Jeff Kolpack, Published November 01 2013
Missouri defeats North Dakota State in non-conference wrestling dual
Missouri, ranked 17th, showed No. 24 NDSU that the Bison aren’t quite ready to challenge an established Division I wrestling program. The Tigers won seven of 10 matches to take a 23-9 non-conference dual victory Friday night.
NDSU’s Justin LaValle and Steven Monk will keep their national rankings with victories and sophomore Hayden Zillmer, in the last match of the night, won on a takedown in the last 15 seconds.
But that was the extent of the Bison highlights. The Tigers were the better wrestlers on top – and the Bison had trouble scoring.
“To win matches against a program like that, you have to push harder in the first period,” Monk said. “I thought we had a lot of guys who were hesitant, played defense in the first period.”
It wasn’t a no-mercy blowout by the Tigers; only NDSU’s Colt Castlebury at 197 was physically dominated by J’den Cox.
“That’s what we expect from him,” said Tigers head coach Brian Smith.
The other nine matchups were contested heading into the third period. It left Smith thinking there is a lot of improvement for his team.
He also sees some of himself in Bison head coach Roger Kish, who is trying to raise the NDSU wrestling standard to regular top 25 status.
“I remember 16 years ago, I was starting the same thing at Missouri,” Smith said. “It’s about getting people behind it and getting the community to believe in the program.”
NDSU didn’t get its first real lead until the fifth bout of the match – a takedown by 133-pounder Justin Scherkenbach. The Tigers had a 13-0 lead by then, although the Bison gave it a close call at heavyweight.
Even Knutson and Devin Mellon went two overtimes, with Mellon winning on the second tiebreaker by virtue of having an 11-second accumulated riding time advantage. Close for NDSU, but the Bison still trailed 10-0.
“They shed some light on the areas we need to get better at,” Kish said. “We expected to have some tough matches, but we’re going to have to get better.”
Specifically, better at being on the bottom. Even Monk, a senior who is good from that position, had his struggles getting an escape.
“They were one-point better in a handful of matches,” Kish said. “We’ve got to do a better job out of the bottom.”
184: Eblen, UM, dec. Julson, 5-2. 197: Cox, UM, dec. Castlebury, 14-4. 285: Mellon, UM, dec. Knutson, 4-3 (TB2). 125: McGhee, UM, dec. Weber, 5-2. 133: Wilson, UM, dec. Scherkenbach, 4-2. 141: LaValle, NDSU, dec. Jauch, 4-1. 149: Houdashelt, UM, dec. Diamond, 6-1. 157: Bradley, UM, dec. Gray, 10-2. 165: Monk, NDSU, dec. Gagliano, 6-1. 174: Zillmer, NDSU, dec. England, 3-1.
Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack can be reached at (701) 241-5546.
Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found