FARGO, N.D. -- North Dakota State University won eight of ten matches in a late season Big 12 conference dual on their way to a 30-7 victory over Northern Colorado. With the win, NDSU improved to 8-5 on the season and evened their Big 12 record at 3-3.
The dual got underway at heavyweight. NDSU heavyweight Brandon Metz came into the dual ranked 32nd in the initial NCAA coaches panel rankings and he would take on Robert Winters. Metz was on the attack early and was able to secure an early takedown off of a throw on the edge. Winters would get injured during the action, which allowed Metz to gain his choice. Metz chose down and was able to extend his lead to 3-0 with an escape. Metz would go on to secure another takedown and an escape, on his way to a 6-3 win.
125 pounds was supposed to bring us a matchup of top 20 combatants, as NDSU's Brent Fleetwood, ranked No. 9, and Northern Colorado's Rico Montoya held a No. 17 ranking. Fleetwood was unable to go, so NDSU turned to returning NCAA qualifier Paul Bianchi in his stead. Despite Bianchi's past credentials, this one was all Montoya. Montoya racked up numerous takedowns on his way to a dominating 14-4 win.
No. 16 Cam Sykora stepped to the mat to take on Sean Cannon at 133. Sykora was in control from the opening whistle as he used two takedowns and three sets of four-point nearfalls to pick up his team leading eighth tech fall of the year.
Christopher Sandoval did his part to get Northern Colorado back on track at 141 pounds, as he used three takedowns to knock off Sawyer Degen. Sandoval was able to dictate the pace and action from neutral for the first two periods. The third period saw Degen pick the top position and while he was unable to get the tying turn, he was able to ride Sandoval out and limit the damage.
149 pounds provided us with an interesting matchup, as former Iowa State NCAA qualifier Dante Rodriguez stepped to the mat for Northern Colorado to take on Jaden Van Maanen. Rodriguez is new to the Northern Colorado lineup, but he came up with fire. The two wound up in an upper body position and Rodriguez comfortably came out on top of the exchange to grab the early lead. Van Maanen got a quick reversal to tie the match up. From there, it was all Van Maanen. Van Maanen would primarily dictate the remainder of the match from the top position. Behind some tough rides, good turns, and two late takedowns, Van Maanen was able to get an impressive 15-4 major decision.
Red-hot Luke Weber squared off with Jordan Robison in the bout at 157 pounds. Weber is riding high behind victories over Central Michigan's Logan Parks and No. 11 Talen Rahmani of Pitt. Robison dictated most of the action throughout the first period, but Weber showed impeccable shot defense to ward off all of Robison's attacks. Weber was able to secure his own late first period takedown, and he wouldn't look back. Weber secured two more takedowns, an escape, and a riding time point to win 8-2.
No. 20 Andrew Fogarty came out on fire at 165 pounds against Macoy Flanagan. Fogarty dominated from start to finish, as he was able two use two takedowns and a bunch of back points to secure a technical fall in the second period.
Lorenzo De La Riva met Trenton Schultz at 174 pounds. De La Riva was able to execute a beautiful low ankle attack in the first minute to grab the early lead. A rideout gave him plenty of riding time as they headed to the second. Schultz would tie the match up with a reversal, which was followed by an escape by De La Riva. De La Riva would follow that up with a takedown and set of nearfall as he secured a 10-2 major decision.
The final two bouts brought us our two closest matches of the dual meet. At 184 pounds, that meant Michael Otomo and Dalton Robertson doing battle. Otomo would jump out to a lead in the first minute with a takedown. Robertson was able to escape, but not before Otomo built up his riding time to over a minute, which would be key. With the score 2-1 in the second, Otomo chose neutral. Coach Kish implored Otomo to take more shots, and even yelled, "if you don't shoot, he will beat you!" Otomo was unable to get to his offense and the match headed to the third, where Robertson quickly chose the top position. This was exactly where Coach Nickerson and Northern Colorado wanted to be and where Coach Kish and NDSU didn't want to be. Robertson would ride tough all period and get close to numerous turns, but Otomo was able to fight from turning. Although Robertson controlled the period, Otomo would win 2-1 thanks to the minute plus of riding time he built in the first period preventing Robertson of falling just shy of riding time.
Cordell Eaton squared off with No. 19 Jacob Seely to cap the dual off at 197 pounds. Seely controlled the action early on, but was unable to score. The athletes would trade escapes in the second and third periods, but neither was genuinely close to a takedown. To close the third, Eaton took several shots and continued to build his confidence and momentum. The match would head to overtime tied at 1, but with Eaton maintaining the momentum. Eaton was able to fire off an attack and withstand the subsequent scramble to emerge with a big 3-1 victory.
NDSU returns to action at home against Utah Valley on Feb. 1.
285: Brandon Metz (NDSU) dec Robert Winters (UNC), 6-3
125: #17 Rico Montoya (UNC) major dec Paul Bianchi (NDSU), MD 14-4
133: #16 Cam Sykora (NDSU) tech fall Sean Cannon (UNC), TF 16-0 5:00
141: Chris Sandoval (UNC) dec Sawyer Degen (NDSU), 6-2
149: Jaden Van Maanen (NDSU) major dec Dante Rodriguez (UNC), MD 15-4
157: Luke Weber (NDSU) dec Jordan Robison (UNC), 8-2
165: #20 Andrew Fogarty (NDSU) tech. fall Macoy Flanagan (UNC), TF 16-1 4:45
174: Lorenzo De La Riva (NDSU) major dec Trent Schultz (UNC), MD 10-2
184: Michael Otomo (NDSU) dec Dalton Robertson (UNC), 2-1
197: Cordell Eaton (NDSU) dec. #17 Jacob Seely (UNC), 3-1 SV