UNI places two All-Americans for first time in 8 years
Published: Thursday, March 28, 2013
Updated: Thursday, March 28, 2013 16:03
While many students spent their spring break traveling to exotic locations or sandy beaches, two University of Northern Iowa wrestlers were busy becoming All-Americans.
The Panthers took 15th place as a team at the NCAA Championships while David Bonin and Ryan Loder took fourth and seventh place, respectively. It was the best finish for UNI since 2005 and the first time in the Doug Schwab era that the Panthers have had an All-American on the podium.
Bonin exceeded expectations coming into his third NCAA tournament as an unseeded wrestler in the 157-pound weight class. His first match was against Bobby Barnihisel of Navy and he beat him in a nail biter, 1-0. He went on to the second round where he took on Mid-American Conference foe Kyle Bradley of Missouri and defeated him in a 4-0 shutout.
In the quarterfinal match against 12th seed Jedd Moore of Virginia, Bonin continued his dominant run through the championships when he defeated Moore in a shutout, 3-0.
He went on to wrestle Friday night in the semifinals against No. 1 Jason Welch of Northwestern and was overpowered by Welch and lost 7-1.
After the loss, Bonin entered in the wrestleback bracket and had two more matches. His first opponent was No. 10 RJ Pena of Oregon State. Pena earned a 2-0 lead lead going into the second round, but that didn’t matter because Bonin went on to get the pin in 5:39 to give him a chance at a third-place finish.
Bonin took on No. 6-seed Alex Dieringer of Oklahoma State for third place. Dieringer proved why he was highly ranked and pinned Bonin in 1:39. Bonin has only been pinned twice this season, both against Dieringer.
Ryan Loder came into the wrestling championships ranked 6th in the 184-pound weight class.
In the first round, Loder competed and shut out Cody Reed in a 4-0 decision.
In the second round, Loder took on familiar foe Mike Larson of Missouri. Loder won again in a shutout decision, 2-0.
In the quarterfinals, Loder lost in heartbreaking fashion against No.3-seed Robert Hamlin of Lehigh.
In the wrestlebacks, Loder went on to defeat Josh Ihnen of Nebraska in a 5-2 decision. His quest for a chance at third place fell short, however, when he lost again against Jimmy Sheptock of Maryland, 3-2.
In the seventh-place match, Loder wrestled Mike Larson for the second time in the tournament and dominated for a win, 8-0.
At 133 pounds, Levi Wolfensperger needed just one more win to become an All-American.
On day one, Wolfensperger earned a pin and lost in a major decision. On day two, Wolfensperger won his first two matches in wrestlebacks but was knocked out by pin in his next match against Mid-American Conference foe, No. 6-seed Nathan McCormick of Missouri.
Joey Lazor was also one win away from becoming an All-American at 141 pounds. Lazor dominated his first two matches (12-2,12-4) before being pinned by No.2-seed Kendric Maple.
Lazor fought back and dominated his next two matches in the wrestlebacks (7-2,15-2) before finally being knocked out by No. 5-seed Evan Henderson of North Carolina.
Last year, the Northern Iowa wrestling team finished 34th.
“It’s coming,” Bonin said of the team’s future. “Things are meshing, and we are getting stronger and stronger.”