The North Dakota State wrestling team placed 11 athletes in the final matches on Saturday afternoon at the 45th annual Bison Open.
There were only 10 weight classes — in two of the final matches, Bison wrestlers were facing teammates — and the Bison won eight of them.
The Bison Open champions from NDSU were Josh Rodriguez, Nick O’Brien, Kyla Gliva, Andrew Fogarty, Tyler McNutt, Hayden Zillmer, Cordell Eaton and Ben Tynan.
Junior Josh Rodriguez decidedly won his third Bison Open championship. Like last year, he won in the 125-pound group. In 2012, he was the 133-pound champion.
He scored a 20-7 major decision against South Dakota State’s Cameron Sykora.
“I came in with a game plan of really opening up my offense trying to work on top, getting some turns,” Rodriguez said. “If that didn’t work, I would just go back to my feet.”
Senior Hayden Zillmer won his second straight 184-pound title with a pin at 4:28 over Timothy Young, who was wrestling unattached. It was Zillmer’s second pin of the day.
His other matches were hardly contests; his record now sits at 9-0 this season.
Zillmer is ranked sixth nationally.
People say that the heavier weight classes are less fun to watch. They probably haven’t seen junior transfer All-American Ben Tynan.
Last week when the Bison hosted Birginia, Tynan’s 285-pound match against Pat Gillen went into sudden death, where Tynan won 7-5 after a takedown.
Visibly pumped up, the bleached circled the mat with arms spread and nodding proudly.
Saturday was nothing different — after a major decision victory he stood and pointed straight at the camera and celebrated in front of over 600 fans.
“This was just an opportunity for our guys to get out on the mats and put into practice what we have been working on the last couple weeks,” head coach Roger Kish said. “They were ready to go.”
Other winners were Nick O’Brian at 133-pounds, Kyle Gliva at 149-pounds, Andrew Fogarty 157-pounds, Tyler McNutt at 165-pounds, and Cordell Eaton at 197-pounds.
Although not a winner after a first round loss, senior Mitchell Friedman (141 pounds) fought his way back through the consolation bracket to finish third.
The Bison host Virginia Tech on Sunday.