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Jeff Kolpack, Published February 18 2010

Bison wrestling: Adams only freshman to stay

Ryan Adams came to North Dakota State in the fall of 2005 as one of nine freshmen on the wrestling roster.

And then there was one.

Now a senior, the only senior, he’ll take to the Bison Sports Arena mat for the last time tonight when NDSU hosts South Dakota State. Win or lose, give props to Adams for sticking out the incredible shrinking freshman class.

“They all left one at a time,” Adams said. “They all had their own reasons. It just kind of happened. Just one by one, they all went their separate ways.”

Adams stayed and he is a trivia question of sorts for the program: Who was the last NDSU wrestler to be recruited during the Division I reclassification? Wrestling became tournament eligible earlier than the rest of the sports at NDSU because of an NCAA stipulation.

“Some of those guys would get beat up every day and drop out,” said head coach Bucky Maughan.

Adams, meanwhile, reached the NCAA Division I Championships as a sophomore, taking second in the West Regional. He just missed making nationals his freshman and junior seasons.

“When I came here, my goal was to be the first Division I All-American and that remains,” he said. “And the schooling – I enjoy the atmosphere here and I feel like it’s been the best fit for me.”

He leads this team in victories with his 26-7 record. Wrestling down a weight class at 141 pounds from the previous two years, he’ll be in a fight to reach the national again. He has two ranked wrestlers in his weight class – Northern Colorado’s Kenny Hashimoto and Air Forces’ Cole VonOhlen – but Adams has also beaten both of them this year.

Adams is currently ranked 29th.

But first, he has the Jackrabbits to worry about tonight.

“I don’t think it’s hit me yet that this is my last home dual,” he said. “I don’t think that will set in until next year when the guys start working out and I’m not out there. For now, I’m just approaching this like another dual.”

The Bison will start three juniors, three sophomores and two freshmen and will once again forfeit 133 in the other spots. Those eight, and everybody else on the roster for that matter, didn’t come to NDSU with a transition tag hanging over the program.

“That’s a question I’ve been talking to a lot of people about,” Adams said. “Where do I see the program going from here? This year has been the exclamation point in what we’ve done. We have a good record against tough opponents and the future looks strong for this program.”

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