestling program since 2016.