Bears Finish Third At NCAA West Regional
GREELEY, Colo. - Two champions and three second-place finishes by the University of Northern Colorado wrestling team helped the Bears to a third-place team finish at the 2009 NCAA West Regional. The Bears tallied 70.5 points, finishing behind Northern Iowa (94) and Wyoming (92.5) in one of the most closely contested regionals in recent history.
After the conclusion of the NCAA Regional, the Western Wrestling Conference announced its awards for the conference championship portion of the event. Northern Iowa's Moza Fay was named the Outstanding Wrestler, while the Panther's Alex Dolly won the most pins. Wyoming's Mark Branch, in his first season with the Cowboys, was named the league's Coach of the Year.
"We are really happy to get a true freshman (Polkowske) and a true sophomore (Gaethje) to nationals," said Head Coach Jack Maughan. "I wish we could have taken care of business in a couple of other areas, but we have four others eligible for wildcards to the NCAA Championship. We just have to wait on the committee's decision on Wednesday. This is a very young team, and we took another step forward today, taking third with a pretty strong showing, but you're never satisfied when you're not the champion."
True freshman Mitchell Polkowske continued his stellar campaign in 2009, winning the title at 149 pounds with two thrilling one point decisions. In the semifinals, he defeated Trevor Kittleson of Northern Iowa, 10-9 in a match that was protested and came back to post a 5-4 decision over top-seeded Ryan Adams of North Dakota State, 5-4. Polkowske is now 28-6 on the year.
Sophomore Justin Gaethje also continued his dominance, stretching his winning streak to 12 straight with two wins for the title at 157 pounds. Gaethje defeated Vincent Salminen of North Dakota State 12-7 in the semifinals and defeated Northern Iowa's Tyson Reiner 6-4 in the finals.
At 125 pounds, junior Tony Mustari was seeded second and finished true to his seed. He defeated Justin Solberg (North Dakota State) 8-4 in the semifinals and lost for the second-straight week to top-seeded Michael Martinez, this time in a 3-2 decision.
Freshman Brett Bahe also finished second at 133 pounds. He pinned Northern Iowa's Steven Fitzgerald in 4:32 in the semifinals before losing an 11-2 major decision to top-seeded Cory VomBaur of Wyoming.
Junior Kenny Hashimoto competed in three extremely close matches, defeating Dustin Walraven (SDSU) in overtime, 10-8 in the quarterfinals and Wyoming's Cole Dallaserra 6-5 in semifinals before dropping a 5-3 decision to top-seeded Trent Washington of Northern Iowa.
Senior Ryan Johnson at 184 pounds, finished in third place for the second-straight season, though last year he was at 174 pounds. Johnson fell to Northern Iowa's Alex Dolly in 1:56 in the semifinals, then bounced back to post a major decision win over Brett Boyce of Air Force, 13-3 and an 8-2 decision over North Dakota State's Kenny Moenkedick.
Sophomore Eric Brennan at 197 pounds and senior Daniel Prater at 165 pounds both finished in fourth place for the Bears.
Mustari, Hashimoto, Bahe and Johnson will await the NCAA selection committee to see if they earn at-large berths. Mustari is hoping to head to his third-straight NCAA Championship, while Hashimoto is looking for a second trip after going in 2007. Bahe and Johnson would be first-time selections. Those announcements will take place on March 11 and the Championships begin March 19 in St. Louis.
Semifinals: #2 Tony Mustari (NC) dec. #3 Justin Solberg (NDS), 8-4
Finals: #1 Michael Martinez (UW) dec. #2 Tony Mustari (NC),
Semifinals: #2 Brett Bahe (NC) FALL Steven Fitzgerald (NI), 4:32
Finals: #1 Cory VomBaur (UW) MD #2 Brett Bahe (NC),
Quarterfinals: #2 Kenny Hashimoto (NC) SV Dustin Walraven (SDS), 10-8
Semifinals: #2 Kenny Hashimoto (NC) dec. #3 Cole Dallaserra (UW), 6-5
Finals: #1 Trent Washington (NI) dec. #2 Kenny Hashimoto (NC), 5-3
Semifinals: #2 Mitchell Polkowske (NC) dec. #3 Trevor Kittleston (NI), 10-9
Finals: #2 Mitchell Polkowske (NC) dec. #1 Ryan Adams (NDS),
Semifinals: #1 Justin Gaethje (NC) dec. #4 Vincent Salminen (NDS), 12-7
Finals: #1 Justin Gaethje (NC) dec. #3 Tyson Reiner (NI), 6-4
Quarterfinals: Daniel Prater (NC) dec. #4 Justin Shadrix (AF), 2-1
Semifinals: #1 Moza Fay (NI) FALL Daniel Prater (NC),
Wrestleback Semifinals: Daniel Prater (NC) dec. Weston Ginther (SDS), 9-3
Third Place Match: #2 Tyler Johnson (NDS) dec. Daniel Prater (NC), 7-2
Quarterfinals: #4 Stephen Crozier (AF) dec. Brandon Kammerzell (NC), 5-0
Wrestleback Semifinals: #3 Scott Elliott (SDS) MD Brandon
Kammerzell (NC), 11-3
Semifinals: #2 Alex Dolly (NI) FALL #3 Ryan Johnson (NC), 1:56
Wrestleback Semifinals: #3 Ryan Johnson (NC) MD Brett Boyce
Third Place Match #72: #3 Ryan Johnson (NC) dec. #4 Kenny Moenkedick (NDS), 8-2
Quarterfinals: #3 Eric Brennan (NC) dec. James Ciccone (AF), 9-4
Semifinals: #2 Tyler Sorenson (SDS) MC #3 Eric Brennan (NC), 10-1
Wrestleback Semifinals: #3 Eric Brennan (NC) FALL Drew Ross
Third Place Match #74: #4 Alfonso Hernandez (UW) dec. #3 Eric Brennan (NC), 6-4
Quarterfinals: Justin Tuell (NC) FALL #4 Stephen Larson (AF) 3:19
Semifinals: #1 Christian Brantley (NI) MD Justin Tuell (NC), 15-4
Wrestleback Semifinals: Tyler Hemmesch (NDS) FALL Justin Tuell (NC), 0:26