Salminen Wins 2nd Straight NCAA West Regional Crown

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Senior Vince Salminen won his second straight NCAA West Regional title at 157 pounds to lead the North Dakota State wrestling team to a fourth place finish on Sunday, March 6.  Redshirt freshman Steven Monk took second at 165 pounds, while senior Kenny Moenkedick placed third at 184 pounds.

Wyoming won its second straight team title with 93 points, while UNI was second with 87.

Salminen advanced to the title bout after winning a 12-7 decision over Utah Valley’s Richard Winger.  In the semifinals, Salminen shut out Air Force’s Alec Williams, 9-0.
In the final, No. 18 Salminen pinned Northern Iowa’s David Bonin in 5:28.  Salminen opened with a strong first period, notching two takedowns to take a 4-2 lead.  Salminen then scored a reversal to open the second period.  The Billings, Mont. native pinned Bonin 28 seconds into the third period.  With the win, Salminen earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships March 17-19 in Philadelphia, Pa.

Monk also advanced to the title bout at 165 pounds after earning pins of Northern Colorado’s Brandon Kammerzell in 2:19 and Utah Valley’s Jeb Clark in 3:51.  He faced off against No. 11 Shane Onufer of Wyoming in the title match.  Onufer scored four takedowns and a point for riding time in a 9-3 decision over Monk.

At 184 pounds, Moenkedick had a bye in the opening round and then took UNI’s No. 8 Ryan Loder to overtime in the semifinals before getting pinned in 7:35.  Moenkedick then won a 7-3 decision over Kazden Ikehara of Air Force to advance to the third place bout.  After an early takedown, Moenkedick pinned Casen Eldredge of Utah Valley in 2:03 to take third.

Senior Geoff Martin dropped his opening bout, but advanced to the third place match with a 6-4 overtime win over Chase Smith of Wyoming.  Martin lost by technical fall, 15-0, to Joey Lazor of UNI in the third place bout to finish fourth.

Sophomore Mark Erickson placed fourth at 149 pounds .  Erickson made it to the third place bout with a 12-11 win over Josh Kreimier.  Erickson was pinned by Northern Colorado’s Justin Gaethje in 1:15 in the third place match.

Junior Drew Ross was fourth at 197 pounds. He defeated Nick Bayer of Northern Colorado, 10-7, to advance to the third place match.  He dropped a 4-1 decision to Neil Delaney of Air Force to take fourth.

Sophomore Will Johnson went 1-2 at heavyweight, while sophomore Trent Sprenkle went 0-2 at 125 pounds, losing both matches to ranked wrestlesr.  Junior Justin Solberg was 0-2 at 133 pounds and sophomore Tyler Wells was also 0-2 at 174 pounds.

At-large bids for the NCAA Championships will be announced Wednesday, March 9.

Team scores
1. Wyoming, 93
2. Northern Iowa, 87
3. Air Force, 59
4. North Dakota State, 45.5
5. Utah Valley, 41.5
6. Northern Colorado, 24
7. South Dakota State, 14

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