UNC Bear fall to Iowa State 19 - 16 in home dual28 Nov 2016
Greeley, Colo. – Northern Colorado opened up their Big 12 Wrestling dual schedule on Saturday Nov 26, as they faced the Iowa State Cyclones at the Bank of Colorado Gym on th campus of Northern Colorado University. Heading into the match, the Cyclones coached by head coach Kevin Jackson and assistant coaches Trent and Travis Paulson,held a preseason ranking of No. 24 in the country, and narrowly defeated the Bears 19 – 16.
It was a slow start to the dual for the Bears, as they dropped the first two matches to start off the night. The dual began at 197 lbs, with True freshman, Jamarcus Grant donning a UNC wrestling singlet for the first time in his career. He fought hard and managed to keep the match close against Joe Teague with a late third period reversal, but it was not enough as he fell 3-2.
At HWT, Senior Jack Kuck also lost by decision, 4-1against Quean Smith, which put UNC in a 6-0 hole to start the afternoon.
As the lighter weights approached, the Bears evened the match with a forfeit at 125 lbs by ISU, with Trey Andrews getting the win.
With the team score all knotted up at 6-6, one of the marquee matchups up the day took place at 133 lbs, with #17 Rico Montoya taking on #4 Earl Hall. These two have a history together, as Hall defeated Montoya last year in the Quarterfinals at the Big 12 Wrestling Championships in Kansas City, Missouri. It was a hard fought battle from Montoya, but Hall took advantage of his opportunities, and managed to win 7-0, bringing the team score to 9-6 in favor of the Cyclones.
Next up was 141 lbs, featuring Timmy Box and #13 Gabe Moreno for the Cyclones. Box came out guns blazing with a late takedown in the first period while working the upper body with setups and rode that momentum into the second period where he amassed a 12-2 lead. Box held Moreno on his back for the last 20 seconds of the dual, desperately fighting to get the fall, but could not secure a pin. Box cruised to a 13-2 Major Decision, which brought another lead change in the team score, with Bears up 10-9 heading into the break.
Following the break, Ben Polkowske lost via decision 9-5 to Chase Straw at 149 lbs, where Straw used his his quicker speed to secure three takedowns in the match.
Up next at 157 lbs was true Freshman Jimmy Fate from Berthoud HS . It was another gritty performance from Fate, who is still seeking his first career dual win as a Bear. Fate managed to rattle off multiple shot attempts and put himself in great position to score takedowns, but the defense from Colston DiBlasi proved to be superior as Fate fell 5-3. The team score stood at 16-10 and Northern Colorado was never able take the lead again in the dual.
Although the Bears did not retake the lead the rest of the afternoon, they managed to win two of the next three matches, with the most exciting match of the day occurring at 165 lbs. Keilan Torres grabbed a last second victory by securing a takedown with two seconds left in the match, to defeat #19 Dane Pestano. With 40 seconds left in the match, Torres was down 4-2, and needed an escape and a takedown in order to come out victorious. Torres did just that, and brought the crowd of 742 in attendance to their feet, sending the fans into a frenzy.
174 lbs saw the third true Freshman wrestling for UNC on the afternoon with Dalton Robertson , a Weld Central HS grad, taking on #10 and returning All-American Lelund Weatherspoon. Robertson fought hard, but Weatherspoon proved yet again why is one of the best wrestlers in the country, with a 15-2 Major Decision.
184 lbs was supposed to be one of the other marquee matchups of the night, with Dylan Gabel a Ponderosa HS grad, squaring up against #6 Patrick Downey, but it did not happen. Carson Powell took the mat for the Cyclones, and Gabel made him pay the price with a commanding 7-0 victory. This brought the final dual score to 19-16, with the Cyclones narrowly edging the Bears.
In back-to-back duals against Top 25 ranked teams in the country, Northern Colorado has lost by the slimmest of margins. Two heartbreaking losses to No. 19 Arizona State and now No. 24 Iowa State, will leave the Bears eager to obtain their first dual win of the season. The mat wrestling really appeared to be the deciding factor during the dual against Iowa State, as multiple matches this afternoon were decided by riding time. Iowa State seemed to be in better shape and condition compared to UNC Bears. College wrestling is more like a chess match in the neutral position with the wrestlers looking to get in the best setup for a perfect shot to secure the takedown.
Head Coach, Troy Nickerson
"Once again, we barely lost to a top 25 opponent and we are right there each time. These close losses sting, but it also proves we are more than capable of beating ranked opponents. It comes down to believing and realizing our individual and program potential. The biggest thing I harped on after the match was 'letting it go.' Every match was winnable in my eyes, and our guys need to just 'let it go' and compete like we know how. With this being said, we have a lot of positives to take out of this dual as we head to the Cliff Keen Invitational next week, and I anticipate everybody to compete even harder as we approach one of the premier tournaments of the year."
125 Trey Andrews Forfeit
133 #4 Earl Hall Dec. #17 Rico Montoya 7-0
141 Timmy Box Major #13 Gabe Moreno 13-2
149 Chase Straw Dec. Ben Polkowske 9-5
157 Colston DiBlasi Dec. Jimmy Fate 5-3
165 Keilan Torres Dec. #19 Dane Pestano 5-4
174 #10 Lelund Weatherspoon Major Dalton Robertson
184 Dylan Gabel Dec. Carson Powell 7-0
197 Joe Teague Dec. Jamarcus Grant 3-2
285 Quean Smith Dec. Jack Kuck 4-1
Up Next for the Bears will compete in the prestigious Cliff Keen Invitational in Las Vegas, Nevada December 2-3.