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Jeff Kolpack, Published January 15 2011

College wrestling: Panthers edge Bison

Northern Iowa made it 11 straight dual wrestling victories against North Dakota State on Friday night. And like the loss two years ago in Fargo, the Bison had their chances.

“We let that one go,” said Bison head coach Bucky Maughan.

The 21-19 Northern Iowa win was the Western Wrestling Conference opener for the Bison, who fell to 6-2. NDSU got pins from Tyler Johnson at 165 and Drew Ross at 197, but they were not enough to overcome three straight losses in the lower weight classes and a forfeit at heavyweight.

Ross’ pin gave the Bison a 19-15 advantage, although it was a moot point with the six-point forfeit looming.

“The motivation was simple,” Ross said. “We have fans here and just because we weren’t going to win doesn’t mean I shouldn’t go out and win. It was bittersweet.”

The last Bison win over the Panthers was 17-15 during the 1976-77 season. That’s when Northern Iowa moved to Division I and the series went on an extended vacation with isolated matchups in 1993, 1995 and 2003. They renewed the yearly meetings after NDSU went Division I in 2004.

The Bison haven’t had a heavyweight all season because their one starter quit, meaning they begin every dual essentially down 6-0 because of the forfeit. Sophomore Trent Sprenkle admitted this week it puts more pressure on the other nine starters to pick up the slack.

It makes every point that much more valuable.

“It was close, but the coaches expected us to win,” Ross said.

Sprenkle did his part with a major decision at 125 for a 4-0 Bison lead. But the Bison weren’t very active in the ensuing three weights, spending most of the time on the wrong end of riding time, and it was

9-4 heading into 157.

“We had to win at either ’41 or ’49 and we could have won both of those,” Maughan said.

Vince Salminen halted the Panthers momentum and Johnson gave NDSU a jolt with his first period pin. That made it 13-9.

But the Panthers won at 174 and 184, clinching it at the latter with Ryan Loder’s 8-5 win over Kenny Moenkedick. But Ross’ win in the last match of the night at least gave the Bison fans a final thought.

“To be honest, I like being the closer,” Ross said. “The more pressure, the better I do I think.”

125: Trent Sprenkle, NDSU, dec. Caleb Flores, 17-4

133: Ryan Jauch, UNI, dec. Justin Solberg, 11-8

141: Joey Lazor, UNI, dec. Trevor Johnson, 9-3

149: Brent Robbins, UNI, dec. Mark Erickson, 5-4

157: Vince Salminen, NDSU, dec. David Bonin, 6-2

165: Tyler Johnson, NDSU, pinned Riley Banach, 1:30

174: Brice Wolf, UNI, dec. Steven Monk, 9-3

184: Ryan Loder, UNI, dec. Kenny Moenkedick, 8-5

197: Drew Ross, NDSU, pinned Joe Johnson, 4:22

Hwt: Christian Brantley, UNI, won by forfeit


Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack can be heard on the Saturday Morning Sports Show, 9-11 a.m. on WDAY-AM (970).

He can be reached at

(701) 241-5546.

Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia