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Jeff Kolpack, Published March 18 2010

College wrestling: Adams vies for a 1st at NDSU

North Dakota State senior Ryan Adams has a goal of becoming the school’s first All-American as a Division I member. His last chance starts today.

Adams and junior Vince Salminen are NDSU’s lone representatives at the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships this weekend in Omaha, Neb.

It’s a city that is familiar to Bison wrestling battles – NDSU and Nebraska-Omaha were heated rivals when both were in Division II. NDSU moved up starting in 2004 and UNO has not changed divisions.

The Bison won a national title in 1988 at UNO’s Sapp Fieldhouse.

“It’s a good wrestling town,” said NDSU head coach Bucky Maughan.

This tournament is at the 14,700-seat Qwest Center in downtown Omaha. Adams, unseeded at 141 pounds, faces No. 7 Filip Novachkov of California Poly in the first round in a rematch of Novachkov’s 9-6 win in a dual this season.

Novachkov got off to a quick 5-0 lead before Adams rallied.

“He has to get off to a good start and keep going,” Maughan said. “Ryan knows this kid. He knows he can go with this guy.”

It’s the third trip to the

D-I Championships for Adams, who went 1-5 in his first two tries with the win over Sam Alvarenga of Virginia Military Institute in the 2007 wrestlebacks. Adams needs to win at least three matches to reach a top-eight finish and All-American status.

NDSU’s last All-American was Pat Johannes in 1988, when Division II wrestlers were allowed to qualify for the D-I tournament. He took seventh at 177 pounds.

“It’s doable for Ryan if he has a good tournament,” Maughan said.

Salminen has a tougher road drawing top-seeded J.P. O’Connor of Harvard, who is 30-0.

“He’s the real deal,” Maughan said.

Salminen and Adams were both honored as first-team Western Wrestling Conference picks this week. NDSU did not qualify a wrestler for nationals last year.

Both, however, would like to make a name for themselves on a national stage.

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