Gaethje and Hashimoto Head To Omaha For NCAA Championship
Northern Colorado is sending both senior Kenny Hashimoto (141 pounds) and junior Justin Gaethje (157 pounds) to the NCAA Championship for the second time in their careers. Hashimoto is making his first trip to the NCAAs since 2006-07, while this is Gaethje’s second-straight appearance. Both sport records of 0-2 in post-season action.
Both seniors Tony Mustari (125 pounds) and Kenny Hashimoto (141 pounds) were named third-team all-conference by the Western Wrestling Conference after each placed third at the NCAA West Regional in Brookings, South Dakota. Mustari ends his career as a three-time all-conference selection, while Hashimoto is a two-time pick.
2010 West Regional
Kenny Hashimoto finished third at the NCAA West Regional at 141 pounds to earn one of the league’s three automatic bids to the NCAA 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. 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.
In the third and final NCAA Division I wrestling RPI rankings and coaches panel rankings, the Northern Colorado squad has both senior Kenny Hashimoto (141 pounds) and junior Justin Gaethje (157 pounds) appearing in both rankings. Hashimoto is No. 14 in the RPI ranking and second among Western Wrestling Conference competitors as Air Force’s Cole VonOhlen is ninth. In the coaches panel, Hashimoto ranks 22nd, trailing VonOhlen who is No. 18. Gaethje is also No. 14 in the RPI and is the top-ranked WWC wrestler at 157 pounds. Both Tyson Reiner (21) from Northern Iowa and Vince Salminen (24) from South Dakota State also rank among the top 25. IN the coaches panel, Reiner ranks 29th, while Gaethje sits in 30th.
First To 20
Junior Justin Gaethje (157) became the first Bear to 20 wins in the 2009-10 season with his fall against North Dakota State. Gaethje is 24-13 this season and now 56-28 in his career. He has six more wins than any other teammate this season and ranks among the top 10 in the Western Wrestling Conference in terms of wins. Gaethje also posted the best mark of any teammate in Western Wrestling Conference action this season with his record of 5-1.
Division I NCAA
The Bears have finished among the top 25 in terms of team finishes 13 times in NCAA Division I history, placing as high as ninth in 1945-46. The 1968-69 team was the last to place among the top 25, placing 13th overall in the final season as Division I before going to Division II. The Bears have also had two Division I National Champions in Len Lordino (191 pounds, 1961) and Jack Flasche (157 pounds, 1962) during their illustrious career. The last national champion for Northern Colorado was Scott Hewit in 1999 at Division II, when he won the title at 157 pounds.
With his two wins at the NCAA West Regional, senior Tony Mustari (125) placed himself on the all-time wins list in Northern Colorado history with 90. Mustari passes Lanny Paulson (1980-83) and Marty Vigil (1988-92), who are tied for ninth on the chart with 88 wins. Mustari ends his stellar career with the Bears with a 90-42 career-mark, a three-time All-Western Wrestling Conference selection and a three-time NCAA participant.
Honored - Twice
Both junior Justin Gaethje (157) and senior Kenny Hashimoto (141) have been named Western Wrestling Conference Wrestler of the Week this season. Hashimoto earned the award after his 4-0 performance at the Northeast Collegiate Duals, while Gaethje was honored after his wins against Ohio and fifth-ranked Minnesota.
The award for quickest pin this season goes to senior Justin Tuell (285) at just 15 seconds. Tuell recorded his fall over William Lewman from Western Wyoming in the second round of the Old Chicago’s Open. Northern Colorado has recorded 27 falls so far this season with senior Tony Mustari (125) and sophomore Casey Cruz (133/141) tied for the team lead with four each. Senior Kenny Hashimoto (141) has a team-best 21 falls for his career with the Bears.