Division I’s dominant conference sets a new bar as Big Ten has 12 ranked in Top 25

Manheim, Pennsylvania – Realignment in college sports has caused some interesting anomalies when it comes to conference names. Two of the most obvious examples are the Big Ten Conference, with 14 all-sports members and the Big 12, which has 10. Wrestling alignments have expanded and contracted conference sponsorship with the abundance of affiliate members as well.

For the first time in college wrestling history, the Big Ten Conference also has 12 of its 14 teams ranked as Illinois and Michigan State entered this week’s NWCA Division I Wrestling Coaches Poll released on Tuesday.

Previously, the conference had 11 teams ranked on 17 different occasions, all since 2014 with the first occurrence happening on December 16, 2014. Not surprisingly, the Big Ten also five teams ranked in the top seven, including No. 1 Iowa (0-0), No. 2 Penn State (0-0), and No. 3 Michigan (2-0).

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Franek Wins Twice to Highlight Bison Split Against UNI, SDSU

BROOKINGS, S.D. – No. 13-ranked Jared Franek won both of his matches at 157 pounds to help North Dakota State split a pair of Big 12 Conference wrestling duals Sunday, Jan. 10, at Frost Arena.

Franek’s 4-2 decision over 20th-ranked Cade DeVos in the sudden-victory period propelled NDSU to a 21-13 victory over South Dakota State after the Bison fell 27-11 to 23rd-ranked Northern Iowa. Franek won a 5-1 decision against Cayd Lara of UNI in the earlier dual.

NDSU (2-2) won seven of 10 matches against South Dakota State including a 6-4 decision at 174 pounds by Luke Weber over Cade King at 174 pounds. Weber recorded a takedown with 4 seconds left for the victory, his second of the season.

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NDSU in Brookings Sunday to Face Northern Iowa, South Dakota State

North Dakota State (1-1) is scheduled to wrestle a pair of dual meets against Big 12 Conference opponents Northern Iowa (0-0) and South Dakota State (1-1) this Sunday, Jan. 10, in Brookings, S.D. NDSU faces UNI at 4 p.m. and SDSU at 6 p.m. in Frost Arena. The event begins at 2 p.m. with South Dakota State hosting Northern Iowa.

This is the 26th meeting between North Dakota State and Northern Iowa. UNI leads the series 21-3-1 including a 21-19 victory in the teams’ last meeting Nov. 19, 2017, in Cedar Falls. … This is the 66th meeting between North Dakota State and South Dakota State. NDSU has a 43-21-1 advantage in the all-time series. The Bison have won two straight including last year’s 19-18 victory in Brookings. The teams will wrestle again Feb. 7 in Fargo in the annual Border Bell match.

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Northern Colorado enters Coaches Poll for the first time in decades

Manheim, Pennsylvania – It’s been 18,934 days since the Bears of the University of Northern Colorado were ranked in the NWCA Division I Wrestling Coaches Poll. After opening up their season with a victory on the road against Wyoming, coach Troy Nickerson’s squad entered at No. 25 in the latest Top 25, released Tuesday.

The school was known as Colorado State College the last time it appeared in the rankings and for decades, the Greeley, Colorado school was the flag-bearer for the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference wrestling scene. The 1968-69 team finished the regular season ranked No. 6, which was the last time the school spent time in the rankings.

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NDSU Tops Oregon State 19-15, Falls to No. 10 Missouri in Season Openers

FARGO, N.D. – Heavyweight Brandon Metz won the final bout by sudden victory to lift North Dakota State to a 19-15 win over Oregon State in the wrestling season opener Sunday, Jan. 3, in the Scheels Center at the Sanford Health Athletic Complex. The Bison lost their second match of the day to 10th-ranked Missouri, 38-3.

Metz, a junior from West Fargo, N.D., recorded a takedown with 4 seconds left in the first overtime period to secure a 9-7 decision over Oregon State’s Brian Barnes. Metz led most of the way before falling behind 7-6 in the third period and getting an escape to tie the score.

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