NDSU’s most famous athletics team may not be playing right now, but that doesn’t mean other Bison sports haven’t enjoyed a recent run of success. The winter athletics squads are posting banner years, and are receiving deserved accolades.
The NDSU wrestling team, now in its second year as a member of the Big 12, is nationally ranked. The Herd, with a 12-3 record on the season, rank No. 23 in the USA Today/National Wrestling Coaches Association Poll. NDSU joins Oklahoma and South Dakota State representing the Big 12 conference in the poll. This is the third consecutive week in which the Bison have cracked the national top 25. TrackWrestling’s national rankings have the Bison highest, ranking them in a tie for No. 18 with the University of North Carolina. Also, in NWCA’s mid-major poll, the wrestling team ranks No. 7.
In addition to the team honors, individual wrestlers have been recognized for their achievements this season. Redshirt freshmen Cam Sykora and Andrew Fogarty rank No. 25 and No. 20 in their respective classes. Redshirt junior Clay Ream ranks 8th in the 157 pound weight class, and in the heavyweight class, senior Ben Tynan ranks No. 25. Posting wins in both his bouts last weekend, Tynan was awarded Big 12 wrestler of the week honors for the first time as well. Highlighting the individual wrestlers is Josh Rodriguez of the 125 pound class. Rodriguez, with a 17-1 record this season, ranks highest of the Bison, at No. 4 in the nation in his class.
Both the NDSU men’s and women’s track and field teams have achieved national rankings in various events. In the weight throw, the men’s team ranks number one in the country. School record holder Payton Otterdahl and the rest of the top four Bison throwers lead the nation with an average throw of 19.64 meters, more than one meter ahead of second ranked Northern Iowa. In the shot put, averaging 17.97 meters, the Bison rank second to University of Virginia by a minuscule 0.01 meters. The men’s side also ranks No. 6 in the nation in the heptathlon, with an average score of 4,595.
The women’s throwers rank No. 1 in the nation in both the weight throw and shot put. The women average 19.27 meters in the weight throw and 15.14 meters in the shot put. Katelyn Weimerskirch is number one on the team in the weight throw, and Courtney Pasiowitz tops the shot put. Six of the top ten weight throwers in school history are currently on the team. Additionally, the women’s pentathlon ranks No. 5 in the United States, averaging 3,442 points. On the track, the Bison are No. 13 in the 400m, with a time of 55.34 seconds.
Thanks to dominating Summit League play, including an impressive win over Fort Wayne, the NDSU men’s basketball team has climbed to 19th in CollegeInsiders.com’s mid-major rankings. Fort Wayne, ranked tenth in the preseason mid-major poll, dropped below the Bison. At 7-1 in the conference, the Herd look to be well on their way to another visit to March Madness.
While the seasons, both meteorological and athletic, are turning towards spring, NDSU’s winter athletes are enjoying the final few weeks of winter.