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Jeff Kolpack, Published December 11 2009

College wrestling: Bison prepare for duals

By Jeff Kolpack

jkolpack@forumcomm.com

With the open tournament season now closed, the North Dakota State wrestling team will shift gears Sunday with its first duals of the season.

The Bison host the Dakota Duals at the Bison Sports Arena with three matches that will give a good preview on what NDSU has to offer. The Bison face Minnesota State Moorhead at 1 p.m., Northern Illinois at 3 and Oregon State at 5.

“It’s all duals from here on out so we’re putting together a team effort,” said sophomore Tyler Johnson, who has won three tournaments at

165 pounds.

Senior Ryan Adams leads NDSU with a 16-2 record at 141 pounds. Johnson is 14-2 and, for the most part, the lineup is dotted with winning records.

But the Bison will also have a glaring weakness Sunday – they’ll forfeit the 133-pound class. Head coach Bucky Maughan said sophomore Trent Sprenkle will redshirt in an effort for him to gain strength.

He was 10-2 and would be the starter at 133 pounds – even though he weighs around 127.

“He’s too small,” Maughan said. “We could move him to 133 but then he would be wrestling guys who were 145 or 150. We’re going to put him on a two-meal plan and build him up.”

Maughan said freshman Jake Love could be at 133, but he’s currently sidelined with a shoulder injury.

Although not as young as last year, the Bison still have just one senior in Adams and half the starters are either freshmen or sophomores. But wrestlers like Johnson are steadily gaining steam.

“I feel like we’re more mature than we were last year,” he said. “And with the maturity level comes setting your goals and getting your goals to where you can reach them a little better.”

Johnson claimed titles at the Bison Open, the Dragon Open and the Daktronics Open in Brookings, S.D.

“We’ve got a more aggressive attitude toward our wrestling in general and our training,” Johnson said. “We’re approaching this year with a different mindset than we did last year.”


Readers can reach Forum reporter

Jeff Kolpack at (701) 241-5546