NDSU Defeats Air Force for Second Big 12 Victory

North Dakota State beat Air Force Academy 23-14 Friday at the Bentson Bunker Fieldhouse after Grant Nehring stole the momentum back for the Bison.

Nehring, a sophomore, defeated Alex Lopouchanski 9-2 to help NDSU win its fourth of last five matches and has only wrestled a few matches at his new 165-weight class.

After Nehring beat his opponent, who was 7-0 in duals before Friday, NDSU’s Blake Thompson won on a 5-3 decision at the 174-pound weight class and then Hayden Zillmer pinned his opponent in 2:52.

“A record is only a record,” Nehring said about his opponents record. “It doesn’t really matter what he comes in at its what he brought (Friday), and tonight I wanted to bring more then he had.”

And the Bison (2-4, 2-0 Big 12) had a 20-10 lead over the Falcons (5-3, 0-2 Big 12).

With the win Zillmer is undefeated in duals this season (6-0), and the sixth-ranked nationally wrestler recorded his eighth pin of the season.

Even though the Bison were ahead, the Falcons weren’t  going to stop wrestling.

NDSU’s Logan Paxton lost to Parker Hines on a 12-4 decision at the 197-weight class, and the score was 20-14 in favor of the Bison.

However, Ben Tynan sealed the deal for NDSU after he beat Marcus Malecek on a 4-1 decision at the 285-weight class, improving his season dual record to 5-1.

No. 16-ranked Josh Rodriguez added another win to his impressive 26-7 record this season after beating out Drew Romero on a 18-2 technical fall, which was the first match to be played.

Air Force rattled off two match wins after to take the 7-5 lead; NDSU sophomore Clay Ream took the lead back after a 2-0 decision over his opponent.

Before Friday NDSU was just 1-4 in duals, but head coach Roger Kish hopes the momentum after this dual win will continue.

“From top to bottom every guy that stepped out onto the mat had a good match and good effort out there,” Kish said. “We can see them getting better every time they step on the mat and that’s what we want.”

The Bison earned its second Big 12 win, and Kish said even though his team undefeated in conference play NDSU would like to be 6-0 overall.

“Of course we could ask for a better start,” Kish said about NDSU’s record. “(But) Our guys are starting to make the appropriate adjustments at the right time and position themselves in the match and have a high opportunity to win matches.”

The Bison host University of Wyoming at 1 p.m. Sunday at the Bentson Bunker Fieldhouse.

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