CEDAR FALLS, IOWA - The University of Northern Iowa wrestling team won its final three matches to overcome Northern Colorado 22-16 in their Western Wrestling Conference and 2012 home debut. The Panthers dug themselves out from a 16-12 deficit.
Junior heavyweight Blayne Beale secured the win within the final ten seconds of the night's final match. After he was charged with a stall penalty that notched the score at 3-3, Beale took down opponent Henry Chirino with nine seconds remaining. Time expired, and Beale won with a 6-3 decision after a riding-time point was added.
The Panthers' late run was sparked after Ryan Loder tied the score at 16 apiece, scoring a major decision over UNC's Patrick Gomez. The No. 6 ranked wrestler at 184 pounds improved his season record to 21-1 with the win.
Following Loder's win, UNI's Taylor Kettman (197) squeaked out a never-wracking 3-2 decision over the Bears' Nick Bayer. An escape with 1:57 remaining in the third period proved to be the difference for Kettman.
Northern Colorado won four out of five matches during the middle of the dual to gain its short-lived lead. The Bears' Casey Cruz was unwelcoming to the Panthers' Levi Wolfensperger (141), who made his first career appearance in the UNI lineup after redshirting last season and nursing an injury early this season. Cruz pinned Wolfensperger in the second period. The Panthers' only win in that five-match span was provided by junior David Bonin (157), who took care of UNC's Charlie McMartin with a 12-3 major decision. Bonin is now 18-6 on the season.
No. 12-ranked Joe Colon (133) had a solid showing in his UNI dual debut. The redshirt sophomore racked up an 11-3 major decision over Sam Bauer, improving his season record to 9-2. Colon followed up senior Cruse Aarhus (125), who scored a major decision of his own, topping UNC's Jesse Meis, 15-3.
The Panthers (2-3; 1-0 WWC) are a perfect 7-0 against Northern Colorado. Since the formation of the WWC in 2006, the Panthers have won their conference opener every single season.
UNI will be back in action at the West Gym in two days as the Panthers host another WWC foe, Air Force. Wrestling will begin at 2 p.m.
125: Cruse Aarhus (UNI) maj. dec. Jesse Meis (UNC), 15-3 (4-0 UNI)
133: 12 Joe Colon (UNI) maj dec. Sam Bauer (UNC), 11-3 (8-0 UNI)
141: Casey Cruz (UNC) pins Levi Wolfensperger (UNI), 4:29 (8-6 UNI)
149: Justin Gonzales (UNC) maj. dec. Clay Welter (UNI), 8-0 (10-8 UNC)
157: David Bonin (UNI) maj dec. Charlie McMartin (UNC), 12-3 (12-10 UNI)
165: 14 Gabe Burak (UNC) dec. Riley Banach (UNI), 7-2 (13-12 UNC)
174: Josh VanTine (UNC) dec. Onni Prestidge (UNI), 4-3 (16-12 UNC)
184: 6 Ryan Loder (UNI) maj. dec. Patrick Gomez (UNC), 13-2 (16-16 tie)
197: Taylor Kettman (UNI) dec. Nick Bayer (UNC), 3-2 (19-16 UNI)
285: Blayne Beale (UNI) dec. Henry Chirino (UNC), 6-3 (22-16 UNI)