Weekly Release: No. 12 Wrestlers Head to NCC Championships in Mankato, Minnesota
This Week's Schedule: The UNC wrestling squad, ranked 12th in the most recent Division II poll, travels to Mankato, Minnesota Sunday for the North Central Conference Championships. The Championships will take place all day Sunday at the newly-finished Taylor Center on the campus of Minnesota State University. The NCC Championships also serve as the North Central Regional with the top four wrestlers at each weight class advancing to the NCAA II Championships March 9-10 in Greeley. Six of the seven schools that sponsor wrestling in the NCC are currently ranked nationally, led by Nebraska-Omaha at no. 1. North Dakota State (no. 2) and South Dakota State (no. 4) are also ranked among the nation's top four. Other NCC schools in the top 20 include Minnesota State (no. 7), UNC (no. 12) and St. Cloud State (no. 15).
For the Record: UNC finished its season with a dual record of 5-6-1 and a North Central Conference mark of 1-4-1. The Bears closed the dual season with five wins in their last seven outings. UNC's lone tie was a 21-21 deadlock at defending national champion North Dakota State on January 14.
The Coach: UNC head coach Jack Maughan is in his 14th season at the helm of the UNC wrestling program. During his tenure, the Bears have finished among the nation's top-10 on six occasions. Maughan has coached three national champions, four runners-up and 26 All-Americans. A 1986 graduate of North Dakota State University, where he was a two-time All-America performer, Maughan has a career dual record of 87-98-1.
In the National Rankings: In the most recent NCAA II Wrestling Poll (Feb. 14), the Bears are ranked no. 12, up three spots from the previous poll (Jan. 29). Individually, UNC has four wrestlers ranked led by senior Marshall Hahn (4th, 149 pounds) and junior Tom Clemen (4th, 197 pounds). Also ranked for the Bears are sophomore Brody Olson (7th, 157 pounds) and senior Jason Romero (7th, 125 pounds).
UNC at the North Central Conference Championships: The Bears head to the NCC Championships looking for their first-ever NCC title. UNC finished as high as second (1992) and posted three straight third-place showings in 1995, 1996 and 1997. Last year, the Bears finished fifth as Nebraska-Omaha claimed the title. UNC had one conference champion in Jason Romero (125 pounds). Ronnie Stafford finished third at 141 pounds, while Marshall Hahn (149 pounds), Brody Olson (157 pounds) and Tom Clemen (197 pounds) all placed fourth.
UNC's Probable Lineup at the NCC Championships: Listed below are UNC's probable entries for Sunday's NCC Championships:
125 - #7 Jason Romero (Sr., 8-3, Colorado Springs, Colo.) 133 - Jon Nider (Jr., 0-5, Burlington, Colo.) 141 - Simon Hoepfner (Jr., 14-10, Loveland, Colo.) 149 - #3 Marshall Hahn (Sr., 21-7, Bayfield, Colo.) 157 - #6 Brody Olson (So., 18-11, Rawlins, Wyo.) 165 - Brian Hufford (Jr., 17-11, Westminster, Colo.) 174 - Shad Stagl (Fr., 9-13, Gunnison, Colo.) OR Shane Grenko (Sr., 2-4, Castle Rock, Colo.) 184 - Ryan Guillaume (Fr., 10-12, Ft. Collins, Colo.) 197 - Jason McMillan (Fr., 11-4, Hotchkiss, Colo.) Hwt. - Tony Schunke (So., 17-12, East Los Angeles, Calif.)
Bears Handle Southern Colorado: The Bears defeated Southern Colorado 22-16 last Tuesday (Feb. 13) in Pueblo. The Bears won six of the evening's 10 matches. UNC forfetied at 133 pounds.
UNC started slow, dropping the 184-pound weight class as freshman Ryan Guillaume dropped an 18-7 major decision to third-ranked Cory Hintz. At 197 pounds USC's Kevin Lochner defeated freshman Jason McMillan, 10-3. The loss drops McMillan's record to 11-3 on the season. Heading into the heavyweight division, UNC trailed 7-0 in the team scoring but Tony Schunke responded with a 9-3 decision over Doug Smith. Eighth-ranked Jason Romero followed that up with a pin of USC's Carl Valley with 12 seconds remaining in the period. Romero has now won four straight matches to improve his mark to 7-3.
