SDSU’s Flynn takes third at West Regional

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Nick Flynn led the South Dakota State wrestling team with a third-place finish at the NCAA West Regional, hosted by Air Force Academy, as the Jackrabbits ended the 2010-11 season Sunday in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Flynn started the West Regional with a 6-2 loss to no. three seed Jimmy Belleville of Wyoming. He received a bye in his second match and moved to the third-place matchup after a forfeit by no. four seed Alec Williams of Air Force Academy. Flynn pulled out a 5-4 decision win over Northern Colorado’s Tanner Weiks to take the third-place spot in the conference but fell to Northern Iowa’s no. two seed David Bonin, ranked no. 19 (Intermat), by an 11-4 decision in the true second-place match to eliminate his claim at one of the two 157-pound automatic bids to the NCAA Championships. Flynn ended his sophomore season with a 12-17overall record.

Aaron Pickrel beat no. two seed Ben Kjar of Utah Valley to start off the tournament. He defeated Kjar, ranked no. 15 (Intermat), by a 5-3 decision in overtime. In the semi-finals of the 125-pound bracket Pickrel fell to no. three seed Caleb Flores of Northern Iowa by a 6-1 decision. Pickrel moved over to the consolation side of the bracket and defeated Northern Colorado’s Sam Bauer by a 9-7 decision before falling to Kjar 7-1 in the third-place match. Pickrel ended his sophomore season with a 26-10 record.

In the 285-pound bracket, Kevin Kelly defeated Utah Valley’s Christian Denny by a 7-2 decision in his first matchup of the day. Kelly fell to Northern Iowa’s no. one seed Christian Brantley, ranked no. 15 (Intermat), in the semi-finals by a 2-0 decision before defeating Konner Knudtsen of Northern Colorado 9-4 to move on to the third-place match. Kelly fell in the third-place matchup to Air Force’s Jared Erickson by a 2-0 decision. Kelly finished his senior season with a 13-17 overall record.

As a team, the Jackrabbits finished the tournament in seventh place with 14 total points. Wyoming took first with 93 points.

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

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 – David 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)

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

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