OREM, Utah ñ University of Northern Iowa redshirt freshman Ryan Loder has been named Western Wrestling Conference Freshman of the Year the league announced today. |OREM, Utah ñ University of Northern Iowa redshirt freshman Ryan Loder has been named Western Wrestling Conference Freshman of the Year the league announced today. Loder was a unanimous pick for the award in a voting from the league’s head coaches.
Loder was the Panthers’ standout performer during the 2010-11 season, finishing as the West Regional champion at 184 pounds to earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships. In the finals of the regional tournament, Loder defeated now three-time All-American and No. 1 seed Joe LeBlanc (Wyoming) 4-3 to win his first regional crown.
The Granite Bay, Calif. native entered the NCAA championships as the No. 6 seed and advanced to the round of 12 before bowing out to eventual All-American and No. 4 seeded Travis Rutt (Wisconsin) by a narrow 4-2 margin. He finished the season with a 30-11 overall record, which led UNI in wins. Loder also finished his Western Wrestling Conference dual season with a 4-1 record, falling only to Wyoming’s LeBlanc by a narrow 6-5 margin. He also won 23 of his last 28 matches, including a string of 12 straight wins that included victories over six ranked opponents.
A three-time WWC Wrestler of the Week, Loder recorded six wins by fall, six by major decisions and three by technical falls while having none of those verdicts scored against him. Loder placed fifth at the prestigious Midlands Championships and posted three consecutive wins over ranked opponents during the 2011 National Duals, upsetting No. 12 Mike Larson (Missouri), 3-1, Ohio State’s No. 20-ranked Cody Magrum, 6-4, and No. 11 Chris Perry (Oklahoma State), 8-2. He was also recently named the 2010-11 D1CollegeWrestling.net West WWC Freshman of the Year.
Utah Valley’s Ben Kjar was named WWC Wrestler of the Year while Wyoming’s Mark Branch was tabbed WWC Coach of the Year. The Wrestler of the Year and Freshman of the Year awards were voted on by the league’s head coaches this past week, while the Coach of the Year balloting was determined after the West Regional Tournament.