Wrestling Hosts Final Home Match On Wednesday
Wednesday marks the final home dual for four seniors in Kenny Hashimoto, Ed Matthews, Tony Mustari and Justin Tuell. Three of the four will be in the lineup for the match against Utah Valley at 7:00 p.m. and all four will be honored prior to the beginning of the match.
The dual will be available via internet streaming on b2tv.com for a nominal fee. The video feed becomes live 10 minutes before the start of the match.
A pair of youngsters on the team are coming into their own at the end of the season. Freshman Justin Gonzales (149 pounds) and Kevin O'Brien (165) are both on three-match winning streaks, the longest active streaks on the team. Gonzales' streak is over the last four matches as he did not have a bout at Nebraska, bringing his season record to 6-7 in a Blue & Gold uniform after going 16-4 through the first part of the year competing unattached. O'Brien joined the team at the semester break and is now 3-4 on the year after dropping his first four bouts.
Last Time Out
Northern Colorado snapped a five-match losing streak with a pair of home victories over Air Force (24-13) and South Dakota State (28-15). Junior Justin Gaethje (157 pounds) won a pair of technical falls and senior Kenny Hashimoto (141) upset 15th-ranked Cole VonOhlen from Air Force. Sophomore Brett Bahe, freshman Justin Gonzales, freshman Kevin O'Brien and senior Justin Tuell also won both bouts over the weekend.
Scouting The Opponent
Utah Valley is currently 3-1 in Western Wrestling Conference action and has one ranked wrestler among its roster in 11th-ranked junior Ben Kjar at 125 pounds. Historically, the matches between Kjar and Mustari have kept the crowd on the edges of their seats. A year ago, Kjar won the only meeting between the two, while two years ago Mustari won all three meetings by one point or in overtime. Utah Valley has alternated wins and losses in its last five matches, most recently defeating South Dakota State 38-6 on Friday evening.
Second Rankings and RPI
In the second of three NCAA wrestling coaches' panel rankings and the first Rating Percentage Index (RPI) for the 2009-10 season, Northern Colorado has two wrestlers ranked in each list. Senior Kenny Hashimoto is ranked 21 at 141 pounds according to the coaches' panel and 12 in the RPI, while junior Justin Gaethje is 31 in the coaches' rankings and 18 in the RPI at 157 pounds. The final rankings and RPI will be two of the tools used as part of the selection process to determine the qualifiers for the 2010 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships.
First To 20
Junior Justin Gaethje (157) became the first Bear to 20 wins in the 2009-10 season with his fall against North Dakota State. Gaethje is 22-11 this season and now 54-26 in his career. He has seven more wins than any other teammate this season.
Oh So Close
Senior Tony Mustari (125) is now just one victory shy of appearing on the school's all-time career victories list. Mustari sits with 87 wins, while Lanny Paulson (1980-83) and Marty Vigil (1988-92) are tied for ninth on the chart with 88 wins.
Honored - Twice
Both junior Justin Gaethje (157) and senior Kenny Hashimoto (141) have been named Western Wrestling Conference Wrestler of the Week this season. Hashimoto earned the award after his 4-0 performance at the Northeast Collegiate Duals, while Gaethje was honored after his wins against Ohio and fifth-ranked Minnesota.
The award for quickest pin so far this season goes to senior Justin Tuell (285) at just 15 seconds. Tuell recorded his fall over William Lewman from Western Wyoming in the second round of the Old Chicago's Open. Northern Colorado has recorded 27 falls so far this season with senior Tony Mustari (125) and sophomore Casey Cruz (133/141) tied for the team lead with four each. Senior Kenny Hashimoto (141) has a team-best 21 falls for his career with the Bears.