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  • Photo: Tony Rotundo

    Photo: Tony Rotundo

    May in the Big 12

    2023 NCAA runner-up Tanner Sloan of South Dakota State (photo courtesy of Tony Rotundo; WrestlersAreWarriors.com)

    The Big 12 stories kept on coming throughout the month of May. There’s certainly been no shortage of news (and rumors) floating around. So, let’s recap some of the things that had our attention.

    Coaching moves

    New Face For The Sooners


    Let’s be honest, the Oklahoma coaching search had all types of stories flying around. Everyone was wondering who was going to be the guy after it was announced that Lou Rosselli would no longer be the Sooners’ Head Coach.

    Then two days into the month it was announced that Roger Kish was hired for the position. Kish, who spent 12 seasons as the Head Coach at North Dakota State and amassed a 108-70 dual meet record while coaching the Bison, will take the reins at OU after they had an unfavorable 40th-place finish at the 2023 NCAA Championships.

    Kish won’t be the only newcomer rocking crimson and cream this season. Since Kish’s arrival both Nick Heflin and Sam Hazewinkel have announced that they will not be staying with the program. So far nothing official has been announced as to who will be on staff at OU, but sources believe that Dom Sykora and Austin Marsden will be following him to Norman. In addition, it’s being said that Teyon Ware, who was part of the previous staff, would be staying on staff.

    Check out the history of Big 12 coaching since 2000.

    A New Bison Regime

    With the departure of Kish to OU after what was considered to be a process riddled with rumors of who would be taking over, NDSU didn’t waste any time filling the position as they quickly elevated Obe Blanc to Head Coach just three days after his predecessor was announced as the coach at OU. Blanc coached under Kish for four seasons with the last two as the Associate Head Coach.

    I had the pleasure of catching up with Blanc the day it was announced he was taking the position where he said the following:

    "We want to continue our growth in all facets. I want to build our current RTC/club to allow our student-athletes to pursue more NCAA titles, but also World and Olympic titles as well," Blanc said about his outlook for the NDSU program.

    You can read his comments from our conversation here.

    In addition to Blanc taking over the program, he brought in former NC State stud Hayden Hidlay as his Assistant Coach. Hidlay was coached by Blanc from 2017-19 as Hidlay claimed a number of his AA finishes for the Wolfpack.

    I was able to talk with Hidlay about making the move to Fargo, ND along with his feelings about leaving his brother, Trent, and the Wolfpack for the first time since stepping on campus.

    Watch the full interview here.

    Newcomer In Laramie

    After spending last season in the MAC at Cleveland State, Devin Schroder is on his way to Laramie to be an Assistant Coach on Mark Branch’s staff. Schroder joined CSU after completing his collegiate career at Purdue where he was a four-time NCAA qualifier.

    "We are very excited to welcome Devin to Laramie." Head Wrestling Coach Mark Branch said in the school’s announcement, "We have a great stable of lightweight wrestlers in our room and Devin is going to be able to make a big impact on their development. I think he's going to be a great fit to round out an amazing staff."

    Read the full announcement here.

    Roster Changes

    Short Trip For A New Home


    After spending his gray shirt year in Iowa City, Cody Chittum heads to Ames and signs with the Cyclones. Chittum was a highly sought-after recruit who originally made his commitment to Minnesota in 2021 before changing course and heading to Iowa where he spent the last year training. But, after the year of training, it seems the time in Hawkeye’s room has come to an end.

    "I cried leaving. "I love those guys (in the Iowa program). I'm going to miss them," Chittum said in an article by Cody Goodwin in the Des Moines Register.

    Ultimately, instead of Hawks black and gold it will be Cyclone cardinal and gold for the Junior National Champ and former No. 2-ranked pound-for-pound wrestler in Matscouts’ 2021-22 standings.

    Dresser Scoops An AA From the Portal

    As if Iowa State’s lineup didn’t look tough enough with the addition of Cody Chittum, the ascension of Yonger Bastida to heavyweight from 197-pounds and of course David Carr returning, they now add 184-pound All-American Will Feldkamp to the mix. Feldkamp, who is coming from Clarion, finished the season with a 29-6 record, a MAC title and a 7th-place finish at NCAAs.

    With Bastida moving up, Feldkamp can be the Cyclones’ answer for the vacant spot at 197, where Feldkamp spent the 2021-22 season and was an NCAA qualifier.

    Read the full school announcement here.

    All-American Bison Going Grazing

    With all the moves being made on the NDSU and OU coaching staffs, there was bound to be a little movement with the rosters as well. Just last weekend (May 28) it was announced that Mikey Caliendo, who capped off last season with a seventh-place finish at 165 pounds, would be entering the transfer portal. At the time of writing this, his destination was unknown.

    Yesterday, NDSU’s other All-American, Jared Franek, entered the portal. The NCAA fourth-place finisher at 157 lbs has another year of eligibility remaining.

    Leaving Big 12 Country

    After a season where he finished as an NCAA qualifier, Victor Voinovich has left Stillwater, OK. The former Oklahoma State Cowboy reached the round of 16 at the NCAA tournament last season after finishing 17-13 as a redshirt freshman. Voinovich will be a potential replacement for All-American Max Murin at 149.

    Mitch Moore won’t be in Norman anymore. Moore, who started his college career at Virginia Tech before making the move to OU, announced via Instagram that he will be applying for a medical hardship year and entering the transfer portal. He started out at 141 for the Hokies in his first 2 seasons then moved up to 149 for the Sooners. Could we see him make another move up in weight? So far, his landing spot – both in weight and school – is yet to be determined.

    In addition to Moore’s departure, 125-pounder Joey Cruz will be leaving Sooner country as well as he’s headed to Iowa. Cruz took a redshirt season last year and only wrestled four times at the beginning of the season and going 2-2 before not returning to open competition for the rest of the year due to an injury.

    The California high school state champion will have four years of eligibility and will certainly add depths to the Iowa lineup with Spencer Lee now gone.

    The Return

    One More Year


    After finishing the season as an NCAA finalist, South Dakota State’s Tanner Sloan announced that he will be coming back for one final year. Sloan lost in the finals at 197-pounds to Nino Bonaccorsi, 5-3 to finish as the runner-up and claim NCAA All-American honors for the first time in his career with a 27-3 record.

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