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ndsu wrestling
FILE PHOTO | THE SPECTRUM
NDSU wrestling team will start its first season in the Big 12 conference coached by Roger Kish.

Prepare for yet another impressive season from a driven and dedicated Bison squad.

Following two successful seasons in 2013-14 and 2014-15, the North Dakota State wrestling team has earned the opportunity to compete in the Big 12 Conference against even greater competition, like Air Force and Iowa State University.

After making this change in the final stretch of last season, the team (ranked 20th) is now a part of one of the country’s top wrestling conferences.

After taking 23rd place in the NCAA Championships last year (one of the most successful finishes since the Bison made the jump to Division I) the team has been putting in hours of practice in order to increase its chances this year of improving even upon that.

Coaching the Bison to multiple victories since the 2011-12 season is Roger Kish. Along with individual victories among team members, the Bison are looking for its third consecutive NCAA West Regional Championship.

Entering his senior season with hundreds of matches under his belt (including one 6th place finish in the NCAA Division I Championships last year) Hayden Zillmer is one wrestler to keep your eye on.

After an impressive finish last year, Zillmer was one of two Bison wrestlers to receive All-American honors. As far as this season goes, FloWrestling (a wrestling ranking system) ranks Zillmer fifth best in the country.

Wrestling at 184 pounds, he has the experience and talent to set himself apart from the rest.

However, Zillmer is not alone at the top.

Another Bison expecting a record-breaking season is junior Josh Rodriguez.

After being ranked 12th place in FloWrestling, Rodriguez is certainly a competitor to watch out for. The California native was named the 2015 NCAA West Regional/WWC Most Outstanding wrestler for his efforts at his first NCAA tournament.

Although the Bison are expected to have an impressive season. The loss of Kurtis Julson is something that may sting for a while. After taking 8th place in the 174 weight division and being the only other WWC wrestler (other than Zillmer) to earn All-American honors, his presence and talent on the team will be missed now that he is graduated.

After coming off of two consecutive NCAA West Regional Championships, the Bison are likely to be a top competitor in the conference. With a goal of qualifying as many wrestlers as possible into the NCAA postseason, the team is prepared for the next level of competition. Looking to top the six national qualifiers sent last year, the team has plenty of work to do.

The Bison begin their home opener on Friday, November 6 at the Bentson Bunker Fieldhouse .

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