The NDSU wrestling team hasn’t been the best home team this season. They have had two matches at home this season and have lost both of them. Although, when you look at their away record you may be surprised. They are undefeated on the road this season, winning four matches. Over Christmas break the Bison wrestling team competed in two matches and a two-day tournament in Illinois.
The Bison traveled to Evanston, Ill., for the Midlands Championships, which took place on Dec. 29-30. This tournament was hosted by Northwestern University. The Bison team took home 11th place with 54 points. There were 44 teams that participated in the tournament.
Bison senior Steven Monk took home NDSU’s first individual title at the Midlands Championships. He won the 165-pound championship match with a 4-2 decision over No. 4-ranked Nick Moore of Iowa.
Hayden Zillmer, a Bison sophomore, finished third in the consolation bracket at 174 pounds. He won by decision in all four of his matches and finished the tournament with a record of 6-1. Zillmer lost to Southern Oregon’s Brock Gutches by a 2-1 decision. This third-place finish put Zillmer as the second-highest Midlands finisher in school history. NDSU junior Kurtis Julson finished in seventh at 184 pounds by virtue of a medical forfeit over eighth-ranked Vic Avery of Edinboro.
The Bison started 2014 off on the right foot. They won eight out of 10 possible matches to reel in the 35-6 dual victory at Cal Poly on Jan. 4. Clay Cathey, the 141 pounder, and Tyler Lehmann, the 197-pounder, had first-period pins. Steven Monk and Hayden Zillmer both had technical falls. Starting out the dual was redshirt freshman Hunter Weber taking a 3-0 decision over Britain Longmire at 125 pounds. No. 20-ranked Devon Lotito in a 6-1 decision at 133 pounds, defeated Bison senior Justin LaValle.
Both Tyler Diamond and Nick Olejnik of NDSU posted decisions at 149 pounds and 157 pounds. Kurtis Julson won with a 16-2 decision over Cal Poly’s Kent Beecham at 184 pounds. This was also the first dual meet that Tyler Lehmann appeared in for NDSU.
After the Bison beat up on Cal Poly, they then took their talents to Bakersfield, California on Jan. 6. The Bison claimed victories in the last five weight classes to earn a 27-12 victory over California State University.
NDSU was down by six points through the first five matches, but the Bison made a great comeback to get the win. Over the final five matches of the dual they outscored CSU 21-0. Hunter Weber pinning Matt Correa at 125 pounds opened the dual, and then CSU answered by winning the next four weight classes by decisions. Steven Monk started the comeback for the Bison by winning with an 8-2 decision over David Meza. Up next was Hayden Zillmer and he won with a technical fall at 174 pounds. The Bison took the lead with a score of 14-12.
Kurtis Julson won his match with a 13-4 decision over Sean Pollock at the 184-weight class. The win was sealed with Tyler Lehmann’s pin on Reuben Franklin in a quick 44 seconds. The dual was closed out with Bison heavyweight Evan Knutson posting a 2-1 decision for NDSU.
The Bison will have their next match Friday when they travel to Boise State.