Wrestling sweeps past WWC foes Bison, Jackrabbits
GREELEY, Colo. -- Bring out the brooms.
The Northern Colorado wrestling team won a pair of home duals Sunday against Western Wrestling Conference foes North Dakota State and South Dakota State to remain undefeated this year at Butler-Hancock.
The Bears (5-6, 2-2 WWC) started the afternoon with a thrilling 22-21 tiebreaker win over the Bison and then backed it up with a 27-15 victory against the Jackrabbits. After the 10 matches against the Bison, the two teams were tied at 21, but the Bears won the tiebreaker by winning six of the 10 matches.
"That dual (NDSU) came down to those three pins," Northern Colorado coach Ben Cherrington said. "North Dakota State is a good team. They've wrestled some good schools close this year. We knew if we wrestled well we had a chance. Our guys wrestle well at home -- we have great fans and it's easy for them to get excited about wrestling at home. And it's always easier to wrestle a second match. Your juices are flowing and you're already ready to go."
Freshman Henry Chirino (285 pounds), sophomore Sam Bauer (133), senior Casey Cruz (141), sophomore Justin Gonzales (149), senior Gabe Burak (165) and Nick Bayer (197) all won matches in both duals, while sophomore Cody McAninch (184) won his lone match against SDSU.
Chirino started both duals for the Bears and only allowed a single point against him. He won 4-0 against Evan Knutson from North Dakota State and then defeated SDSU's Joe Skow 6-1. Skow actually scored the first point in the second period after neither wrestler put points on the board in the first stanza.
Bauer snapped a two-match losing streak, shutting out Justin Solberg, 6-0 in the first match and then posted a 4-2 decision against Nick Chavez.
Cruz also had a shutout decision against the Bison, winning 5-0 over Tyler Diamond. In the night cap he won an exciting 7-6 decision over Dustin Walraven. Walraven jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second period with an escape and takedown, but Cruz scored three points in the final 1:12 to knot the score at 3-3 heading into the final two minutes. Cruz recorded one takedown and two escapes, while Walraven had one of each to keep the fans on the edge of their seats.
"Casey isn't always the most athletic guy out there," said Cherrington. "He figures out positions and he works hard and that's how he's been successful. It's the guys that work the hardest that often get the win. That's why a sport like wrestling is so great and Casey is the perfect example of that."
At 149 pounds, Gonzales won 6-3 against Mark Erickson and then had a injury default win against Andrew Youngblom. After no scoring in the first period, Gonzales scored six straight points with an escape, takedown and 3-point nearfall before Youngblom had to pull out due to injury.
Burak won both matches by pin, winning in just 1:12 against the Bison's Joseph Garner and 3:37 against SDSU's Troy Morisette. Burak is ranked No. 10 this week by Intermat and improves to 17-2 on the year and 10-1 in duals.
"Gabe's leadership is second-to-none," said Cherrington. "Above his ability to win matches is the leadership. Our roster is filled with freshmen and sophomores and to have a guy who's up there at the top and have such strong convictions is great. He has a confidence on the mat that's good to see. He goes out on the mat thinking he's going to win and when you have that, most of the time you're going to have your hand raised at the end."
At 197 pounds, Bayer also won both bouts by decision, winning 6-1 over John Gusewelle and 4-3 against Nick Mart. Against South Dakota State Bayer trailed 3-0 before scoring the final four points of the bout to send the fans home win smiles on their faces.
The Bears continue their home stretch, hosting Utah Valley at 7 p.m. on Wednesday at 7 pm.
North Dakota State at Northern Colorado
Final team score: NC, 22-21 (Bears win by tiebreaker, 6-4)
285 – Henry Chirino (NC) dec. Evan Knutson 4-0
125 – Trent Sprenkle (NDSU) fall Jesse Meis, 4:13
133 – Sam Bauer (NC) dec. Justin Solberg, 6-0
141 – Casey Cruz (NC) dec. Tyler Diamond, 5-0
149 – Justin Gonzales (NC) dec. Mark Erickson, 6-3
157 – Steven Monk (NDSU) fall Charlie Mcmartin, 2:41
165 – Gabe Burak (NC) fall Joseph Garner, 1:12
174 – Tyler Johnson (NDSU) fall Josh VanTine, 1:16
184 – MacKain Stoll (NDSU) dec. Patrick Gomez, 8-3
197 – Nick Bayer (NC) dec. John Gusewelle, 6-1
South Dakota State at Northern Colorado
Final team score: NC, 27-15
285 – Henry Chirino (NC) dec. Joe Skow, 6-1
125 – Aaron Pickrel (SDSU) fall Jesse Meis, 4:59
133 – Sam Bauer (NC) dec. Nick Chavez, 4-2
141 – Casey Cruz (NC) dec. Dustin Walraven, 7-6
149 – Justin Gonzales (NC) inj. Andrew Youngblom, 4:19
157 – Nick Flynn (SDSU) dec. Charlie McMartin, 6-3
165 – Gabe Burak (NC) fall Troy Morissette, 3:37
174 – Dillion Reid (SDSU) fall Jarrod Betchtold, 4:48
184 – Cody McAninch (NC) dec Tony Lisek, 14-7
197 – Nick Bayer (NC) dec Nick Mart, 4-3