Four Bison Wrestlers Qualify for NCAA Tournament

Josh Rodriguez and Clay Ream Place second at Big 12 Championships

TULSA, Okla. (NDSU ATHLETICS) — North Dakota State 125 Josh Rodriguez and 157 Clay Ream both placed second at the Big 12 Wrestling Championships on Sunday, March 5 in the BOK Center. NDSU 133 Cam Sykora placed third, 285 Ben Tynan finished fourth, and 165 Andrew Fogarty, 184 Tyler McNutt and 197 Cordell Eaton all placed sixth.

North Dakota State finished fourth in the team standings with 82.5 points. Oklahoma State claimed eight individual titles to win its fifth straight Big 12 championship with 176.5 points. The Cowboys have won 15 of the last 21 championships. Oklahoma was second (93.5), South Dakota State was third (90.5) and Wyoming was fifth (71.5).

NDSU automatically qualified four wrestlers 125 Rodriguez, 133 Sykora, 157 Ream and 285 Tynan for the NCAA Division I Championships scheduled for March 16-18 at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis. Rodriguez and Ream are making their third straight appearance at the NCAA tournament.

Rodriguez, a redshirt senior from Guadalupe, Calif. (Righetti H.S.), dropped a 7-5 sudden victory-2 overtime decision to No. 10-ranked Nick Piccininni. Piccininni recorded a takedown with 36-seconds left in the overtime period. Rodriguez is now 23-2 overall.

No. 4-ranked Rodriguez trailed 2-1 after the first period, but tied the score at 2-2 with an escape with 1:39 left in the second.

Piccininni led 3-2 with an escape early in the third, but Rodriguez notched a takedown with 33-seconds left for a brief 4-3 lead. Piccininni’s escape with 27-seconds left tied things at 4-4. The wrestlers went scoreless in the first overtime period and gained an escape in the 30-second tie-breaker periods for the 5-5 tie.

Oklahoma State’s No. 6-ranked Joe Smith came out strong against Ream, a redshirt junior from Wentzville, Mo. (Holt H.S.). Smith built a 6-0 lead and over two minutes of riding time with a takedown and 4-point near fall. Smith gained an escape early in the second and picked up a point on 2-minutes, 4-seconds of riding time. Ream is now 24-4 overall.

Sykora, a redshirt freshman from Wheaton, Minn. (Wheaton H.S.), came out aggressive on Sunday morning. He came out and posted a 16-6 major decision over Dylan Hyder of Air Force. In a rematch with his first round opponent, Sykora flipped Northern Colorado’s Rico Montoya for the pin at 1:11 – his second of the season. Sykora improved to 17-3 overall and 3-1 at the tournament.

Tynan, a senior from Kennewick, Wash. (Hanford H.S.), advanced with a 6-1 win over Wyoming’s Brandon Tribble. However, Oklahoma’s No. 18-ranked Ross Larson recorded the pin at 1:48 in the third place match. Tynan is now 18-6 and went 2-2 at the tournament.

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