DES MOINES – North Dakota State wrestlers Trent Sprenkle and Steven Monk moved one step closer to earning the first All-America honors of the school’s Division I era on Friday afternoon at the NCAA Wrestling Championships. Both won a pair of matches to advance to the Round of 12, which will begin at 6 p.m. Friday evening.
Ninth-seeded Sprenkle (31-5) will wrestle two-time NCAA champion and No. 3 seed Matt McDonough of Iowa. The winner will be guaranteed a top-eight finish and All-American honors. Sprenkle lost by fall to McDonough in the second round last year as the Iowa senior rolled to his second NCAA title at 125 pounds.
Fifth-seeded Monk (36-3) will meet No. 7 seed Conrad Polz of Illinois in the Round of 12 at 165 pounds. Monk defeated Polz by 9-2 decision at the Midlands Championships on Dec. 29, but the winner of tonight’s match will earn All-America status.
Sprenkle pinned Western Wrestling Conference rival and No. 10 seed Josh Martinez of Air Force in 1:07 to win his first match of the day in the consolation bracket. He followed up with a 6-3 decision of Michigan’s Sean Boyle to set up the showdown with the three-time All-American McDonough.
Monk posted a 3-1 decision over Ramon Santiago of Rider in his first consolation match Friday and registered a 9-1 major decision over Nebraska’s Austin Wilson in the consolation third round.
Sophomore Evan Knutson saw his first NCAA Championships appearance come to a close with a 4-2 loss to Matthew Gibson of Iowa State in the consolation second round.
NDSU is tied for 32nd in the team race with 7.5 points.
Session IV begins at 6 p.m. tonight.

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