Wrestling At Home ... Finally
COMPLETE RELEASE: Northern Iowa, Stanford
Home Sweet Home
It's a rarity this season, seeing the Northern Colorado wrestlers at home, but something they are all thankful for. The Bears open the home dual portion of their season and Western Wrestling Conference action with a dual against #22 Northern Iowa on Saturday, before hosting Stanford on Saturday. Both matches are set to begin at 7:00 p.m. in Butler-Hancock Sports Pavilion.
Another Ranked Opponent
Returning home doesn't make things much easier for NC as it hosts #22 Northern Iowa on Friday. The Panthers are the seventh ranked opponent the Bears have dualed against this year but the last on the schedule for this season.
Virginia Duals Recap
Freshman Mitchell Polkowske (149 pounds) posted a perfect 3-0 record in bouts against #23 Old Dominion, Liberty and Clarion, while sophomore Justin Gaethje (157) and freshman Casey Cruz (133) each posted records of 2-1. Junior Tony Mustari (125) wrestled just once as both Liberty and Clarion forfeited that weight class. The team dropped all three matches during day one.
First To 20
Freshman 149-pounder Mitchell Polkowske became the first Bear to reach 20 victories this season and is now 20-5 entering his first bout in Western Wrestling Conference action. His 20 wins are the most for a true freshman since transitioning to Division I, as both juniors Kenny Hashimoto and Tony Mustari won 19 bouts in their freshman years and former wrestler Alex Joseph posted 19 wins in 2003-04, the first year of the transition.
Against The Panthers
Northern Colorado is looking to become the first-ever team to defeat Northern Iowa in a Western Wrestling Conference dual. The Panthers have posted perfect 4-0 records the last two seasons and have also won 23 straight NCAA Regional titles. Last season, NC fell 36-6 to UNI and 27-18 in 2007. Northern Colorado is 6-6 in two seasons of conference action, going 2-4 in 2007 and 4-2 a year ago.
Against The Cardinal
Saturday will be the third dual against a Pac-10 team this season as the Bears lost to Boise State, 39-3 and then defeated Portland State 36-12 at the Northern Duals in Rochester, Minn. This will be the first-ever meeting between Stanford and Northern Colorado.
Junior Tony Mustari won the 60th match of his career in his first bout of the UNK Loper Open. Mustari is now 65-20 in his career with the Bears with a record of 15-5 so far this season.
Tony Times Four
In all four of the publications that release national rankings, junior 125-pounder Tony Mustari is ranked. He is 15th by Amateur Wrestling News, is 18th in the Intermat/NWCA Coaches Poll, 19th in W.I.N. Magazine and is 23rd according to the Wrestling Report. Mustari is currently 15-5 on the season and his last three losses are to nationally ranked grapplers.
After every home event, please join the Northern Colorado coaches and members of the wrestling community at Old Chicago's, season sponsor of Northern Colorado wrestling, to break down that evening's match.
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.
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.