LARAMIE, Wyo. -- It was Senior Day for the No. 14-ranked University of Wyoming wrestling team on Sunday inside the UniWyo Sports Complex, but the North Dakota State wrestling seniors made sure the Bison were the team celebrating at the end of the day. NDSU knocked off defending Western Wrestling Conference champion Wyoming, 22-15, for its third win over a ranked opponent this season.
Seniors Mark Erickson (141), Joe Garner (149), and Mac Stoll (184) each recorded victories, and senior Kallen Kleinschmidt battled to a tough 7-4 defeat against No. 4 Alfonso Hernandez at 197 pounds to give NDSU the breathing room necessary to seal the dual victory.
Freshman Josh Rodriguez (133), junior Steven Monk (165) and sophomore Evan Knutson (285) all earned match victories for the Bison as well.
Entering this afternoon's dual, Wyoming was 24-1 in Western Wrestling Conference duals since head coach Mark Branch took over in 2008. NDSU was also able to avenge a 31-6 loss to Wyoming in the Bison Sports Arena on Feb. 17 of last season that clinched the league title for the Cowboys.
"This was a big win for the North Dakota State wrestling program," said NDSU head coach Roger Kish. "It's the first time we've beaten Wyoming since I've been here, and I think it was important for our guys to get it out of the way. We've taken some licks from Wyoming in the past, but this should serve as a confidence-booster for the guys."
"We're not sure we wrestled our absolute best, but we were still able to compete and win some big matches against a quality program," said Kish. "I think it gives our guys that confidence they need, and we'll try to keep it going in the upcoming weeks."
NDSU (7-7, 2-0 WWC) overcame a loss by No. 6 Trent Sprenkle in the dual's opening match. Tyler Cox of Wyoming posted a 7-2 decision to hand Sprenkle his second straight defeat.
The Bison rallied with wins in the next three weight classes. Rodriguez won 7-4 over Wyoming's Kasey Garnhart at 133 pounds, and Erickson rolled to a 15-5 major decision of Zach Zehner at 141 pounds. Garner defeated Brandon Richardson by 6-5 decision at 149 pounds after a video replay upheld the official's original ruling that a potential Richardson takedown had occurred after time expired.
Wyoming (7-4, 2-1 WWC) received a pin from No. 13 Andy McCulley at 157 pounds, but NDSU's Steven Monk quickly erased any momentum for the Cowboys with a pin of Dakota Friesth in 1:46 at 165 pounds to give the Bison a 16-9 lead.
The Cowboys and Bison alternated decisions over the final four weight classes, with Stoll winning by 4-1 decision at 184 pounds and heavyweight Evan Knutson posting an 11-4 decision to seal the dual meet victory.
The win over No. 14 Wyoming was NDSU's third victory in seven duals against ranked opponents this season. NDSU defeated No. 24 Boise State on Nov. 16 and No. 25 Old Dominion on Jan. 12.
North Dakota State will host non-conference foe Northern Iowa at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 3, in the Bison Sports Arena.
125 - Tyler Cox (Wyo) dec. No. 6 Trent Sprenkle (NDSU), 7-2 ... Wyoming leads, 3-0
133 - Josh Rodriguez (NDSU) dec. Kasey Garnhart (Wyo), 7-4 ... Tied, 3-3
141 - Mark Erickson (NDSU) maj. dec. Zach Zehner (Wyo), 15-5 ... NDSU leads, 7-3
149 - Joe Garner (NDSU) dec. Brandon Richardson (Wyo), 6-5 ... NDSU leads, 10-3
157 - No. 13 Andy McCulley (Wyo) pinned Tanner Carlisle (NDSU), 3:34 ... NDSU leads, 10-9
165 - No. 6 Steven Monk (NDSU) pinned Dakota Friesth (Wyo), 1:46 ... NDSU leads, 16-9
174 - L.J. Helbig (Wyo) dec. Kurtis Julson (NDSU), 3-2 ... NDSU leads, 16-12
184 - Mac Stoll (NDSU) dec. Shane Woods (Wyo), 4-1 ... NDSU leads, 19-12
197 - No. 4 Alfonso Hernandez (Wyo) dec. Kallen Kleinschmidt (NDSU), 7-4 ... NDSU leads, 19-15
285 - Evan Knutson (NDSU) dec. Leland Pfeifer (Wyo), 11-4 ... NDSU wins, 22-15