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Jeff Kolpack, Published March 14 2012

NDSU's Stoll set for D-I wrestling tournament

FARGO – Perhaps the professor shouldn’t be reading this, but one of his North Dakota State students

wasn’t 100 percent concentrating on one of his exams last week. Mac Stoll was keeping an eye on the pairings for the Division I wrestling championships.

While on a computer in construction management class, Stoll saw his name wasn’t on the 184-pound list. He was hoping for an at-large berth – and so his season looked to be over.

About an hour and a half later, his sister called to congratulate him. It seems the NCAA forgot to input his name into the list of qualifiers.

“I don’t know how that happened,” Stoll said. “But a bunch of people were following it on Facebook so I had some idea something was going on.”

What’s going on today is a first-round tournament match at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis. The goal for Stoll is to reach All-American status, which looks to be a tough road but one he’s not afraid of taking on.

“He’s probably had one of the biggest turnarounds I’ve seen on our team,” said NDSU head coach Roger Kish. “When he came here, he didn’t quite have the understanding and the concept of wrestling and what it takes to be successful. I saw a guy with a lot of potential who could do great things and now he has a lot of confidence in himself.”

NDSU sophomore Steven Monk, seeded 12th at 157 pounds, is the best bet of the three Bison in St. Louis to become the school’s first Division I era All-American, which requires a top-eight finish. Junior Trent Sprenkle isn’t far behind at 125 pounds.

Those two will be back next year. Stoll, from Dent, Minn., has one year of eligibility left, but he’s going to graduate next December and it appears he’s still sticking to that timeline.

He has an internship this summer with Kln Enterprises in Perham, Minn.

“I guess nothing’s ever for sure but I’m pretty set in my ways,” Stoll said.

Plus, just reaching the national tournament is reward for all the blood, sweat and tears, he said. And in a larger sense, it’s a nice proving ground for area wrestlers that a Division I tournament berth is possible.

He was a state runner-up at Perham High School as a junior and finished third his senior season.

“I hope that’s motivation for the younger guys,” Stoll said. “I hope it gives them some encouragement to know there’s just as good of talent around here as anywhere in the country.”

Kish said he would love for Stoll to come back for another season, but he also acknowledged that’s not his decision.

“We’d love to keep him as long as we can,” Kish said. “He’s a heck of an athlete and he’s been a heck of a leader on our team. He might want to come back and he might want to move on. We’ll wait and see.”

Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack can be reached at (701) 241-5546.

Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found

at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia