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Jeff Kolpack, Published January 23 2009

College Plus: Family milestone, Saturday will be 25th Maughan vs. Maughan matchup

North Dakota State head wrestling coach Bucky Maughan is approaching the 25th annual matchup with his son’s Northern Colorado wrestling team much like the first.

It’s not about Bucky vs. Jack; it’s about NDSU vs. UNC. Nothing has changed, he reiterated this week.

It’s about his wrestlers performing at their optimum level against the Bears. It’s about his team improving in the Saturday night dual at the Bison Sports Arena.

“I would have to coach another 15, 16 years for him to get even,” he said.

Ooh, ouch.

Finally, a Maughan-esque comment. Bucky has a 20-2-2 record against Jack.

“We only count dual meets I guess,” Jack said. “If we place ahead of him in anything else, that doesn’t count. The last few national tournaments, we’ve been ahead of him but that doesn’t count. But I don’t want to brag, it wasn’t like we were first or second. It was rotten and rotten and there’s no real bragging.”

The pre-meet hype between the two of the early years has dissipated, mainly because that’s what time and familiarity does. Plus, neither team has burned up the mat since both have gone Division I.

The Bison are 2-6-1 and the Bears 2-9-1, although all nine losses were to teams ranked in the Division I top 20 poll.

“I don’t know who scheduled that – idiot,” Jack said. “Boise State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Oklahoma State … all on the road. Once again, how smart is that coach?”

It is the Western Wrestling Conference opener for both, so that brings a new sense of urgency to the dual. And lately, when it comes to these two teams, there’s been plenty of urgency in the final score.

They tied 19-19 in November at the Northern Quad Open in Rochester, Minn. Last year, the Bears won 21-18 in a match that left Bucky a little steamed.

“I was mad, but you can’t blame the officials,” he said with a laugh and a facetious stare into his office ceiling.

“Last year, I thought he was going to punch me after the dual. He blamed me for everything. I thought I got a cheating official. He gets fired up in the heat of the battle.”

The other UNC win was 19-15 in 2005, which will remain one of the most memorable for Bucky because the Bison beat the Bears 31-3 earlier in the year. It was the end of the season and because NDSU was ineligible for post-season competition because of the Division I reclassification, it was a motivational nightmare for the head coach.

“I remember it because I was so mad at my team,” he said. “They didn’t care.”

Everybody should care on Saturday. The Maughan vs. Maughan anticipation may not be what it used to be, but the first whistle will take care of that.

“Once we get into it, it certainly gets competitive,” Jack said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack at (701) 241-5546. Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found at www.areavoices.com