Wrestling Readies For Trip To Utah Valley
COMPLETE NOTES: at Utah Valley
Northern Colorado heads to Orem, Utah for one match against Utah Valley on Saturday. Utah Valley will be beginning Western Wrestling Conference action, while this will be the Bears fourth dual against a team starting conference duals. The Bears have already won as many duals in conference as they did in the opening season two years ago. Last year they finished 4-2 in the WWC.
Against Utah Valley
Northern Colorado owns a 6-2 all-time record against Utah Valley and is 3-1 against the Wolverines since the inception of the Western Wrestling Conference. In 2007, the team's last time in Orem, the Bears won 30-13 and last season at home posted a 28-10 victory. Utah Valley does not have any nationally ranked wrestlers, according to InterMat.
Senior 184-pounder Ryan Johnson was named the Western Wrestling Conference wrestler of the week after posting thrilling wins over North Dakota State and South Dakota State. He recorded an overtime pin over NDSU's Kenny Moenkedick for just the third fall of his career and second this season. He then opened the competition with a 4-3 victory over SDSU's Zach Blindert. It is the first ward for Johnson and second for a Bear this season as freshmen Mitchell Polkowske earned the award on Dec. 2.
What A Thriller
An overtime bout in the tenth and final weight class lifted Northern Colorado past North Dakota State on Saturday. The two teams tied earlier this season, 19-19 at the Northern Duals, but the Bears held on to win an 18-16 match in Western Wrestling Conference action. The last match of the day at 184 pounds saw senior Ryan Johnson facing Kenny Moenkedick. After the first period, Moenkedick held the slight 2-1 advantage, but Johnson tied it in the second period with an escape and it was knotted at 4-4 at the end of three periods. Johnson got just his second fall of the season at 7:40 for both the individual and team victory. Each team won five weight classes with junior Tony Mustari (125), freshman Brett Bahe (133), sophomore Justin Gaethje (157), Johnson and junior Justin Tuell (285) each winning for the Bears.
Five In A Row
Sunday was the fifth straight win for Northern Colorado against South Dakota State. Starting at the weight class that won it all against North Dakota State the night before, Northern Colorado won a 29-15 match against South Dakota State on Sunday to improve to 4-9-1 on the year, and more importantly, 2-1 in Western Wrestling Conference action. The Bears won seven weight classes en route to the victory, the third straight for the Bears.
In the last six matches, the Bears have won all at both 125 and 133 pounds with junior Tony Mustari getting three wins and three forfeits and freshmen Casey Cruz winning four and Brett Bahe two at 133 pounds. Freshman Mitchell Polkowske has won six of his last seven bouts at 149 pounds, bringing his season total to 23 victories. At 157 pounds, sophomore Justin Gaethje has won five of six bouts and senior Ryan Johnson has won three in a row at 184 pounds.
First To 20
Freshman 149-pounder Mitchell Polkowske became the first Bear to reach 20 victories this season and is now 23-6 after splitting bouts in the Dakotas. 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.
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 19th in the Intermat/NWCA Coaches Poll, 19th in W.I.N. Magazine and is 23rd according to the Wrestling Report. Mustari is currently 18-5 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.
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.