CEDAR FALLS, IOWA - The University of Northern Iowa hosts the NCAA West Regional Sunday at the McLeod Center. Competitors from each of the Western Wrestling Conference schools will compete to earn automatic bids to the NCAA Championships. Wrestling begins at 11 a.m. Finals will take place at 4 p.m. Live video of the event will stream at UNIPanthers.com.
BONIN SHARES FINAL “WRESTLER OF THE WEEK” HONOR
Redshirt junior David Bonin was named the Western Wrestling Conference “Wrestler of the Week” for the second time in three weeks Feb. 21. Bonin shared the honor with Wyoming’s Joe LeBlanc. The Louisiana-native continued his recent streak of impressive wins last weekend with arguably his biggest victory of the season as he upset No. 6 James Green of Nebraska with a 4-3 decision. The win was Bonin’s 11th-straight dual victory and his second over a ranked opponent during the span.
BONIN HEATING UP AT THE RIGHT TIME
David Bonin (157) has also been putting together a very respectable second half to the season. The junior has won 11-straight dual matches and boasts a 28-6 season record. In February, Bonin has defeated a No. 11-ranked wrestler, Steven Monk of NDSU, and a No. 6-ranked wrestler, James Green of Nebraska. Last week, Bonin was named the Western Wrestling Conference “Wrestler of the Week” for the second time in three weeks. He currently sits at No. 17 in the latest InterMat rankings, the highest he’s been in his career.
COLON MAKING HIS PRESENCE FELT
Redshirt sophomore Joe Colon made a name for himself Feb. 12 as he toppled Virginia Tech’s Devin Carter, ranked No. 1 at 133 pounds, by major decision. Since that win, Colon jumped from No. 11 to No. 5 in the InterMat rankings. Beginning in late Decemeber as he placed seventh at the prestigious Midlands Championships, Colon has won 16-consecutive matches. Over the span of those 15 matches, Colon has won by regular decision just once. The rest have been major decisions (6), technical falls (4) and pins (5).
PANTHER HISTORY AT WEST REGIONAL
Over the past five seasons, UNI has advanced an average of five NCAA qualifiers per year. Last season, David Bonin (157), Ryan Loder (184), and Christian Brantley (285) represented UNI at the NCAA Championships, earning automatic bids from the West Regional. As a team, the Panthers have finished second to Wyoming the past two seasons. Leading up to their second place finish in 2010, UNI won 24-straight West Regional titles.
LODER, COLON AMONG THE BEST
UNI’s Ryan Loder (184), rated No. 8 in the latest InterMat rankings, has one of his weight class’ best records at 30-3. He is also the highest-rated underclassmen at 184. Loder has a record of 3-3 against fellow ranked opponents.
Joe Colon (133), rated No. 5 in the latest InterMat rankings, has won 16-straight matches and boasts a 5-1 record against ranked opponents.
The Western Wrestling Conference has five completed seasons to its name. UNI has captured the WWC dual title four times. This season, UNI finished second to Wyoming. Last season, the Panthers finished with a 5-0 conference record. A 19-13 victory over No. 24-ranked Wyoming in their final regular season dual secured the conference championship.
RACKING UP CONFERENCE CREDENTIALS
Panther wrestlers have claimed the last four WWC “Wrestler of the Week” awards. Joe Colon took the honor Jan. 31 and Feb. 14. David Bonin received the distinction Feb. 7 and Feb. 21. Ryan Loder has also been named a “Wrestler of the Week” this season (Nov. 29).
STATE CHAMPS HEADED TO UNI
All three Panther recruits who competed at the 2012 Iowa High School State Wrestling Tournament took home titles Feb. 18. Dylan Peters (Denver) won Class 2A’s 120-pound division, Zach Witte (Cedar Rapids Prairie) won Class 3A’s 152-pound division, and Jared Bartel (Mason City) won Class 3A’s 182-pound division.