The University of Northern Iowa wrestling team held its end of the season banquet Sunday afternoon at the McLeod Center. Three seniors were honored among other award recipients.
Sophomores Ryan Loder and Joe Colon were named Co-Most Valuable Wrestlers after ending their seasons in the round of twelve at the NCAA Championships. Colon, a Western Wrestling Conference champion, won a team-high 20 consecutive matches and posted a perfect 11-0 record in dual competition. Loder earned his second-straight Most Valuable Wrestler honor after compiling a team-best 3-2 record at the NCAA Championships and 35 overall wins.
Redshirt freshman Levi Wolfensperger was given the Rookie Award after winning a West Regional title, which qualified him for the WWC's only NCAA Championships spot at 141 pounds. Wolfensperger first competed in UNI's opening dual versus Northern Colorado after overcoming a knee injury. He lost that match to UNC's Casey Cruz, the same opponent he defeated at the West Regional title match.
Other awards were given to recognize wrestlers' admirable qualities on and off the mat. Cruse Aarhus was awarded the McCready/Steffensmeier Award for his senior leadership. Riley Banach earned the Lyle E. Schwarzenbach Award for his excellence in academics, citizenship, and dedication. The Chuck Patton Award for leadership was given to junior David Bonin.
Redshirt freshman Taylor Kettman was given the Coaches Appreciation Award, and senior Onni Prestidge earned the Most Courageous Award. Junior Blayne Beale was named the team's Most Improved Wrestler, and Adam Perrin won the Most Falls Award after compiling a team-high 14 pins this season.
Select wrestlers were also recognized for their successes in the classroom. Nine student-athletes earned spots in the team's 3.0 club, including Riley Banach (3.28), Ryan Jauch (3.42), Jarrett Jensen (4.0), Joe Johnson (3.89), Taylor Kettman (3.13), A.J. McBroom (3.28), Adam Perrin (3.36), Onni Prestidge (3.41), and Elliot Wirkler (3.10). Senior Joe Johnson was awarded the GPA Award.