5TH SEASON, COLUMN 16: HOW DO YOU DO, NDSU, PLUS LATE MOVES & EARLY INDICA-TIONS

The 1st of a two part preseason looksee at the best, bitterest rivals plus still more startling staff and schedule suprises.

•NDSU 2021-2022

•11/6 California Baptist

•11/11 Missouri

•11/13 Bison Open

•12/4 @ Augustana

•12/10 @ Binghamton/Edinboro

•12/11 @ Buffalo

•1/1-2/2022 @ Southern Scuffle

•1/14 @ Utah Valley

•1/16 @ Wyoming

•1/22 @ Northern Iowa

•1/23 @ Iowa State

•1/29 West Virginia

•1/30 Air Force

•2/11 Little Rock

•2/13 Northern Colorado

•2/20 @ South Dakota State (Border Bell)

It is the state that helped forge perhaps our greatest President.(1) For decades its largest city, Fargo, has hosted thousands of Americas best young wrestlers in a multi-day two style test of wills every August. First, though, for 131 years Fargo has been the home of North Dakota State University. And, since 1957 the Bison have stampeded onto the mats and pretty much over everybody in their way. 18 conference and 4 National titles in Division II. Three more Division one conference or regular season crowns in a row as members of the old Western Wrestling Conference. A staggering ONE HUNDRED FORTY NINE(2) All Americans. Column fandom has been focused on the folks from Fargo for quite some time. This years squad, though, is different in quality and direction from Head Coach Roger Kishs first decades worth of teams. Different as in, simply, better. Since 2011, when the soft spoken, rock hard former Minnesota two time National Finalist became the Bisons fourth Head Coach Kish has been molding something special. Even significant success, if not followed by continuous post season progress, simply isn’t tolerated. Witness 2019 when a sterling 10-6 regular season dissolved into a bottom third finish at the Big 12s and an NCAA points total well south of double digits. Kish quickly bid farewell to eight years of Bison coaching experience in Jarrod Garnett, Matt Nagel and Gage Hutchison. Welcome Obenson (Obe, please) Blanc and Austin Marsden. For that story check this seasons Column 1. Just recently former NDSU four time National qualifier and Big 12 champ Cam Sykora (@cam5xtimer) returned, now as the staffs Volunteer Assistant. A mature and motivated brain trust will be working with a herd of 34, four seniors, four juniors, the rest underclassmen. The Alpha Bison spot the past 2 seasons has been held down by one of two West Fargo High homeboys on the roster. 157lb Jared Franek is 40-12 the last 2 campaigns after an abbreviated but excellent 10-2 redshirt year in 2019. Franek took two losses last year to eventual undefeated National champ David Carr, and two more at NCAAs by one point each to All Americans Ryan Deakin of Northwestern and Jacori Teemer of Arizona State. They’re all back and probably better. Franek will be also. the BIG Bison, though, is undoubtedly senior 285lb Brandon Metz. Metz, like Franek, is a two time NCAA Qualifier as well as a three time Big 12 All Academic Team member. After a sterling 22-10 sophomore season Metz was off form last year though he did make his second straight NCAA trip. If he’s ready do NOT expect anything less than a fourth Academic honor, third NCAA trip, and a 20 plus win season for the other West Fargo High standout. Athletes from 14 states rep the Green and Gold. As North Dakota is not an epicenter for D1 talent NDSU has always snagged cross border talent from Minnesota. Nearly a third of this years team, 11, call their across the river neighbor home. Soon to be three year starter 141lb Dylan Droegemuller is one of those. Dylan, like Metz, had a bit of a bumpy 2021 season matwise as he missed NCAAs after qualifying as a redshirt freshman the previous year. No problem in the classroom, though, as he’s two for two for both the Big 12 and the NWCA All Academic team. Grappling runs deep in the Droegemuller family, as Grandpa Ken hit the mats for Minnesota State-Mankato and both father Darren and Uncle Dave competed for Nebraska. There’s two sets of Bison brothers; sophomore Zach and freshman Ryan Watts (Dad Terry was a Fresno St. Bulldog) and sophomore Michael Weber and his senior sibling Luke, a Nebraska transfer. Last year Luke ran off 13 straight W’s after a 1-2 start. He won the Big 12 165lb title and his two NCAA losses were to National Champ Shane Griffith and Missouri All American, now Junior World Champion Keegan O’Toole. Weber faces multiple returning All Americans in his own conference this season. He will be ready. The Bison have four Big 12 road matches in a row in a 10 day January span, three of them against expected front runners. They’ll finish with the epic Border Bell showdown with “that team down South”, the SDSU Jackrabbits. It’s been a four matchups in three years winning streak for the Bison over their talented rivals from Brookings, S. D. Folks, the Dakotas take their wrestling SERIOUSLY, catch this throwdown any way you can. No easy start for NDSU either as they open with hungry, soon to be conference foe California Baptist and Missouri five days later. The Tigers won 9 straight MAC titles in their nine years in that conference and Mizzou returns to the Big 12 as an immediate co-favorite. By the time NDSU turns the calendar over at the Southern Scuffle (they rocked out last time there in 2020, finishing fifth) Kish and co. will have a firm handle on the Bisons direction and a hands free setting on the throttle.

