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Jeff Kolpack, Published February 23 2014

Upper weights dominating as Bison defeat South Dakota State in last BSA dual

FARGO – Wrestling was the first North Dakota State event in the Bison Sports Arena when it opened over four decades ago. The Bison made sure their final appearance in the building was a good memory.

Two days after a lackluster performance against Wyoming, the 19th-ranked Bison restored their psyche with a 32-12 victory over South Dakota State on Sunday afternoon. They did it with a dominating effort in the upper weights. It gave them a share of the Western Wrestling Conference title with the Cowboys at 4-1 each.

“The big boys,” said NDSU head coach Roger Kish. “I think they understood they are the backbone of our team right now.”

For instance, Tyler Lehmann, who was overwhelmed on Friday against the defending conference champion from Wyoming, took advantage of a freshman opponent on Sunday, pinning Trey Hable in 3 minutes, 30 seconds. It was a theme for the Bison, who were the aggressors most of the afternoon.

“Everyone was upset after the Wyoming match,” Lehmann said. “We all knew we could wrestle better. We wanted to come out and prove that we could stick it to these guys and able to dominate a match.”

His pin made it 23-6. Evan Knutson put the Jackrabbits out of reach with a pin at heavyweight.

Those two matches came on the heels of back-to-back technical fall wins by Steven Monk at 165 and Hayden Zillmer at 174. Kurtis Julson added a major victory at 184.

It turned the Jack’s opening-match pin into a distant memory and a 29-6 Bison advantage.

“We came out a lot more intense than Friday,” Monk said. “It was a good wakeup call.”

The dual concluded NDSU’s regular season. Next up is the NCAA West Regional in Orem, Utah, on March 8. The Bison won’t return to their building for two years when a major renovation will turn it into the Scheels Center.

“They understood this was the last dual in the arena,” Kish said. “The fact it was South Dakota State was an added bonus.”

149: Tyler Diamond, NDSU, dec. Alex Kocer, 11-5. 157: Cody Pack, SDSU, pinned Tanner Carlisle, 2:07. 165: Steven Monk, NDSU, tech. fall Joe Brewster, 17-2, 7:00. 174: Hayden Zillmer, NDSU, tech. fall John Nething II, 16-0, 5:46. 184: Kurtis Julson, NDSU, dec. Brady Ayers, 13-3. 197: Tyler Lehmann, NDSU, pinned Trey Hable, 3:30. Hwt: Evan Knutson, NDSU, pinned J.J. Everart, 4:06. 125: Ben Gillette, SDSU, dec. Hunter Weber, 6-4. 133: Justin LaValle, NDSU, dec. Brance Simms, 3-1. 141: Eric Oroczo, SDSU, dec. Clay Cathey, 3-1 (ot).

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

Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found

at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia