Northern Colorado starts season with dual against ASU09 Nov 2016
UNC staff writer - GREELEY, Colo. – Head coach Troy Nickerson and the Bears will kick off their 2016–2017 season this weekend when they take on Arizona State Friday Nov. 4, and wrestle at the Cowboy Open at the University of Wyoming Saturday, Nov. 5.
UNC will open up the season against #24 ranked Arizona State at the Bank of Colorado Arena at 7 PM (MT). The Bears fell to the Sun Devils last year 14 – 21, with Trey Andrews and Rico Montoya being the only returners to grab wins for UNC. The year prior in 2014, the Bears defeated the Sun Devils 25 – 14, marking a stretch in which UNC won back-to-back duals against PAC 12 opponents.
Following the dual Friday night, the Bears will travel to Laramie, Wyoming to compete in the Cowboy Open. Traditionally, the Bears see success at this tournament with four champions last year. The Bears have one returning finalist in Rico Montoya  and a champion in Keilan Torres .
The Bears welcome in one of the largest recruiting classes in program history with 11 new freshmen joining the team this year. Some freshmen to keep an eye on this year includes Jimmy Fate and Robert Winters Jr., who boast very impressive high school wrestling resumes.
The Bears will be back at home next week as they host their annual Northern Colorado Open at the Bank of Colorado Arena starting at 9:00 a.m. (MT).
Northern Colorado wrestling squared off against the Arizona State Devils on Friday and narrowly lost 24–19. Heading into the match, the Sun Devils held a preseason ranking of 24 in the country, and managed to escape with a win tonight.
How it Happened:
The dual started off at 125, with the much-anticipated return of Trey Andrews back to the mat for the Bears. Andrews did not disappoint, as he dominated with a commanding 16–5 victory over Josh Kramer.
At 133 for UNC, returning starter, Rico Montoya was ousted by Ali Naser 5–3. Ensuing the 133 bout, the debut of Timmy Box at his new weight class of 141, electrified the team and the crowd, as he cruised to an easy technical fall victory over his opponent.
Benjamin Polkowske took the mat next for the Bears, and provided the biggest spark of the night with a first period pin over Robbie Mathers of ASU. With the dual score at 15–3, the Bears soon watched their sizeable lead disappear. Northern Colorado dropped five of the next six matches, with Jacob Seely grinding out a hard fought victory in his first career match as a Bear at the 197 weight class.
The changing moment of the match was ASU's Anthony Valencia pinning Keilan Torres. That really set the tone of the remainder of the dual as the Sun Devils went on to win five of the next six matches.
Benjamin Polkowske earned the quickest pin of the dual and the young season. Polkowske needed just 1:07 to earn the win over the Sun Devils' Robbie Mathers with a fall.
In Their Words:
Head Coach, Troy Nickerson
"Losing is never fun, wrestling good or bad – a loss is a loss, it's in the wrong column and it's not what we came here to do tonight. With that said, I do think there are a lot of positives took out of tonight. Coming in and wrestling the No. 24 team in the country and we took them to the wire. They had to make some lineup changes to beat us. I feel like we had some really bright spots. Our lightweights wrestled really well. We need to get better in a couple of areas, but overall with it being the first match of the year I'm happy with where we are at."
125 Trey Andrews Major Josh Kramer 17 – 5
133 Ali Naser Dec. Rico Montoya 5 – 3
141 Timmy Box T. Fall Tyler Sage 15 – 0
149 Ben Polkowske Pin Fall – Robbie Mathers
157 Joshua Shields Dec. Jimmy Fate 10 – 5
165 Anthony Valencia Pin – Fall Keilan Torres
174 Jacen Peterson Dec. Tanner Davis 5 – 3
184 Zahid Valencia T. Fall Dylan Gabel 20 – 3
197 Jacob Seely Major Connor Small 9 – 1
285 Tanner Hall Major Jack Kuck 15 – 4