Photo By Nolan P. Schmidt
Before we begin, this is a new thing for Bison Illustrated. I figured since I try to be in attendance at every home event North Dakota State holds, I’d make use of my precious time. Therefore, rather than provide with you a recap, which you can find over at The Forum’s website, I’d put my own spin on it.
From here on out, I will try to give you three things from each event I am at. It could be something I learned, something I took away or whatever else is on my mind after the event. Either way, they’ll be quick slices of thought from yours truly.
We begin with Bison wrestling, who welcomed Big 12 foe (and former NCC rival) Northern Colorado on this chilly afternoon in Fargo. North Dakota State prevailed 30-7, winning eight of the ten weight classes.
“It was a good day here today,” said head coach Roger Kish. “Happy about the energy these guys brought today.”
Now to what I learned:
Number 1: Cam Sykora is picking up steam, that’s frightening for opponents.
The redshirt junior would be the first to tell you that he has not gotten the outcomes he’d like over the last three or four weeks. Against Iowa State, Sykora lost to Austin Gomez is a sudden victory period. In NDSU’s next dual against Pitt, he dropped his match to Micky Phillippi 2-0. Granted, both of those opponents were ranked in the top ten in the country at 133 pounds. However, Sykora’s last two matches have yielded different results, outcomes that have surely boosted Sykora’s confidence as March draws closer. Sykora will tell you he always has confidence, regardless of previous outcomes.
“I’m always confident. I’m right there with the best in the nation, I think. I’m right there,” Sykora said after the match today. “I’m always confident, nothing to worry about there.”
Against Central Michigan on Thursday, he earned a 10-2 major decision over Deven Perez. With the first match of that dual resulting in a forfeit, the major provided a needed boost for North Dakota State. The team ended up winning that dual 23-15. This afternoon, Sykora showed why he is one of the top competitors in his weight class. He earned a tech fall victory at five minutes over Northern Colorado’s Sean Cannon. To call it an exhibition in technical wrestling would be accurate as Sykora wore down his opponent with several takedowns and near fall scenarios. It was another tech fall for the Wheaton, Minnesota, native, who is already in the upper echelon of the NCAA in the statistic.
Needless to say, Sykora, who is one the most valued wrestlers in the Bison lineup is picking up steam as the Big 12 and NCAA Championships approach. Peaking in this manner is obviously what Sykora and Roger Kish want. With Sykora’s ultimate goal being a Big 12 and national champion, these results have to boost his swagger on the mat. In a very competitive weight class at 133, swagger is important. Sykora has it.
Number 2: When Jaden Van Maanen is in attack mode, look out
The redshirt freshman 149-pounder is another Bison that has not quite gotten the results he has wanted this season. Over the course of the last four duals, effort and intensity have been the key teaching points inside the wrestling room according to Roger Kish. It seems as though Van Maanen has taken those lessons to heart and it showed in his performance today.
Coming off a loss to Central Michigan’s Dresden Simon, a match he nearly won despite falling down early in the first period, Van Maanen responded today. He picked up a dominating 15-4 major decision over Dante Rodriguez. From the second the match began, the La Crosse, Wisconsin, native was in all-out attack mode, leading to Rodriguez taking some injury time after a takedown.
Regardless of if Rodriguez was 100 percent, Van Maanen was ready to attack throughout the rest of the match. He spent most of the bout on top of his opponent and had a few near fall scenarios too. Van Maanen is one of the budding stars in this program and the potential has certainly been there all season. With his performance on the mat today, we may see a big leap forward for Jaden Van Maanen as February and March approaches.
Number 3: Luke Weber may be just bursting onto the scene in Fargo, but he’s been on the scene for some time now.
The Nebraska transfer may be new to Bison fans and his results so far have been eye-opening to some. However, Weber has been a steady contributor dating back to his Big Ten days. In his true freshman season with the Cornhuskers, Weber went 26-7 with 11 pins as an unattached competitor. Last season as a redshirt freshman, he compiled a 19-6 record for Nebraska with five pins.
Weber has since knocked off ranked opponents in Pitt’s Taleb Rahmani and Central Michigan’s Logan Parks in his two matches coming into today. This afternoon, Weber took care of business again, beating Northern Colorado’s Jordan Robison 8-2.
“He’s provided depth. He’s found ways to beat some talented kids and provide a spark there in the middle,” said Roger Kish.
Needless to say, Weber seems to be the new face at 157 pounds for NDSU. However, he has had previous success at the Divison I level. His wrestling résumé is enough to perk up eyes and ears in Fargo. With his performance so far this season, he should be receiving some national attention (I’m looking at you FloWrestling) if he continues to perform at this high of a level for the Bison.
Those are my three things from today’s NDSU wrestling win over Northern Colorado. Stay tuned for more.