Thursday, September 22, 2022

2023 NCAA DI The Season: North Dakota State

 *NOTE* - I want to make it clear what this is and what this is not.  What this is NOT is an overview of the entire team. What this is, is a who’s who preview of THIS season 2022-2023. Meaning that I am going to talk about the starters who I feel will have an impact THIS year. Those who will win big matches in duals. Those who will earn placings in major tournaments like CKLV, RENO, MIDLANDS, MATMEN INVITE, SOUTHERN SCUFFLE, CONFERENCES & NCAA’s.  In some cases a weight class will have multiple talented wrestlers. I will note that & I will also be making posts later on about the best wrestle-offs to look forward to this season.  Then after that is determined I will make post later into the season of who our best backups are in the nation.

This post will NOT include redshirts. Those who are redshirting this season will be included in a separate post entitled “22’-23’ Best Redshirts.”  

I think we are definitely looking at a team that will place nine if not all ten in the top eight at the BIG 12 championships & that all nine have the potential to be NCAA qualifiers as well. As to All Americans, NCAA wrestling is such a madhouse of parity, it's hard to say. I would think they are very capable of crowning at least one, if not more.  Graduated is Luke Weber a 2021 BIG 12 champion who placed 5th at the Southern Scuffle on two occasions. 

133 lbs
     Kellyn March OR McGwire Midkiff

I see this being a good wrestle-off between two talented Bison. Kellyn March was 14-9 on the season last year with victories over Iowa State's Ramazan Attasaouv as well as Buffalo's Derek Spann. Even though last season wasn't his best, McGwire Midkiff has had some pretty impressive wins himself. Among them, Zurich Storm of Campbell, Jace Koelzer of Northern Colorado, Christian Moody of Oklahoma & Sid Flores of Air Force. 

141 lbs
Dylan Droegemueller 

Two time NCAA qualifier Dylan Droegemueller has thus far finished 4th-6th-4th at the BIG 12 championships. 17-10 on the season, he will go for his third qualification. 

149 lbs
Gaven Sax 

4th in the Southern Scuffle & 7th in the BIG 12, I think we can expect some big things out of Gaven Sax this season. 

157 lbs
Jared Franek

One match shy of All American honors the past two season, Jared Franek enters his junior season one of the best wrestlers in the nation yet to bring a medal home from the NCAA championships. Having finished 3rd-2nd-2nd in the BIG 12, I'd also call him one of the best yet to win a BIG 12 title. A two time Southern Scuffle place-winner, he won a title last year. 

165 lbs
Michael Caliendo 

14-2 on the year last season, redshirt freshman Michael Caliendo had impressive wins over Iowa State's Austin Kraisser, Northern Iowa's Austin Yant & South Dakota State's Tanner Cook. 

174 lbs
Riley Habisch

A 12-12 record last season, sophomore Riley Habisch just missed out on a top 8 BIG 12 showing. A 10-1 major decision over NCAA qualifier Jackson Hemauer, I would look for Habisch to earn a top 8 conference showing this year. 

184 lbs
D.J. Parker

22-14 on the season last year, sophomore D.J. Parker earned an 8th place finish at the Southern Scuffle & a 6th place finish at the BIG 12's. 

197 lbs
Owen Pentz 

This man is dangerous. 18 victories last season & 12 of them were via fall. This guy can put you on you back from any position at any time. That makes him a threat to anyone he steps on the mat with. A two time NCAA qualifier he owns a 4:49 fall over two time All American Stephen Buchanan of Wyoming & a 6-4 victory over All American Jake Woodley of Oklahoma. 

Brandon Metz 

A three time NCAA qualifier Brandon Metz has placed 7th-5th-8th thus far in the BIG 12. He's also placed twice at the Southern Scuffle with a 4th place finish in 2020 & a 3rd place finish last season. 


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