BROOKINGS, S.D. - North Dakota State senior 125-pounder Trent Sprenkle opened Friday's dual with South Dakota State by winning his 100th career match and becoming the eighth Bison wrestler in history to join the elite 100-win club.
By the end of the night, Sprenkle's teammates had joined him in the record books. NDSU defeated South Dakota State 36-9 to finish the Western Wrestling Conference season with a perfect 5-0 record and win the regular-season title outright.
The title is NDSU's first Division I conference championship. The Bison won 17 North Central Conference titles in the NCAA Division II ranks from 1979-2004.
"Winning the title is a good start on our goals," said NDSU head coach Roger Kish. "We've set some team goals, and ultimately, it was an expectation of our guys to win the conference title."
"This is one more stepping stone for us. I think we're moving in the right direction, but we've got some important things in front of us with the conference tournament and the NCAA Championships," Kish said.
The Bison (10-8, 5-0 WWC) rolled to eight match victories on Friday evening in Frost Arena and scored bonus points in six of those eight wins.
Sprenkle started the dual with a 12-3 major decision of Aaron Pickrel to improve his career record to 100-44. The senior from Billings, Mont., is now eighth on the NDSU all-time wins list.
Freshman Josh Rodriguez posted a 6-2 decision of Brance Simms at 133 pounds, and senior Mark Erickson recorded a 17-1 technical fall over Ben Gillette at 141 pounds.
South Dakota State (5-11, 1-4 WWC) received bonus-point wins from No. 31 Dustin Walraven at 149 pounds and Cody Pack at 157 pounds to trim the Bison lead to 12-9, but NDSU dominated the final five weights to clinch the title.
The Jackrabbits chose to forfeit to No. 6 Steven Monk at 165 pounds and move normal 165-pounder Joe Brewster up to 174 pounds, but NDSU's Hayden Zillmer used a takedown with two seconds remaining to defeat Brewster by a 3-1 score.
Mac Stoll cruised to a 10-1 major decision at 184 pounds, Kallen Kleinschmidt registered a 17-2 technical fall at 197 pounds, and sophomore Evan Knutson put an exclamation point on the dual with a pin in 1:24 at heavyweight.
North Dakota State will travel to Laramie, Wyo., for the NCAA West Regional on Mar. 9.
North Dakota State 36, South Dakota State 9
125 - No. 9 Trent Sprenkle (NDSU) maj. dec. Aaron Pickrel (SDSU), 12-3 ... NDSU leads, 4-0
133 - Josh Rodriguez (NDSU) dec. Brance Simms (SDSU), 6-2 ... NDSU leads, 7-0
141 - Mark Erickson (NDSU) tech. fall Ben Gillette (SDSU), 17-1 (5:53) ... NDSU leads, 12-0
149 - No. 31 Dustin Walraven (SDSU) maj. dec. Joe Garner (NDSU), 13-3 ... NDSU leads, 12-4
157 - Cody Pack (SDSU) tech. fall Tanner Carlisle (NDSU), 18-3 (6:36) ... NDSU leads, 12-9
165 - No. 6 Steven Monk (NDSU) won by forfeit ... NDSU leads, 18-9
174 - Hayden Zillmer (NDSU) dec. Joe Brewster (SDSU), 3-1 ... NDSU leads, 21-9
184 - No. 22 Mac Stoll (NDSU) maj. dec. Shea Nolan (SDSU), 10-1 ... NDSU leads, 25-9
197 - Kallen Kleinschmidt (NDSU) tech. fall Joe Skow (SDSU), 17-2 (5:00) ... NDSU leads, 30-9
285 - No. 33 Evan Knutson (NDSU) pinned J.J. Everard (SDSU), 1:24 ... NDSU wins, 36-9.



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