photo courtesy of Tony Rotundo; WrestlersAreWarriors.com
A new feature that we will have on TOM is the “All-2000’s Team” for a respective school. We will go weight-by-weight to feature the best lineup that a team could put together comprised of wrestlers that were in action from the year 2000 to now. Their career could have started in the 1990’s, they just need to have one year of competition in the 2000’s. Each wrestler that is mentioned must have competed for one postseason at their weight class (even if it wasn’t the weight they were most known for).
125 – Dylan Peters (Denver, IA) 2013-17
Four-time NCAA Qualifier, Two-time All-American (2016-6th; 2014-6th), 2014 MAC Champion, Four-time MAC finalist
As a freshman, Dylan Peters finished sixth in the nation for the Panthers, which made him the first freshman All-American for UNI since 1996. He replicated the sixth-place finish as a junior, also. Though he battled through injuries in his last two seasons, Peters still pinned enough opponents (38) to rank fifth in school history in falls.
Second Team: Chris Helgeson
133 – Joe Colon (Clear Lake, IA) 2011-14
Two-time NCAA Qualifier, 2014 NCAA Third-Place finisher, Two-time Conference Champion
Colon only competed in two seasons for the Panthers, but he was quite productive in those years. Joe’s 62-6 career record gave him the best winning percentage in school history, for wrestlers with greater than 50 victories. As a senior, he was the top seed at the NCAA Championships but fell to Tyler Graff (Wisconsin) in the semis. Colon pinned the eventual champion Tony Ramos (Iowa) earlier in the season at the Midlands.
Second Team: Josh Alber
141 – Dylan Long (Creston, IA) 2000-04
Four-time NCAA Qualifier, 2003 NCAA Runner-Up, Three-time NCAA Round of 12 finisher, Four-time West Regional Champion
In 2003 Long came dangerously close to winning an NCAA title at 141; instead Teyon Ware (Oklahoma) prevailed in sudden victory for his first of two championships. It was the only time that Dylan was able to get onto the podium, as he was knocked out in the Round of 12 in each of his other three trips to the NCAA Championships. Long was seeded in the top-six in his final three national tournaments.
Second Team: Joey Lazor
149 – Tony Davis (Chicago, IL) 1998-2000
Two-time NCAA Qualifier, 2000 NCAA Champion, Two-time All-American (2000-1st; 1999-2nd), Two-time Conference Champion
Davis is one of the more overlooked NCAA Champions of the past 19 seasons. His combination of speed and balance was extremely difficult to match. The All-Americans in his NCAA Championship include future champions Adam Tirapelle, Jared Lawrence and world medalist Mike Zadick. In his two seasons competing for Northern Iowa, he went 46-5.
Second Team: Max Thomsen
157 – David Bonin (Broussard, LA) 2009-13
Three-time NCAA Qualifier, 2013 NCAA Fourth-Place finisher, 2013 MAC Champion, Three-time Conference finalist
David Bonin was a mainstay in the UNI lineup for his entire career, but his big breakthrough didn’t come until his final tournament when he placed fourth in the nation. Although he was not seeded, Bonin made it through to the NCAA semifinals, before falling to Jason Welch (Northwestern) 7-1. He was one of two wrestlers that won a conference championship in the team’s first year in the MAC.
Second Team: Nick Baima
165 – Moza Fay (Anamosa, IA) 2004-09
Three-time NCAA Qualifier, Two-time All-American (2009-6th; 2008-5th), 2007 NCAA Round of 12 finisher, Three-time West Regional Champion
The bright spot in a down period for the Panthers, Fay was the only wrestler that AA’ed for UNI between in a four-year stretch between 2005-09. In each of his three trips to nationals, Fay won a West Regional crown and earned a top ten seed. His sophomore season he fell in the round of 12 while competing at 157 lbs. Fay’s 119 wins are good enough for seventh on UNI’s all-time list.
Second Team: Bryce Steiert
174 – Eric Hauan (Sturgis, SD) 2001-05
Four-time NCAA Qualifier, Two-time All-American (2005-6th; 2004-6th), Three-time West Regional Champion
This was a strong weight class for the Panthers, with four possible candidates for the first team spot. Hauan’s consistency over his career gives him the edge. Eric won three West Regional titles which helped provide him with top-nine seeds at nationals in those seasons. In both of his All-American seasons, Hauan met and defeated Andrew Roy (Rutgers) in the NCAA Round of 12.
Second Team: Randy Pugh
184 – Ryan Loder (Granite Bay, CA) 2010-14
Four-time NCAA Qualifier, 2013 NCAA Seventh-Place finisher; Three-time NCAA Round of 12 finisher, 2011 West Regional Champion, Four-time Conference finalist
Like 174 lbs, this weight class has a few possible contenders. Loder had the unenviable distinction of competing in the Round of 12 in all four of his collegiate seasons. In 2012, Ryan was eliminated in the bloodround by Josh Ihnen (Nebraska). A year later he got his revenge on Ihnen in the same round to secure All-American status.
Second Team: Kyle Hansen
197 – Sean Stender (North Scott, IA) 2001-05
Three-time NCAA Qualifier, Three-time All-American (2005-2nd; 2004-6th; 2003-4th), Three-time West Regional Champion
Sean Stender is best known for his 2005 upset of Jon Trenge (Lehigh) in the NCAA semifinals. Though it was an impressive win, Stender’s was much more than a one-hit wonder. To this date, he is still the most recent NCAA finalist and three-time All-American for the Panthers.
Second Team: Jacob Holschlag
285 – Paul Hynek (Cedar Rapids, IA) 2000-03
Four-time NCAA Qualifier, Two-time All-American (2002-6th; 2001-6th), Two-time West Regional Champion, Three-time West Regional finalist
Hynek is the only four-time NCAA qualifier and All-American heavyweight of the 2000’s for Northern Iowa. Paul battled through knee and foot injuries in his final two seasons in Cedar Falls, Despite these injuries he was able to find his way onto the podium as a junior, before coming up a match show his senior year. In his final three years, Hynek was never seeded lower than 10th at NCAA’s.
Second Team: Blaize Cabell