COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The North Dakota State wrestling team rattled off victories in each of the final five matches to claim a 23-15 victory over Air Force in the Western Wrestling Conference opener for both schools at Clune Arena on Friday evening.
North Dakota State (6-7, 1-0 WWC) faced a 15-6 deficit after the first five matches, but the Bison posted a technical fall and four decisions to close out the dual on a 17-0 run.
No. 6 Steven Monk swung the momentum back in NDSU's favor with a dominant 17-1 technical fall over Air Force's Tyler Mergen at 165 pounds.
Sophomore Kurtis Julson (174) and senior Mac Stoll (184) each posted overtime victories in crucial matches to help the Bison move to 1-0 in conference action.
With NDSU trailing 15-11 through six matches, Julson recorded a takedown of Daniel Barringer with nine seconds remaining in the sudden victory period for a 3-1 decision at 174 pounds. Stoll followed up with a 4-2 decision in the first tiebreaker period at 184 pounds, and Kallen Kleinschmidt and Evan Knutson were able to seal the victory with decisions at the final two weights.
In the evening's opening match at 125 pounds, No. 11 Josh Martinez of Air Force pinned No. 6 Trent Sprenkle of NDSU to give Sprenkle his third defeat of the season. Sprenkle was leading the match 6-4 when Martinez earned the fall with 37 seconds remaining in the second period.
Bison freshman Josh Rodriguez dropped a close 7-6 decision to Dylan Hyder at 133 pounds before NDSU seniors Mark Erickson and Joe Garner posted a pair of decisions at 141 and 149 pounds, respectively.
Air Force scored its final team points of the evening when No. 16 Josh Kreimier pinned Tanner Carlisle in the second period at 157 pounds. Carlisle was making his season debut for the Bison.
Air Force (8-2, 0-1) suffered just its second loss in 10 duals this season. The Falcons' only other loss came to No. 13 Oregon State on Jan. 11.
North Dakota State will travel to Laramie, Wyo., for a dual against defending WWC champion No. 14 Wyoming at 3 p.m. (CT) on Sunday, Jan. 27.
North Dakota State 23, Air Force 15
125 - No. 11 Josh Martinez (AF) pinned No. 6 Trent Sprenkle (NDSU), 4:23 ... Air Force leads, 6-0
133 - Dylan Hyder (AF) dec. Josh Rodriguez (NDSU), 7-6 ... Air Force leads, 9-0
141 - Mark Erickson (NDSU) dec. Carter McElhany (AF), 10-5 ... Air Force leads, 9-3
149 - Joe Garner (NDSU) dec. Logan Burch (AF), 12-6 ... Air Force leads, 9-6
157 - No. 16 Joshua Kreimier (AF) pinned Tanner Carlisle (NDSU), 4:29 ... Air Force leads, 15-6
165 - No. 6 Steven Monk (NDSU) tech. fall Tyler Mergen (AF), 17-1 ... Air Force leads, 15-11
174 - Kurtis Julson (NDSU) dec. Daniel Barringer (AF), 3-1 (SV1) ... Air Force leads, 15-14
184 - Mac Stoll (NDSU) dec. Devin Hightower (AF) 4-2 (TB1) ... NDSU leads, 17-15
197 - Kallen Kleinschmidt (NDSU) dec. Joshua Mohr (AF) 7-3 ... NDSU leads, 20-15
285 - Evan Knutson (NDSU) dec. Bentley Alsup (AF) 8-3 ... NDSU wins, 23-15