Bison wrestlers sweep West Coast road trip

Herd wins dual #600, Caliendo knocks off defending NCAA champion

The North Dakota State University wrestling team swept a weekend road trip sneaking past the Stanford University Cardinal 18-17 and rolling over California Baptist University 38-3. The Bison (5-2, 0-1 Big 12) made history on this road trip both for the program and individual wrestlers.

NDSU 18, Stanford 17 –

            In Thursday night’s contest versus the Stanford Cardinal at the Burnham Pavilion & Ford Center ( in Stanford, Calif., the Bison jumped out to a quick 6-0 lead after wins by NDSU’s #2 ranked 157-pounder, Jared Franek and Michael Caliendo, the Bison 165-pounder. Franek, who is now the highest-ranked wrestler at #2 in NDSU’s Division I history, led off the match and decisioned Stanford’s Charlie Darracott. Franek had takedowns of Darracott in each period and riding time to contribute to his 9-2 win. Caliendo (165lbs.), DJ Parker (184lbs.), Owen Pentz (197lbs.) and Juan Mora (285lbs.) all won their matches to put the Bison up 18-3. Pentz, defeated Stanford’s Nick Stemmet, the 22nd-ranked 197-pounder, by fall at the 1:52 mark of the first period. It was Pentz’s 5th pin of the year. This dual win was #600 for NDSU who are now 600-286-18 in program history.

Caliendo defeats the Cardinal’s Griffith, the NCAA defending champion –

            Following Franek’s opening match win at 165lbs., Michael Caliendo, who entered his match ranked 15th in the country, beat the 2nd-ranked wrestler, Stanford’s Shane Griffith 6-3. Caliendo opened the match with a 2-0 lead after an opening-period takedown. In the third period, Griffith escaped Caliendo and took him down to tie the match at 3-3. But Caliendo escaped, then took Griffith down in the final seconds to secure the win. It was also revenge for Caliendo as Griffith had defeated Caliendo just days prior at the Southern Scuffle Tournament in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Bison wrestler Michael Caliendo

The win also put Caliendo in rare air in NDSU wrestling lore. The defeat of Griffith is the first time a Bison wrestler has beaten a defending national champion in the Division I era and he joins teammate Owen Pentz in beating the highest-ranked wrestler by a Bison in the same era. Pentz achieved his win at the NCAA Championships two seasons ago.

NDSU 38, California Baptist 3 –

            On Saturday evening, at Van Dyne Gym in Riverside, Calif., the Bison used two pins, a technical fall and three major decisions to roll over California Baptist University 38-3. This was the first time the Bison (6-2, 1-1 Big 12) faced the Lancers as a Big 12 opponent.

            Winning nine of the ten matches in the dual, the Bison were never seriously threatened. NDSU 125-pounder Ryan Henningson’s pin of the Lancers’ Adrian Limon at the 4:00 mark put the Bison up 9-0 and Spencer Mooberry’s pin over Caden Gerlach at 2:15 in the 197-pound match ended the dual at 38-3.

            In between, Bison captain and #2 ranked Jared Franek disposed of Cal-Baptist’s Koa Ruiz with a technical fall victory of 16-1. After closing the first period with a 12-0 lead, Franek (12-1) took Ruiz down for a second time at the 51-second mark of the second period to end the match.

            NDSU’s Michael Caliendo continued his winning ways as well. Caliendo (13-2) collected four takedowns and a riding time point to contribute to a 10-4 win over the Lancers’ Frank Almaguer.

The weekend tally –

            The following Bison wrestlers were 2-0 on the weekend: Caliendo, Franek, Mora and Parker. The Bison earned three pins while not suffering a pin themselves. The Bison are now 2-0 all-time against the Cardinal and 3-0 all-time versus the Lancers. The victories are  #101 and #102 for head coach Roger Kish.

Next up for the Herd –

            The Bison now return to Scheels Center to continue their Big 12 Conference schedule. They will face the University of Wyoming on Saturday, January 21 and Utah Valley on Sunday, January 22. The Wyoming dual will be at 7 p.m., with Utah Valley’s matchup set for 2 p.m. Student tickets are available at

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