Three Bison Stay Alive at NCAA Wrestling Championships
DES MOINES – Three North Dakota State University wrestlers remain alive in their respective brackets at the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships after the first day of competition at Wells Fargo Arena on Thursday. Senior Trent Sprenkle (125 pounds), junior Steven Monk (165 pounds) and sophomore Evan Knutson (285 pounds) all posted one win and one loss on the opening day.
Two-time 184-pound NCAA qualifier Mac Stoll saw his Bison career come to a close with two losses on Thursday.
Sprenkle, Monk and Knutson will need to win three consecutive wrestleback matches on Friday to secure a top-eight finish and All-America honors.
Sprenkle, the No. 9 seed in the 125-pound bracket, dropped a 10-6 decision to No. 8 seed Matthew Snyder of Virginia in the second round. Snyder recorded a takedown 11 seconds into the match and another in the second period – plus a two-point near fall – to lead 8-2 going into the third period.
Sprenkle (29-5) closed the gap to 8-5 with an escape and a takedown, but Snyder scored a reversal with 46 seconds remaining to seal the victory. Sprenkle will face Western Wrestling Conference rival and No. 10 seed Josh Martinez of Air Force on Friday morning in the 125-pound consolation bracket. Sprenkle and Martinez split a pair of matches this season, with Sprenkle winning by 6-2 decision in the NCAA West Regional final on March 9.
Monk, the No. 5 seed at 165 pounds, lost a close 7-5 decision to No. 12-seeded Taylor Massa of Michigan in the second round. A takedown and near fall by Massa put Monk at a 5-0 deficit early, but the junior from Wausau, Wis., battled back to get within 5-4 in the second period. Massa registered one final takedown, and Monk was unable to counter with any points in the third period to get the win.
Monk (34-3) will meet unseeded Ramon Santiago of Rider in the 165-pound consolation bracket on Friday morning.
Knutson bounced back from a first-round defeat to top Steven Graziano of Penn by 4-1 decision in his first wrestleback match on Thursday evening. Knutson (17-14) will face Iowa State’s Matthew Gibson on Friday.
Stoll lost by first-period fall to No. 9 seed Chris Chionuma of Oklahoma State in the second round, eliminating him from the tournament.
Session III begins at 10 a.m. on Friday morning.
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