Six wrestlers advance to nationals

Ben Lokken, Staff Reporter

The Warhawk wrestling team finished with 146 points in the NCAA Upper Midwest Regional and had six wrestlers move on to the NCAA championships in their respective weight classes.

“I love competing in the environment like the one this past weekend,” senior Nicholas Bonomo said.  “It excites me. We have a lot of supporters there. It’s loud and overall just awesome to be a part of.”

Freshman Jaritt Shinhoster, juniors Mike Tortorice, Hazen Rice and Riley Kauzlaric and Bonomo and fellow senior Nick Stencel all will appear in the NCAA Championships. Of the six advancing, Tortorice, Rice and Stencel all took home gold medals.

Rice in addition was named the  regional’s Co-Most Outstanding Wrestler.

Head coach Matt Zwaschka earned Upper Midwest Regional Co-Coach of the Year.

Tortorice, ranked No. 3 in the 125-pound weight class, won his first match by pinfall and his second match by a 12-0 major decision.  In the semifinals, he claimed another major decision victory by a score of 10-2 to advance to the finals against Victor Gliva of Augsburg University [Minn.].  Tortorice defeated Gliva in the final with a 6-4 decision.

Stencel defeated his first opponent via pinfall before winning his next three matches via relatively close decisions to come out of the meet with a first place finish.  Stencel faced off against Solomon Nielsen of Augsburg University in the final and won by a 9-6 decision.

“We did a lot of things well like pushing the pace of the match, getting to our position, scoring on top, etc.”  Bonomo said. “Things we can improve on is keep building our leads and continuing to push the pace of matches.”

Rice, who is ranked sixth nationally in the 141-pound weight class, navigated his way through a series of low scoring decision victories to at the beginning of the meet, including a sudden victory in overtime of his semifinal match.  In the finals, Rice faced off against David Flynn of Augsburg and came away victorious via pinfall.

Bonomo earned pinfall victories in each of his first two matches to get himself into the semifinals where he earned a 14-6 major decision victory to advance to the finals against Augsburg’s Lucas Jeske.  Bonomo ended up losing a major decision to Jeske 11-2 and took home a second place finish in the 165-pound weight class.

In the 174-pound weight class, Shinhoster took down No. 3 Sawyer Massie of UW-La Crosse in the semifinals but was required to forfeit his finals match due to injury reasons.

Kauzlaric, who is ranked No. 5 at 197 pounds, also took home a second place finish.  Kauzlaric won his first three matches via decision to advance to the finals against Augsburg’s Lance Benick.  Kauzlaric and Benick went to overtime, but Benick earned a sudden victory to win the match 5-3.    

The NCAA Championships take place March 8 and 9 in Roanoke, Va.