HIRES & HUNTS, DATES ‘N DOINS

It’s goodbye Davidson and hello American University as Joey Dance moves from Andy Lausiers Wildcats staff to Jason Borelli’s Eagles. Now using @AUdance93 the former Virginia Tech Two time All American has begun to establish a rep as a quality recruiter. The move both settles Americans staff and leaves an opening in the Wildcats coaching rotation. Coach Lausiers National search is underway, so send your resumes.

He has a Bachelors degree in Health, A Masters in Business Administration, 7 years worth of collegiate wrestling glory and heartbreak, and possibly the sports most famous neck brace. Now former Duke star and Missouri All American Grant Leeth is trying to fill his time as a California RTC staffer, as an engine for the Cardinal Wrestling Club, and the Volunteer Assistant on Rob Kolls Stanford Cardinal staff. Congratulations, Grant, and have you finished that Doctoral critique on the Endochronic Properties of Resublimated Thiotimoline yet? (3) The wrestling team and Isaac Asimovs estate are waiting.

Defintely in at Edinboro, new coaches Tyler Vath and Sam Recco. Both wrestled for the Fightin Scots. Possibly out, Assistant Earnest James. A phone call and an email went unanswered and there’s no staff news on “The 814 Takedown” podcast co-hosted by Edinboro Head Coach Matt Hill and Joe Lodanosky. Lots of fun stuff on the first few episodes, though, with guests including PSU wrestling voice Jeff Byers and Clarion Head Coach Keith Ferraro. Check the Golden Eagles preview in this seasons Column 9.

Duke Head Coach Glen Lanham has a “Team of Rivals” hire, bringing four time NCAA qualifier, two time ACC Champ, North Carolina All American Ethan Ramos onto the Blue Devils staff. Ethan competes internationally for Puerto Rico alongside brother Evan and comes over from the Rutgers Training Center program. Ethan, BTW, was Academic All ACC every year at Carolina. Should fit right in.

Oregon State Head Coach Chris Pendleton has many qualities, of which one is apparently the ability to recognize and reward talent. Or maybe it’s just that Assistant Coach Nate Engels light just shines too bright to ignore. Some of both, more than likely, which is why its now Oregon State Associate Head Coach Nate Engel. The Beavers, previewed in this seasons Column 8, seem poised to help polish up the sheen of West Coast wrestling.

The fact that Oklahoma State made a major announcement trumpeting a million dollar upgrade to its wrestling facility is puzzling. Almost as puzzling as why the school with 34 National Championships, 148 individual titles, and damn near A HALF THOUSAND(2) All American awards wouldn’t/couldnt put a zero on the back end of that anonymous donors gift.

•APPALACHIAN STATE 2021-2022

•11/7 @ Southeast Open

•11/14 Mountaineer Invitational

•11/21 @ Keystone Classic

•12/12 NC State

•12/17 UNC

•12/19 @ Bellarmine

•1/1-2/2022 @ Southern Scuffle

•1/7 The Citadel

•1/13 @ Duke

•1/21 VMI & Little Rock

•1/25 Gardner-Webb

•1/29 Appalachian Open

•2/6 @ UTC

•2/13 Campbell

•2/18 @ Davidson/Presbyterian

OK, so a bullet point schedule isn’t anywhere as stylish as the Mountaineers own rollout of their season where a different App. State grappler revealed a date twenty minutes apart from each other on Twitter, but hey, you can print this. While you’re at it mark down that 5 day run where the Mountaineers will have a Black and Gold-Out full house happening to “welcome” National Champion contender NC State and perennial Top flight in state rival North Carolina.

•CORNELL 2021-2022

•11/20 Stanford

•12/3-4 @ Cliff Keen Las Vegas

•12/20-21 @ National Duals Destin, FL.

•1/1-2/2022 @ Southern Scuffle

•1/8 @ Lehigh

•1/16 Army West Point

•1/22 Harvard & Brown

•1/29 Columbia & Navy

•2/5 @ Princeton

•2/6 @ Penn, Drexel

•2/12 Binghamton

•2/20 @ Wisconsin

Check this seasons Column 4 and 10 for a thumbnail plus size analysis of the Big Red. As to the current AND newest mat-bound Cornellians, space and time disallows an in depth breakdown. Here’s the down ‘n dirty version: they’re all very smart, stupid good, probably humble, and if there’s a starter amongst the newbies this year, he/they will challenge for an NCAA qualifying spot. Sit by any of them at any tournament Cornells participating in 20 years from now and they’ll make room, smile and gently correct your wrestling knowledge mistakes. Just let them buy the coffee and the muffin. Its in their DNA and their wallets.

See you sometime soon!

Ted Carreras

(1) After Theodore Roosevelt suffered the inconceivable loss of both his mother and his wife on the same night under their shared roof, it was a broken man who headed West. The Dakotas healed him and he became a rancher, lawman, big game hunter AND avid conservationist. Eventually as our 26th President he helped fix and reforge America. His words: “I can never begin to say what I owe to North Dakota.”

(2) The Scribe knows the “under 10, written, over 10, numerical” rule. EMPHASIS, well earned.

(3) “Endochronic Thiotimoline” and the humorous science fiction story about it were jokes to both its author, the late Isaac Asimov, and his Doctoral Dissertation panel. They let him know his work was accepted by inquiring about the imaginary material. Probably only a Stanford athlete, its new wrestling coach, and the Scribe will find this funny. Probably.