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Jeff Kolpack, Published February 08 2013

Bison rally for wrestling win over Utah Valley

FARGO – North Dakota State freshman Hayden Zillmer got his start in elite wrestling in Fargo at weights like 88 pounds, 105 and 119. Those were the classes of the USA Wrestling Cadet and Junior tournaments in the summer.

He quickly grew out of those. This year, he even grew out of his starting lineup spot at 157 pounds and coming into Friday, it had been about a month since he saw the dual mat.

“But I was ready to go,” he said.

Now at 174, he got a key win to help rally the Bison to an 18-15 win over Utah Valley University at the Bison Sports Arena. The Bison remained undefeated in the Western Wrestling Conference at 3-0 heading into Sunday’s league matchup with Northern Colorado at the BSA.

A knee injury to

174-pound starter Kurtis Julson in practice on Thursday put Zillmer back at center mat.

“I felt strong there, I felt mentally strong there,” Zillmer said.

But by then, his team was trailing 12-9 and looked listless in doing so. NDSU got six points via forfeit victory at 125. Even Steven Monk, ranked sixth in the country at 165 pounds, struggled to score edging out a 2-0 victory.

“They didn’t go at 125 and that may have got some people out of their rhythm and routine,” said Bison head coach Roger Kish. “I don’t think we were completely ready to go and it caught up to us.”

Moreover, Zillmer from Crosby, Minn., was down 3-0 heading into the third period when he registered two takedowns in the final minute to pull out a 5-4 victory over Monte Schmalhaus, who came in with a 17-7 record.

“I could feel the kid breathing hard in the first period,” Zillmer said. “I thought that this guy was going to break. I was just doing what I was doing. The team needed it.”

NDSU, struggling at that point to find anything positive, suddenly tied the match at 12-12 heading to the upper weights.

Mac Stoll followed with a 6-1 decision at 184 and it was 15-12. Kallen Kleinschmidt clinched it with the same 6-1 score over David Prieto at 197 pounds.

Kish said Zillmer could return to 157, but it’s questionable if the weight cutting impacts his performance. He said the injury to Julson doesn’t appear serious and he should be back in a week or two.

Still, the win was over a Utah Valley team that was no slouch. The Wolverines came in with three straight dual wins including victories over Arizona State and Stanford.

125 pounds: Sprenkle, NDSU, won by forfeit.

133: Tolbert, UVU, dec. Rodriguez, 5-0.

141: Garner, UVU, dec. Erickson, 7-5.

149: Wilson, UVU, dec. Garner, 6-0.

157: Smith, UVU, dec. Carlisle, 9-4.

165: Monk, NDSU, dec. Cook, 2-0.

174: Zillmer, NDSU, dec. Schmalhaus, 5-4.

184: Stoll, NDSU, dec. Thomas, 6-1.

197: Kleinschmidt, NDSU, dec. Prieto, 6-1.

285: Fager, UVU, dec. Knutson, 3-2.

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

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