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No. 22 NDSU rolls to 35-4 victory over Northern Illinois

FARGO, N.D. -- The 22nd-ranked North Dakota State University Bison welcomed the Northern Illinois Huskies to Fargo for an early season non-conference dual. NDSU came in riding high, coming off of a season opening 26-17 win over Big Ten foe Northwestern. NDSU would keep that momentum rolling, and win nine of ten matches en route to a 35-4 victory over the Huskies.

At 125, NDSU's Brent Fleetwood squared off against Northern Illinois' Bryce West. Fleetwood, a former Central Michigan standout, was able to get on his offense early and take a 4-0 first period lead. West would battle back behind some strong riding and mat wrestling. Fleetwood was able to find another gear and finish off the match with a third period takedown, to secure the 7-1 win.

133 pounds saw No. 20 Cam Sykora take on Alijah Jeffery. Sykora had a solid season opening win against Northwestern's Colin Valdiviez while Jeffery is coming off of a third-place finish at the Michigan State Open. These two met last year, with Sykora rolling to a technical fall. This year was more of the same. On the strength of two takedowns, an escape, and three tilts, Sykora secured the second-period tech. fall. Sykora was No. 2 in the NCAA in terms of technical falls last year.

141 pounds brought Anthony Cheloni and Gavin Sutton together. Both are 2017 high school graduates from the state of Illinois, who are just beginning to cut their teeth in the Division I world as starters. Cheloni is a transfer from Wisconsin Parkside, where he starred last season. Cheloni came into the match with a 5-1 record while Sutton is 0-1. Sutton fired off an immediate attack to take a 2-0 lead in the first 15 seconds of the match. Sutton would keep the pressure on from neutral throughout the match and secured the only two takedowns in the match. Cheloni continually created action on the mat and wound up scoring from a number of flurries while on bottom to keep the match very tight. However, behind the two takedowns, Sutton was able to secure his first career win in the NDSU lineup 7-4.

149 featured high-octane redshirt freshman Jaden Van Maanen and McCoy Kent. Van Maanen came into the match after winning an exhilarating match over Northwestern's Shane Oster. Kent, opened the season with a solid performance at the Michigan State Open. After a scoreless first period, Van Maanen would take over with a takedown, turn, stalling point, and riding time en route to an 8-4 win.

Mason Kauffman, formerly of Eastern Michigan, squared off with Nick Knutson at 157 pounds. Knutson used a high pace, a slick hi-c takedown, and big mat returns to secure a 3-2 win. The win was his first win of the season.

With Brock Hudkins out at 125 pounds, 165pounds brought the marquee matchup of the dual. No. 17 Andrew Fogarty was pitted against Kenny Moore, who won the Michigan State open last weekend. Moore would score the only takedown in the match yet fall. Fogarty used a pair of escapes and a third-period rideout to secure the 3-2 victory.

174 pounds brought standout Northern Illinois redshirt freshman Brit Wilson and former NCAA qualifier Lorenzo De La Riva to the mat. De La Riva, a transfer from CSU Bakersfield, dropped a hard-fought match against Johnny Sebastian and was looking for his first win as a Bison. Wilson already knocked off one former NCAA qualifier this year in Michigan State's Drew Hughes, and would add another to his resumé tonight. Wilson showed a very good hi-c over and over and was able to race to a 15-4 major decision and get the Huskies on the board.

184 pounds would give fans an interesting battle between Tyler McNutt and Caden McWhirter. McWhirter lost a one-point decision to teammate Kenny Moore last week at 165 pounds. In an effort to get him in the lineup, the coaching staff sent McWhirter out at 184 pounds. McWhirter was significantly smaller than McNutt, but he was in this match. After a scoreless first period, the wrestlers would trade takedowns in the second, with McNutt securing his in the final five seconds to take the lead. McNutt was able to ride out in the third period for the hard-fought 4-2 win.

Cordell Eaton was coming off possibly his best career win, a victory over Northwestern's Zach Chakonis, and would look to keep his early season momentum going with a match against Ross Sealby at 197 pounds. Eaton hit beautiful sweep singles in each of the first two periods, with the second one leading to a second period fall. Early in the season, Eaton has looked like a significantly improved wrestler.

In the final match of the night, Colby Gossett would take on highly touted redshirt freshman Brandon Metz. Metz was coming off a disappointing loss to Conan Jennings and came out with some fire. A quick takedown led to a near side cradle and a 21 second fall for the hometown Metz.

With the win, NDSU improves to 4-2 all-time against Northern Illinois, while moving their early season record to 2-0. Northern Illinois drops to 0-1 early in the season.

Results:
125: Fleetwood (NDSU) dec. West (NIU), 7-1, 3-0 NDSU
133: Sykora (NDSU) tech. fall Jeffery (NIU), 15-0, 8-0 NDSU
141: Sutton (NDSU) dec. Cheloni (NIU), 7-4, 11-0 NDSU
149: Van Maanen (NDSU) dec. Kent (NIU), 8-4, 14-0 NDSU
157: Knutson (NDSU) dec. Kauffman (NIU), 4-2, 17-0 NDSU
165: Fogarty (NDSU) dec. Moore (NIU), 3-2, 20-0 NDSU
174: Wilson (NIU) maj. dec. De La Riva (NDSU), 15-4, 20-4 NDSU
184: McNutt (NDSU) dec. McWhirter (NIU), 4-2, 23-4 NDSU
197: Eaton (NDSU) pinned Sealby (NIU), 4:33, 29-4 NDSU
285: Metz (NDSU) pinned Gossett (NIU), 0:21, 35-4 NDSU

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