Western Wrestling Conference

March 6, 2011

Wyoming Wins West Regional for Second Consecutive Year

The Cowboys edged out the Panthers by six points.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. ? The University of Wyoming won its second all-time NCAA West Regional team title Sunday in Colorado Springs, Colo., as the Cowboys beat out Northern Iowa by six points to capture their second straight crown.

All seven members of the Western Wrestling Conference competed at the qualifying tournament and 15 individuals received automatic berths to the 2011 NCAA Division I Wresting Championships.

Overall the Cowboys finished with 93 points and the Panthers came in second with 87. Host school Air Force came in third with 59 points, while North Dakota State placed fourth (45.5), Utah Valley fifth (41.5), Northern Colorado sixth (24) and South Dakota State seventh (14).

Out of the 10 individual titles, five wrestlers from Wyoming managed to win individual crowns, while Northern Iowa was next with two individual champions.

Wyoming?s five individual champions were: Michael Martinez at 125 pounds, Cole Dallaserra at 149, Shane Onufer at 165, Patrick Martinez at 174 and LJ Helbig at 197. The titles for M. Martinez and Onufer were their third consecutive regional crowns.

Other West Regional champions included Utah Valley?s Flint Ray at 133, Air Force?s Cole VonOhlen at 141, North Dakota State?s Vince Salminen at 157 and Northern Iowa?s Ryan Loder at 184 and Christian Brantley at heavyweight. The titles were Ray and Salminen?s second consecutive, while Brantley won his third in a row.

The regional marked five first time champions as Dallaserra, Helbig, Loder, P. Martinez and VonOhlen all won their first regional weight class title.

There were no unseeded weight class winners, however there was one fourth-seeded wrestler to win, in UW?s M. Martinez. All other individual champions were either one or two seeds.

Five other automatic berths to nationals were handed out at the regional and they were won by 125-pounder Benjamin Kjar (UVU), 141-pounder Justin Morrill (UVU), 149-pounder Justin Gaethje (UNC), 157-pounder David Bonin (UNI) and 184-pounder Joe LeBlanc (UW).

Kjar, Gaethje, Bonin and LeBlanc all won their automatic berths on true second-place matches.

Each weight at the Western Wrestling Regional has earned a specific number of automatic bids for nationals. The automatic bids for each weight were: 125 pounds (2), 133 (1), 141 (2), 149 (2), 157 (2) 165 (1), 174 (1), 184 (2), 197 (1) and Hwt. (1).

The WWC also handed out a couple postseason awards at the regional. AFA?s Cole VonOhlen was named the Most Outstanding Wrestler, NDSU?s Steven Monk won the Most Falls Award and head coach Mark Branch of Wyoming was named the Coach of the Year.

The 2011 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships will be held in Philadelphia, Pa., March 17-19 at the Wells Fargo Center.

After all of the qualifying events have concluded this weekend, the NCAA Division I Wrestling Committee will meet in-person next week to select the remaining 48 at-large qualifiers, which will be announced on March 9. Last season the WWC received three at-large selections.

West Regional Automatic Qualifiers for the 2011 NCAA Championships
125 ? Michael Martinez (WYO)
125 ? Benjamin Kjar (UVU)
133 ? Flint Ray (UVU)
141 ? Cole VonOhlen (AFA)
141 ? Justin Morrill (UVU)
149 ? Cole Dallaserra (WYO)
149 ? Justin Gaethje (UNC)
157 ? Vince Salminen (NDSU)
157 ? David Bonin (UNI)
165 ? Shane Onufer (WYO)
174 ? Patrick Martinez (WYO)
184 ? Ryan Loder (UNI)
184 ? Joe LeBlanc (WYO)
197 ? LJ Helbig (WYO)
285 ? Christian Brantley (UNI)

Bonus Match Results:
125 ? True 2nd ? No. 2 Benjamin Kjar (UVU) dec. No. 3 Caleb Flores (UNI), 3-2
133 ? True 2nd ? No. 4 Derek Gillespie (AFA) dec. No. 2 Casey Cruz (UNC), 6-4
149 ? True 2nd ? No. 3 Justin Gaethje (UNC) dec. No. 1 Brett Robbins (UNI), 5-4
157 ? True 2nd ? No. 2 David Bonin (UNI) dec. Nick Flynn (SDSU), 11-4
165 ? True 2nd ? No. 2 Steven Monk (NDSU) dec. No. 4 Clayton Gable (AFA), 7-6
174 ? True 2nd ? No. 4 Brad Darrington (UVU) dec. No. 3 Joseph Stafford (AFA), 4-1
184 ? True 2nd ? No. 1 Joe LeBlanc (WYO) major dec. No. 3 Kenny Moenkedick (NDSU), 13-4

Finals Results:
125 ? No. 4 Michael Martinez (WYO) dec. No. 3 Caleb Flores (UNI), 3-1 SV
133 ? No. 1 Flint Ray (UVU) dec. No. 2 Casey Cruz (UNC), 5-4
141 ? No. 1 Cole VonOhlen (AFA) tech. fall No. 2 Justin Morrill (UVU), 16-0
149 ? No. 2 Cole Dallaserra (WYO) dec. No. 1 Brett Robbins (UNI), 3-2 2OT
157 ? No. 1 Vince Salminen (NDSU) fall No. 2 David Bonin (UNI), 5:28
165 ? No. 1 Shane Onufer (WYO) dec. No. 2 Steven Monk (NDSU), 9-3
174 ? No. 1 Patrick Martinez (WYO) dec. No. 3 Joseph Stafford (AFA), 6-2
184 ? No. 2 Ryan Loder (UNI) dec. No. 1 Joe LeBlanc (WYO), 4-3
197 ? No. 1 LJ Helbig (WYO) major dec. No. 3 Andy O?Loughlin (UNI), 14-4
285 ? No. 1 Christian Brantley (UNI) dec. No. 3 Matthew McLaughlin (WYO), 3-1

Western Wrestling Conference Awards:
Most Outstanding Wrestler: Cole VonOhlen (Air Force)
Most Falls Award: Steven Monk (North Dakota State)
Coach of the Year ? Mark Branch (Wyoming)
Western Wrestling Conference Regular Season Champions ? Northern Iowa
West Regional Champions ? Wyoming