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Caliendo upsets past NCAA champion Griffith, strong start propels No. 17 NDSU to 18-17 win at Stanford

by Benjamin Dishong, NDSU Athletics

Michael Caliendo (NDSU) battles Shane Griffith (Stanford) in January 12, 2023 dual meet
Michael Caliendo (NDSU) battles Shane Griffith (Stanford). Photo by John Sachs,

STANFORD, Calif. – North Dakota State Wrestling picked up dual win No. 600 in program history with a strong start to defeat Stanford 18-17 on the road at the Burnham Pavilion & Ford Center Thursday night.

The Bison picked up a pair of key victories at the start, beginning with #2 Jared Franek defeating a strong challenge from Charlie Darracott with a 9-2 decision at 157 pounds. Franek had a takedown in each period and added an escape, a penalty point and riding time for the win.

In the next match, #15 Michael Caliendo avenged a loss in the 165-pound Southern Scuffle finals 10 days ago by defeating #2 Shane Griffith, 2021 NCAA champion, with two takedowns in a 6-3 decision to extend the Bison lead to 6-0. Caliendo took a 2-0 lead after a takedown in the first. With a 2-1 lead in the third, Caliendo escaped before Griffith secured a takedown to tie the match. Caliendo then escaped and sealed the victory with a late takedown in the final seconds.

Caliendo’s win is the first for a Bison in the Division I era against a former national champion. The win also matches Owen Pentz victory at the NCAA Championships two seasons ago as the highest ranked victory by a Bison individual in the Division I era.

Following a tight loss from Gaven Sax in a 9-6 battle against #27 Tyler Eischens at 174 pounds, the Bison reeled off three-straight wins that proved to be the difference in the dual.

The Bison started the run with a win at 184 pounds by #31 DJ Parker, as he jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead and rode his way to a 5-0 win over Jack Darrah. #16 Owen Pentz then picked up another key victory as he pinned #22 Nick Stemmet at 1:52 to put the Bison up 15-3.

In the heavyweight match, #29 Juan Mora recorded an escape in the final seconds to force sudden victory. In the overtime period, Mora took down Peter Ming to win 5-3 in the final victory of the night for the Bison.

At 125 pounds, Ryan Henningson appeared to level the match in the third period with #15 Nico Provo by getting an escape before he chased Provo out of bounds. However, an escape was not awarded and Provo picked up two nearfall points to hold on for a 10-6 win.

Stanford would pick up major decision wins at 133 and 149 pounds, as well as an upset win at 141 pounds to pull to within one point at the end of the dual.

The dual victory is program win No. 600 for Bison Wrestling, as the team improves to 600-286-18 all time.

The Bison will return to action on Saturday, as North Dakota State takes on California Baptist. The match is set for a 5 p.m. CT, 3 p.m. PT, start in Riverside.

#17 North Dakota State 18, RV Stanford 17

Thursday, Jan. 12, 2023 | Burnham Pavilion & Ford Center | Stanford, Calif.

157: #2 Jared Franek (NDSU) over Charlie Darracott (STAN) (Dec 9-2); NDSU 3-0

165: #15 Michael Caliendo (NDSU) over #2 Shane Griffith (STAN) (Dec 6-3); NDSU 6-0

174: #27 Tyler Eischens (STAN) over Gaven Sax (NDSU) (Dec 9-6); NDSU 6-3

184: #31 DJ Parker (NDSU) over Jack Darrah (STAN) (Dec 5-0); NDSU 9-3

197: #16 Owen Pentz (NDSU) over #22 Nick Stemmet (STAN) (Fall 1:52); NDSU 15-3

285: #29 Juan Mora (NDSU) over Peter Ming (STAN) (SV-1 5-3); NDSU 18-3

125: #15 Nico Provo (STAN) over Ryan Henningson (NDSU) (Dec 10-6); NDSU 18-6

133: Jackson Disario (STAN) over McGwire Midkiff (NDSU) (MD 9-0); NDSU 18-10

141: Jason Miranda (STAN) over #20 Dylan Droegemueller (NDSU) (Dec 9-6); NDSU 18-13

149: #22 Jaden Abas (STAN) over #16 Kellyn March (NDSU) (MD 14-5); NDSU 18-17