Wrestling Headed To 36th Annual Cowboy Open
Complete Notes: At Cowboy Open
Northern Colorado will compete on Saturday in the 36th annual Cowboy Open, hosted by the University of Wyoming. The Cowboys are expecting close to 400 wrestlers in the tournament and the Bears are frequent competitors. Other Division I teams expected to compete are Air Force, Boise State, Stanford, Utah Valley and Wyoming.
Northern Colorado faced Boise State, ranked 18th in the preseason polls, to open the 2007-08 season in a neutral site match in Spokane, Wash. The Bears fell 39-3 to the alma mater of current assistant coach Ben Cherrington, winning only the 125-pound weight class. Junior Tony Mustari won a 1-0 decision over Brian Owen in the final bout of the evening.
Back In The Blue & Gold
After taking last season off to train in the sport of Judo, Kenny Hashimoto returns to the Northern Colorado roster for his junior season. Hashimoto will not compete in the opening meets, but figures to be an important figure in Western Wrestling Conference action. In 2006-07, Hashimoto advanced to the NCAA Championship at 141-pounds.
Returning to the 2008-09 roster are seven of the 10 starters from a season ago. Junior Tony Mustari leads the way at 125-pounds and will be shooting for his third-straight NCAA appearance. Also wrestling this weekend from last year's starters are senior Daniel Prater at 157-pounds, senior Ryan Johnson at 184-pounds and senior Patrick Carey at 197-pounds.
Junior Tony Mustari was ranked 14th at 125-pounds in the preseason poll released by Intermat/NWCA. He remained at 14 in the first release after defeating Brian Owen of Boise State in the opener. Mustari was ranked a majority of the 2006-07 season and is looking to build off his 33-8 record.
Northern Colorado earned the distinct honor of hosting the NCAA West Regional in Butler-Hancock Sports Pavilion on March 7. Tickets are available by calling the Northern Colorado ticket office at 970.491.4TIX or going online at www.uncbears.com. Winners of the NCAA West Regional automatically qualify for the NCAA Championship in St. Louis, Mo. The NCAA West Regional also serves as the Western Wrestling Conference Championships, where last season the Bears finished fourth overall.
Two To Nationals
Northern Colorado wrestlers Tony Mustari and Reece Hopkin both earned berths to the NCAA Championship for the second-straight year. Mustari received an at-large berth after finishing second at the NCAA West Regional, while Hopkin won the heavyweight title for the second consecutive season.
Northern Colorado finished the 2008 regular season in second place in the Western Wrestling Conference standings, behind two-time champions Northern Iowa. In the first year of the league, 2006-07, the Bears posted a 2-4 record. At the Western Wrestling Conference Championships, the Bears finished fourth.
The Bears had a pair of wrestlers finish with perfect 6-0 records in 2008 Western Wrestling Conference action in 125-pounder Tony Mustari and senior heavyweight Reece Hopkin. Since the formation of the conference, Hopkin was undefeated with a 12-0 record, while Mustari is 10-2.
West Regional Recap
The Bears finished fourth with 47.5 points, while Northern Iowa posted 119.0 points to win its 23rd straight regional title. 125-pounder Tony Mustari finished second, losing in the finals, 7-5 to Eric Hoffman of North Dakota State, but earned an at-large berth to the NCAA Championship. At 157-pounds, Rocco DePaolo finished third, while Ryan Johnson was third at 174-pounds and Patrick Carey finished third at 197-pounds.
Northern Colorado added eight true freshman to the roster in 2008, including Adam Carey, the younger brother of senior Patrick Carey. Mitchell Polkowske was the lone true freshman on the slate against Boise State on Saturday. The Bears also have six redshirt freshmen on this year's roster, with Brett Bahe, Lance Gallegos, Brandon Kammerzell and Tanner Weiks all opening the season against Boise State. The lone junior college transfer is Tim Frank and competed at 165-pounds against the Broncos.
Head coach Jack Maughan begins his 22nd season at the helm of the Bears wrestling program. He sports a dual record of 124-158-1 in his 21 years and is one of the winningest coaches in school history. Both assistant coaches remain the same for 2008-09 in Austin DeVoe and Ben Cherrington, while the director of operations, Leister Bowling begins his second season and the quartet adds Shane Carwin to the fold as a volunteer coach.