All-America Honors Earned by VomBaur, Salazar

Gophers senior Isaiah Salazar and redshirt sophomore Vance VomBaur, teammates together at Windsor High School in Colorado, both became All-Americans for the first time in their respective careers Friday on day two of the NCAA Championships in Kansas City, Mo.

The No. 2 seed, Salazar, reached the semifinals at 184 pounds and became an All-American after a dramatic quarterfinal win over No. 7 Thomas Stewart Jr. of Virginia Tech, while VomBaur, seeded 26th, bounced back from a quarterfinals loss to win in the blood round and claim All-America status at 141 pounds.

Salazar is the first Gopher at 184 to be an All-American since Kevin Steinhaus in 2014. VomBaur became the lowest-seeded Gopher to become an All-American since David Thorn finished seventh at 125 pounds in 2013 after being unseeded (full seeding started in 2019). In addition, it marks the fifth straight season with multiple All-Americans for Minnesota and the fourth year in a row where a Gopher seeded in the double digits earned All-America honors.

As a team, Minnesota has moved up to 18th place with 21.0 points, while Penn State leads the way at 148.0 points.

Leading 1-0 in the second period in the quarterfinals, Salazar was taken down for the first time since Dec. 2, a streak of 18 matches. Down 3-1 entering the third period, he started on top and, after gaining the riding time advantage, cut Thomas Jr. loose. With 12 seconds left, Salazar got the winning takedown and rode him out for a 6-4 win.

That sent Salazar to the semifinals where he lost by major decision, 11-2, to No. 3 seed Dustin Plott of Oklahoma State. It marked just the second loss of the season for Salazar and snapped an 18-match winning streak dating back to Dec. 2.

Salazar will now face South Dakota State’s No. 9 Bennett Berge in the consolation semifinals Saturday morning and will go to either the third- or fifth-place match depending on the outcome.

VomBaur faced No. 2 seed Beau Bartlett of Penn State in the 141-pound quarterfinals. As the No. 26 seed, VomBaur led Bartlett 1-0 after two periods, but after pulling ahead 4-2 late in the third, Bartlett pinned VomBaur at the 6:48 mark to send VomBaur to the blood round against Missouri’s No. 21 Josh Edmond.

Edmond led 1-0 through two periods and led 4-2 before VomBaur recorded a takedown in the closing seconds of the third period. It looked as though Edmond may have scored a reversal, but none was given after a lengthy review, though 13 seconds were put on the clock and that was enough time for Edmond to escape and send the match to overtime tied at 5-5. In the extra session, VomBaur scored the takedown to etch his name in history.

VomBaur followed with an 11-2 major decision loss to No. 3 Real Woods of Iowa, setting up a seventh-place matchup with No. 4 seed Ryan Jack of North Carolina State on Saturday morning.

True freshman Tyler Wells recorded a pair of upsets to reach the blood round along with VomBaur. In the second round of consolations, Wells, the No. 20 seed, clung to a 4-2 lead late in the match against No. 14 Jacob Van Dee of Nebraska. With 20 seconds to go, Wells scored a takedown and tacked on four nearfall points for an 11-2 major decision, the first bonus-point win of the championships for Minnesota.

The win pushed Wells into a matchup with Virginia Tech’s No. 12 Sam Latona. The match went to overtime tied at 1-1, and Wells recorded a neutral danger takedown to claim the victory and advance, 4-1. Unfortunately, Wells’ stay in the tournament came to an end in the blood round with a 2-1 loss to No. 8 Evan Frost of Iowa State.

Three Gophers saw their tournament runs and Gopher careers come to a close earlier in the day in Session III as sixth-year seniors Patrick McKee, Michael Blockhus and Garrett Joles all lost in the consolation bracket.

The No. 9 seed at 125 pounds, McKee was knocked off by South Dakota State’s No. 23 Tanner Jordan in an 11-4 decision in the second round of consolations. Finishing the year with a 16-8 record, McKee ended his Gophers career as a two-time All-American and ranked tied for 19th in program history with 26 career pins and 55th with 88 wins in the Maroon and Gold.

At 157 pounds, the 13th-seeded Blockhus started the day with a wild 14-13 decision over Iowa State’s No. 14 Cody Chittum. Blockhus was stopped, however, in the next round by Northern Iowa’s No. 5 Ryder Downey in an 11-3 major decision. An All-American a year ago, Blockhus went 17-5 this season.

Seeded 22nd at 197 pounds, Joles was defeated by No. 21 Mac Stout of Pitt in a 20-5 tech fall in the second round of consolations. Joles went 23-10 on the season as he made his second career trip to NCAAs, going 1-2 each year at the championships.

