No. 21/23 Bison Host Air Force to Open WWC Slate

The North Dakota State wrestling team, ranked No. 21 in the nation by Intermat and No. 23 in the USA Today/NWCA/AWN Division I Coaches Poll, will return to Fargo this Friday, Jan. 24, to host Air Force in the Western Wrestling Conference opener for both schools.

The dual between the Bison and the Falcons is set to begin at 7 p.m. inside the Bison Sports Arena.


All home duals will be streamed live online at, and live scoring will be provided through TrackWrestling.

Series History
This will be the 13th dual meet between Air Force and NDSU, with the Bison holding a 10-2 lead in the all-time series. NDSU has won seven of the eight duals between the two schools since 2006.

About Air Force
The Falcons enter Friday’s dual with an overall record of 8-3, with all eight victories coming against non-Division I opponents. Most recently, Air Force dropped a 30-3 decision at No. 20 Oregon State on Jan. 18.

Sophomore 125-pounder Josh Martinez is ranked fifth in the nation. He owns an overall record of 24-2 this season and a perfect dual mark of 7-0.

Air Force will also wrestle at South Dakota State on Sunday, Jan. 26, on this trip.

North Dakota StateAir ForceHunter Weber

(10-7, 5-4 duals)

RFr., Marshall, Wis.125No. 5 Josh Martinez

(24-2, 7-0 duals)

So., Colorado Springs, Colo.Justin LaValle

(9-6, 5-2 duals)

Sr., West Fargo, N.D.133Greg Rinker OR Carter

(10-9, 4-4 duals) | (15-5, 3-0 duals)

Sr., Northampton, Pa. | Jr., Colorado Springs, Colo.Clay Cathey

(14-11, 3-5 duals)

RFr., Billings, Mont.141David Walker

(17-8, 8-3 duals)

Fr., St. Marys, IowaTyler Diamond

(7-11, 2-7 duals)

Sr., Oroville, Calif.149Natrelle Demison OR Jerry

(15-8, 6-4 duals) | (14-7, 1-0 duals)

Fr., Bakersfield, Calif. | Fr., Colorado Springs, Colo.Nick Olejnik

(7-11, 2-3 duals)

Fr., Wildwood, Mo.157Josh Kreimier OR Daniel

(7-4, 6-2 duals) | (11-6, 2-0 duals)

Sr., Fort Collins, Colo. | Sr., Memphis, Tenn.No. 3 Steven Monk

(20-1, 9-0 duals)

Sr., Wausau, Wis.165Jesse Stafford

(17-7, 7-3 duals)

Jr., Loomis, Calif.No. 10/11 Hayden Zillmer

(19-4, 8-1 duals)

So., Crosby, Minn.174Scott Reilly OR Konner

(14-11, 4-6 duals) | (18-6, 6-1 duals)

So., Stafford, Va. | So., Oak Harbor, OhioKurtis Julson

(13-7, 5-4 duals)

Jr., Inver Grove Heights, Minn.184Scott Reilly OR Konner

(14-11, 4-6 duals) | (18-6, 6-1 duals)

So., Stafford, Va. | So., Oak Harbor, OhioTyler Lehmann

(7-2, 3-1 duals)

RFr., Fargo, N.D.197Parker Hines OR Greg

(11-6, 1-4 duals) | (8-7, 2-1 duals)

Fr., Ellsworth, Wis. | Sr., Toledo, OhioEvan Knutson

(11-7, 5-2 duals)

Jr., Wausau, Wis.285Cody Davis

(0-1, 0-1 duals)

Sr., The Woodlands, Texas

Rankings Summary
NDSU is ranked No. 21 in the nation in the latest Intermat rankings, which order teams based on projected NCAA Tournament placing.

The Bison are ranked No. 23 in the nation in the USA Today/NWCA/AWN Division I Coaches Poll, which ranks dual strength.

Senior Steven Monk is third in the nation at 165 pounds, and sophomore Hayden Zillmer is 10th at 174 pounds.

Unbeaten in Conference
NDSU went a perfect 5-0 in WWC duals last season to win the league regular season title.

Last Season
The Bison rattled off victories in each of the final five matches to claim a 23-15 victory over Air Force in the Western Wrestling Conference opener for both schools in Colorado Springs on Jan. 25 of last season.

NDSU faced a 15-6 deficit after the first five matches but posted a technical fall and four decisions to close out the dual on a 17-0 run.

No. 6 Steven Monk swung the momentum back in NDSU’s favor with a dominant 17-1 technical fall at 165 pounds. Sophomore Kurtis Julson (174) and senior Mac Stoll (184) each posted overtime victories, and Kallen Kleinschmidt and Evan Knutson were able to seal the victory with decisions at the final two weights.

Lehmann Debuts
Bison redshirt freshman and Fargo native Tyler Lehmann has wrestled at 197 pounds for the Bison in the four duals since the start of January. Lehmann won each of his first three dual meet appearances with pins in the first period before falling to No. 12-ranked Taylor Meeks at Oregon State on Jan. 19.

Bison Conquer No. 20 Oregon State
Three straight victories in the middle of the lineup helped key a 19-17 victory for the North Dakota State wrestling team over the Oregon State Beavers on Jan. 19 in Corvallis, Ore.

After dropping three consecutive weight classes and falling behind to Oregon State 11-9, third-ranked Steven Monk recaptured the lead for the Bison at 165 pounds with a 9-0 major decision over Toney Chay.

Following Monk at 174 pounds, No. 12/13 Hayden Zillmer picked up three points for the Bison, using a takedown in the sudden victory period to register a 3-1 win over Joe Latham. NDSU junior Kurtis Julson extended the team lead to 19-11 with a 9-4 decision at 184 pounds.

The victory gave NDSU its first win in the series against Oregon State, which had won the previous four meetings between the two schools. The Beavers were ranked No. 20 coming into this week in the latest USA Today/NWCA/AWN Division I Coaches Poll and at one time this season were ranked No. 11.

Up Next
NDSU travels to Madison, Wis., on Feb. 2 for a showdown with the Wisconsin Badgers of the Big Ten Conference.

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