ST. LOUIS, MO - With the first day of the NCAA Wrestling Championships complete, three University of Northern Iowa wrestlers remain in competition. Redshirt sophomore Joe Colon (133) used two wins to reach tomorrow's championship bracket quarterfinals. Meanwhile, David Bonin (157) and Ryan Loder (184) split their two Thursday matches and are currently in the second round of the wrestlebacks bracket. Junior Blayne Beale (285) and redshirt freshman Levi Wolfensperger (141) were both 0-2 on the day and have been eliminated from competition.
Redshirt sophomore Joe Colon (133) was the first Panther to advance to the quarterfinals with two decisive victories. Colon started off the day with a 10-1 major decision over Nebraska's Ridge Kiley. It was Colon's second victory by major decision over Kiley this season. In the second round, Colon faced Central Michigan's Zach Horan. Late in the third period, Colon found himself up only 3-2, but he rallied to score an escape, takedown and three-point near fall to end the match with a 9-2 decision. Colon, seeded fourth, will take on No. 5-seeded B.J. Futrell of Illinois tomorrow in the quarterfinals.
David Bonin (157) began his day with a bang, upsetting No. 4-seeded Walter Peppelman of Harvard. The junior pinned Peppelman in 2:55, a fitting form of revenge after Peppelman eliminated him with a fall last year at the NCAA Championships. The junior cooled down in his second round match with Princeton's Daniel Kolodzik. Kolodzik used a late surge to earn a 10-5 decision over Bonin. With the loss, Bonin moves to the wrestleback bracket, where he will face Columbia's Jake O'Hara tomorrow.
Ryan Loder's (184) first-round match was tight until the very end, but the sophomore edged Iowa's Grant Gramball with a 2-1 decision after a riding time point was assessed. Gramball took third place at the NCAA Championships last season. The win brought No. 8-seeded Loder into the second round where he succumbed to Appalachian State's Austin Trotman, the No. 9 seed, who scored an 8-2 decision. Loder is set to take on Erich Schmditke of Oklahoma tomorrow in the second round of wrestlebacks.
Levi Wolfensperger (141) was eliminated from competition after suffering two losses during the opening day. The redshirt freshman took his first round match to overtime, but he ended up losing Rutgers' William Ashnault 2-1 in the tiebreaker periods. After dropping down to the wrestleback bracket, Wolfensperger fell to Oklahoma State's Joshua Kindig with a 14-6 major decision. Wolfensperger ends his season with a 13-9 overall record and a conference title.
Blayne Beale (285) was also eliminated after two-consecutive losses Thursday. Beale was defeated in his first round match by Iowa's Bobby Telford, seeded No. 5, who handed Beale a 6-1 decision. Beale then faced another in-state foe, Iowa State's Matt Gibson, the No. 12 seed. Gibson emerged victorious in the first-round wrestleback bout with a 10-3 decision. Beale, a junior, ends his season with a 28-14 record and a conference title.
The Panthers end day one of competition tied for 25th in the team standings with 10 points. Last season, UNI scored a total of 5.5 points the entire tournament.
Competition resumes Friday morning at 10 a.m. (CST) at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Mo.
133: 5 Joe Colon
1st Rd - 5 Colon (UNI) maj. Kiley (Nebraska), 10-1
2nd Rd - 5 Colon (UNI) dec. Horan (Central Michigan), 9-2
141: Levi Wolfensperger
1st Rd - Ashnault (Rutgers) dec. Wolfensperger (UNI), 2-1 OT
1st Rd Wrestlebacks - Kindig (Oklahoma St.) maj. Wolfensperger (UNI), 14-6
157: David Bonin
1st Rd - Bonin (UNI) FALL 4 Peppelman (Harvard), 2:55
2nd Rd - Kolodzik (Princeton) dec. Bonin (UNI), 10-5
184: 8 Ryan Loder
1st Rd - 8 Loder (UNI) dec. Gramball (Iowa), 2-1
2nd Rd - 9 Trotman (Appalachian St.) dec. 8 Loder (UNI), 8-2
285: Blayne Beale
1st Rd - 5 Telford (Iowa) dec. Beale (UNI), 6-1
1st Rd Wrestlebacks - 12 Gibson (Iowa St.) dec. Beale (UNI), 10-3