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Jeff Kolpack, Published January 30 2010

NDSU grapplers on lengthy Division I winning streak

North Dakota State has won five straight wrestling duals and in the old days, that would be treated as a ho-hum fact. But not in Division I.

The five consecutive wins represents NDSU’s longest streak since 2003-04 when the Bison went 14-0. It’s been years since good feelings lasted this long in the Bison practice room at the Bison Sports Arena.

“We haven’t had a good streak like this in awhile,” said senior Ryan Adams. “It feels good. We’re just hoping to keep it rolling.”

They’ll try to keep it rolling Sunday against Air Force in a 1 p.m. Western Wrestling Conference dual at the BSA. The recent streak has not been all patsies, either, and includes an upset against No. 6-ranked Boise State.

Moreover, NDSU has done it despite forfeiting a weight class because of injuries and redshirting strategies.

“So we’re behind 6-0 in every match we go into,” said head coach Bucky Maughan.

It’s added motivation, Adams said, knowing that the other nine wrestlers have found a way to overcome the slack. Adams and sophomores Tyler Johnson and Justin Solberg have all reached 20 wins this season.

Solberg, Johnson and junior Andrey Patselov are all 9-3 in duals.

“We’re making a point of keeping our heads in the right place,” Adams said. “We’re not going out there and trying to do too much. We’re focusing on wrestling hard every match and good things are happening.”

NDSU finished its month-long road trip last weekend going 3-0 on the East Coast including a 27-12 win over Boston University. The Bison improved its dual mark to 8-4, with the recent surge a pleasant surprise to Maughan.

“We’ve turned it around a bit,” he said.

The key stretch of the season, however, is still ahead with conference duals. After Air Force, the Bison face Wyoming, Northern Iowa and South Dakota State.

Dual matches are critical for conference tournament seeding.

“Every team has three or four really good kids,” Maughan said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack at (701) 241-5546