Three Panthers Earn Trip to NCAA Championships

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The University of Northern Iowa wrestling team secured three automatic qualifiers to the 2011 NCAA Wrestling Championships. Ryan Loder (184 lbs.) and Christian Brantley (hwt.) secured their spot by winning their respective weight class titles while David Bonin (157 lbs.) finished second at the 2011 NCAA West Regional Championships to earn his spot.

This marks the first trip to the NCAA Championships for both Bonin and Loder while Brantley makes his third consecutive trip.

In the team race, UNI came up just short of reigning champion Wyoming as the Cowboys edged out the Panthers by six points, finishing with 93 points while UNI scored 87.

Final Team Scoring

1. Wyoming 93.0

2. UNI 87.0

3. Air Force 59.0

4. North Dakota State 45.5

5. Utah Valley 41.5

6. Northern Colorado 24.0

7. South Dakota State 14.0

Finals

At 184 pounds, second-seeded Loder earned his first West Regional title and first trip to the NCAA Championships with a 4-3 win over No. 1-seeded Joe LeBlanc (Wyoming). Loder has now won 20 of his last 23 matches.

Brantley scored a 3-1 decision over Wyoming’s Matthew McLaughlin to earn his third West Regional title. Brantley holds a perfect 8-0 career mark in West Regional matches.

Bonin fell to North Dakota State’s Vince Salminen by fall in the championship match at 157 pounds. In the true second-place match, Bonin bounced back and scored an 11-4 decision over South Dakota State’s Nick Flynn to solidify his second place finish and guarantee his spot at the NCAA Championships. This marks Bonin’s first trip to the NCAA Championships.

Caleb Flores took Michael Martinez (Wyoming) into overtime before falling 3-1 in the championship match. In the true second-place match to determine the second NCAA qualifier, Flores fell to Ben Kjar (Utah Valley) by a slim 3-2 margin.

At 149 pounds, Cole Dallaserra escaped Brett Robbins’ grasp in overtime to score an escape and earn a 3-2 decision in the championship match. In the true second-place match, Robbins suffered a 5-4 loss to Northern Colorado’s returning All-American Justin Gaethje.

Senior Andy OLoughlin fell to Wyoming’s L.J. Helbig, taking second place at 197 pounds.

Consolation Finals

At 133 pounds, Ryan Jauch fell 10-6 to Air Force’s Derek Gillespie to finish fourth.

Joey Lazor dominated the third-place match, scoring a 15-0 technical fall over North Dakota State’s Geoff Martin. Lazor finishes the season with a 22-8 record.

Air Force’s Clayton Gable exacted revenge on Trevor Kittleson at 165 pounds, picking up a pin in 6:13 in the third-place match.

Brice Wolf finished in fourth place after falling to Utah Valley’s Brad Darrington. Darrington scored a pin in 2:02.

Semifinals

Flores advanced the finals with a 6-1 decision over South Dakota State’s Aaron Pickrel.

At 149 pounds, Robbins advanced to the finals with a 3-1 overtime win over Utah Valley’s Josh Wilson.

After earning a bye in the quarterfinals, Bonin picked up a 10-5 win over Wyoming’s Jimmy Belleville.

Loder advanced to the finals at 184 pounds with a pin over North Dakota State’s Kevin Moenkedick.

OLoughlin advanced to the finals at 197 pounds with a 6-5 decision over Air Force’s Neil Delaney.

At the heavyweight slot, Brantley scored a 2-0 decision over South Dakota State’s Kevin Kelly to advance to the finals.

Consolation Semifinals

After earning a bye in the first round of the consolation, Jauch avenged an earlier season dual loss to Wyoming’s Tyler Cox with a 17-5 major decision.

Lazor scored his fifth pin of the season in the consolation round, pinning South Dakota State’s Tyler Johnson in 4:32.

After falling to Wyoming’s Shane Onfuer in the semifinals, Kittleson met Northern Colorado’s Brandon Kammerzel and scored a 5-4 decision to move into the third-place match.

Wolf scored a 16-2 major decision over Tyler Wells (North Dakota State) to advance to the third-place match.

Quarterfinals

At 125 pounds, Flores opened the day with a 13-4 major decision over Air Force’s Greg Rinker to advance to the semifinals.

Robbins became the second Panther to open the day with a major decision win, scoring a 12-4 major decision over South Dakota State’s Andrew Youngbloom.

Kittleson opened the day at 165 pounds with a 5-1 decision over Air Force’s Clayton Gable.

Wolf scored a 12-1 major decision over Northern Colorado’s Cody McAninich at 174 pounds.

Loder picked up a 9-1 major decision over Utah Valley’s Casen Eldridge at 184 pounds.

At 197 pounds OLoughlin scored a 4-3 decision over Utah Valley’s Trevor Rupp.

Brantley scored a 16-7 major decision win at the heavyweight slot over North Dakota State’s Will Johnson.

Western Wrestling Conference Awards:

Most Outstanding Wrestler: Cole VonOhlen (Air Force)

Most Falls Award: Steven Monk (North Dakota State)

Coach of the Year – Mark Branch (Wyoming)

Western Wrestling Conference Regular Season Champions – UNI

West Regional Champions – Wyoming

The Panthers will now head to the NCAA Championships March 17-19.