May 25, 2014

Chirino, Polkowske place fifth at ASICS National Championships

By PARKER COTTON

UNCBears.com

AKRON, Ohio – Northern Colorado Wrestling put on a good show this weekend at the 2014 ASICS University Nationals, where the Bears had Mitchell Polkowske and Henry Chirino place fifth in their weights in freestyle and Greco-Roman styles, respectively.

Wrestling at 74 kilograms, or about 163 pounds, Polkowske (LaJara) competed above the 157-pound threshold he's at during the season. He went 7-2 over the course of the weekend, winning three times by decision, three times by technical fall and once by injury default, in the fifth-place match.

"Mitchell wrestled at a higher weight than he did during the year, and he wrestled as well as he did all of last season," interim head coach Ben VomBaur said. "His offense and his counter attacks were crisp and explosive, and he's determined to carry this success into next season."

Chirino (Brandon, Fla.) went 2-2 in the 130-kilogram Greco-Roman bracket, winning once by technical fall and once by decision. Chirino also went 0-2 in the freestyle bracket.

The Bears also took a small handful of other athletes to the tournament, and among them was Ben Polkowske, the younger brother of Mitchell, who went 2-2 on the weekend in the 65-kilogram freestyle bracket. A freshman who joined the Bears in the spring after serving a three-year LDS mission, VomBaur was quite impressed with the youngest Polkowske brother.

"Ben wrestled well considering it's his first tournament in three years," he said. "He has a lot of ability and showed some mental toughness with some gutsy wins."

Also making the trip were Trent Noon, Horacio Vialpando, Nick Alspaugh and Chase Crabtree. Noon went 1-2 in the freestyle bracket, and Vialpando went 1-2 in Greco-Roman to be the only other Bears to pick up wins, but VomBaur said the experience was more important than anything for the young group.

"This was a great opportunity for some of our non-starters from last year to get some mat time and work on getting into next year's lineup," VomBaur said.