In addition to those three, fourth-year senior Andrew Sparks was also bested in the second round of consolations. The No. 24 seed at 174 pounds, Sparks fell to No. 10 Nick Incontrera of Penn, 8-4, to finish the year 14-10.

Results through Session IV

125 Pounds
First Round (Thu.): #9 Patrick McKee dec. #24 Kysen Turekina (Iowa State), 9-4
Round of 16 (Thu.): #8 Richard Figueroa (Arizona State) MD #9 Patrick McKee, 16-4
Consolation – R2 (Fri.): #23 Tanner Jordan (South Dakota State) dec. #9 Patrick McKee, 11-4

133 Pounds
First Round (Thu.): #13 Kurt Phipps (Bucknell) dec. #20 Tyler Wells, 5-3
Consolation – R1 (Thu.): #20 Tyler Wells dec. #29 Jace Koelzer (Oklahoma), 7-3
Consolation – R2 (Fri.): #20 Tyler Wells MD #14 Jacob Van Dee (Nebraska), 11-2
Consolation – R3 (Fri.): #20 Tyler Wells dec. #12 Sam Latona (Virginia Tech), 4-1 SV1
Blood Round (Fri.): #8 Evan Frost (Iowa State) dec. #20 Tyler Wells, 2-1

141 Pounds
First Round (Thu.): #26 Vance VomBaur dec. #7 Cael Happel (Northern Iowa), 8-5 SV1
Round of 16 (Thu.): #26 Vance VomBaur dec. #23 Danny Fongaro (Indiana), 5-0
Quarterfinals (Fri.): #2 Beau Bartlett (Penn State) fall #26 Vance VomBaur, 6:48
Blood Round (Fri.): #26 Vance VomBaur dec. #21 Josh Edmond (Missouri), 8-5 SV1
Consolation Quarters (Fri.): #3 Real Woods (Iowa) MD #26 Vance VomBaur, 11-2
7th Place (Sat.): #26 Vance VomBaur vs. #4 Ryan Jack (North Carolina State)

149 Pounds
First Round (Thu.): #10 Chance Lamer (Cal Poly) dec. #23 Drew Roberts, 7-2
Consolation – R1 (Thu.): #7 Tyler Kasak (Penn State) MD #23 Drew Roberts, 14-5

157 Pounds
First Round (Thu.): #13 Michael Blockhus dec. #20 Max Brignola (Lehigh), 6-4
Round of 16 (Thu.): #4 Ed Scott (NC State) MD #13 Michael Blockhus, 19-8
Consolation – R2 (Fri.): #13 Michael Blockhus dec. #14 Cody Chittum (Iowa State), 14-13
Consolation – R3 (Fri.): #5 Ryder Downey (Northern Iowa) MD #13 Michael Blochus, 11-3

165 Pounds
First Round (Thu.): #6 Michael Caliendo (Iowa) MD #27 Blaine Brenner, 11-2
Consolation – R1 (Thu.): #11 Andrew Cergniglia (Navy) dec. #27 Blaine Brenner, 6-0

174 Pounds
First Round (Thu.): #9 Carter Starocci (Penn State) dec. #24 Andrew Sparks, 12-6
Consolation – R1 (Thu.): #24 Andrew Sparks dec. #25 Brayden Thompson (Oklahoma State), 11-4
Consolation – R2 (Fri.): #10 Nick Incontrera (Penn) dec. #24 Andrew Sparks, 8-4

184 Pounds
First Round (Thu.): #2 Isaiah Salazar dec. #31 Tony Negron (Arizona State), 2-1
Round of 16 (Thu.): #2 Isaiah Salazar dec. #18 Ryder Rogotzke (Ohio State), 4-1 SV1
Quarterfinals (Fri.): #2 Isaiah Salazar dec. #7 Thomas Stewart Jr. (Virginia Tech), 6-4
Semifinals (Fri.) #3 Dustin Plott (Oklahoma State) MD #2 Isaiah Salazar, 11-2
Consolation Semis (Sat.): #2 Isaiah Salazar vs.

197 Pounds
First Round (Thu.): #22 Garrett Joles dec. #11 Jaxon Smith (Maryland), 6-5
Round of 16 (Thu.): #6 Lou DePrez (Binghamton) dec. #22 Garrett Joles, 5-1
Consolation – R2 (Fri.): #21 Mac Stout (Pitt) TF #22 Garrett Joles 20-5 7:00

First Round (Thu.): #2 Yonger Bastida (Iowa State) fall #31 Bennett Tabor, 1:50
Consolation – R1 (Thu.): #18 David Szuba (Rider) MD #31 Bennett Tabor, 16-8

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