FARGO, N.D. – North Dakota State senior wrestler Steven Monk is ranked third nationally at 165 pounds in the preseason Intermat rankings released Tuesday, Oct. 8, headlining a group of three ranked Bison and a No. 24 national ranking for NDSU as a team.

Sophomore Tyler Lehmann is No. 16 at 197 pounds, and senior transfer Justin LaValle is No. 18 at 141 pounds.

Monk, a Wausau, Wis., native, went 36-4 as a junior last season and came up one win shy of All-America honors for the second straight season. He enters the 2013-14 campaign with a 94-22 career record, including 36 wins by fall and a 37-5 mark in duals. Monk recorded five wins over opponents ranked in the top 11 last season.

Lehmann did not compete last season after spending a year at the Olympic Training Center following a decorated high school career for Apple Valley (Minn.) HS and West Fargo HS.

LaValle will use his final season of collegiate eligibility at NDSU after qualifying for the 2012 NCAA Championships at Old Dominion.

Intermat, which ranks schools based on projected NCAA tournament strength, pegged the Bison at No. 24 in the country entering the season. NDSU placed 30th at the 2013 NCAA Wrestling Championships behind a fifth-place finish by 125-pounder Trent Sprenkle and a second-consecutive appearance in the Round of 12 by Monk.

NDSU also returns junior and 2013 NCAA qualifier Evan Knutson at heavyweight.

The Bison will host national power Missouri on Nov. 1 in the Bison Sports Arena to open the season.

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