Hashimoto Earns Bid To NCAA Championship
BROOKINGS, S.D. - Northern Colorado wrestler Kenny Hashimoto will be returning to the NCAA Championship for his senior season after finishing third at the NCAA West Regional on Saturday at 141 pounds and earning one of the league's three automatic bids to the Tournament.
The Bears finished in seventh place at the regionals, scoring 18.5 points. Wyoming snapped Northern Iowa's run of 24 straight regional titles, scoring 75 points to squeak past the Panthers who tallied 74.5. North Dakota State (44.5), Utah Valley (43.5), Air Force (37.5) and South Dakota State (29.5) rounded out the scoring.
Senior 125-pounder Tony Mustari also finished third, while junior Justin Gaethje finished fourth at 157 pounds.
Hashimoto won his opening round against Northern Iowa's Charlie Ettelson, 10-4, but fell in the semifinals to eventual champion Ryan Adams of North Dakota State, 10-4. In the wrestlebacks, Hashimoto avenged a regular season loss to Wyatt Ray from Utah Valley, winning 3-1 and then won a 6-3 decision against Dustin Walraven from South Dakota State.
Mustari dropped his opening bout, 7-2 to Aaron Pickrel from South Dakota State, then worked his way back through the consolation bracket, defeating Justin Solberg (North Dakota State) 6-2, pinning Northern Iowa's Caleb Flores in 4:53 and defeating Pickrel 8-3 in the third-place match. He then wrestled his nemesis Ben Kjar from Utah Valley in the true-second match, losing 2-1 in the first overtime.
Gaethje earned a bye in the first round after being seeded second. In the quarterfinals, he lost a 12-9 decision to eventual champion Vince Salminen from North Dakota State. Against Jamision Moss from Utah Valley in the wrestlebacks he won a 14-7 decision before dropping an 11-10 decision to Jimmy Belleville from Wyoming in the third-place match.
Senior Justin Tuell posted a 1-2 record at 285 pounds, while freshmen Justin Gonzales (149) and Kevin O'Brien (165) also went 1-2 on the afternoon. Brett Bahe (133), Brandon Kammerzell (174), Patrick Prentice (184) and Ed Matthews (197) all went 0-2 at regionals.
Hashimoto will compete at the NCAA Championship in the season finale on March 18-20 in Omaha, Nebraska.