The Thunderwolves took the next two matches, scoring a forfeit win at 133 pounds and a 4-2 decision over Simon Hoepfner at 141 pounds. The Bears were down 16-9 and it looked like a loss was on the horizon, but UNC rallied winning the next four matches. Third-ranked Marshall Hahn won a 2-1 decision at 149 pounds over Sam Melendrez. No. 6 Brody Olson followed that up with a 6-4 decision at 157 pounds over Vail Minn. Brian Hufford then won a 10-7 decision at 165 pounds over Dustin Randle. Shane Grenko closed the match with an 8-0 major decision over Phil Dawes at 174 pounds.
UNC Drops Final Dual of Season versus Wyoming: It wasn't exactly what head coach Jack Maughan had in mind for UNC's final dual of the season. The Bears dropped a 27-18 decision to Wyoming Wednesday at Butler-Hancock Hall.
It started out promising for the Bears as senior Jason Romero opened action with a pin of Wyoming's John Faczak. Romero won his fifth straight match to improve to 8-3. The Bears forfeited the 133-pound weight class and then the Cowboys' Thad Trujillo won a 7-3 decision over Simon Hoepfner to give the `Pokes a 9-6 lead. Senior Marshall Hahn continued his strong season with a 4-2 win over Mark Hamrick at 149 pounds. Hahn won the 84th match of his UNC career, which is good for ninth on the all-time list. Sophomore Brody Olson lost a tough 3-2 decision at 157 pounds and the Bears went into the intermission down 12-9.
Following the break, UNC junior Brian Hufford posted a 6-1 win over Justin Christenson at 165 pounds to tie the team score at 12-12 and it appeared as if the crowd was in for a good finish. But any hopes the Bears had evaporated when Wyoming's Steven Schenk pinned Shane Grenko at 174 pounds and Kevin Kesner defeated the Bears' Ryan Guillaume at 184 pounds to build the UW lead to 21-12. UNC freshman Jason McMillan was then pinned at 197 pounds and Wyoming forfeited the heavyweight division to make the final score 27-18.
Hahn Climbs UNC Career Victory Chart: Senior Marshall Hahn (149 pounds) is now tied with Bart Brown for eighth on UNC's all-time victory list with 84. The Bayfield, Colorado native has a career record of 84-51. As a freshman, he earned All-American honors by finishing seventh at 134 pounds.
UNC Wrestling Celebrates 75th Anniversary: This season marks the 75th anniversary of the sport of wrestling at the University of Northern Colorado. Wrestling was first sponsored at UNC in the 1925-26 season. Through the years, there have been many memorable teams, wrestlers and coaches. In the 75 years of wrestling at UNC, there have been: 36 conference championship teams, 9 individual national champions, 18 Division I All-Americans and 63 Division II All-Americans.
UNC Hosts Division II National Championships: UNC's Butler-Hancock Hall is the site of the 2001 NCAA Division II National Wrestling Championships to be held March 9-10. UNC has hosted this event on two previous occasions (1992 and 1996). For tickets, or more information, please contact the athletic department at 970-351-2534.
Blue & Gold Luncheon: UNC head coach Jack Maughan, along with all in-season coaches, will speak every Monday at the Blue & Gold Booster Luncheon held at Old Chicago (2349 W. 29th Street). The luncheon begins at noon and costs $7 per person.
NCAA II Coaches Poll (Feb. 14)
No. School (first-place votes) Points 1. Nebraska-Omaha (8) 160 2. North Dakota State 152 3. Central Oklahoma 144 4. South Dakota State 136 5. Ashland (Ohio) 126 6. Pittsburgh-Johnstown 122 7. Minnesota State-Mankato 111 8. Central Missouri State 105 9. Carson-Newman 88 10. Chadron State 78 11. San Francisco State 69 12. Northern Colorado 52 13. Gannon (Pa.) 50 14. Findlay (Ohio) 40 15. St. Cloud State 37 16. West Liberty State 36 17. Southern Colorado 34 18. Western State (Colo.) 32 19. Nebraska-Kearney 23 20. Central Washington 22
Others receiving votes: Adams State, Augustana, Colorado Mines, Fort Hays State, Southwest State, Wisconsin-Parkside