Cowboys to Brawl with Big 12 Foe Air Force

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LARAMIE, Wyo. (Feb. 2, 2017) – The University of Wyoming wrestling team (5-5, 2-1 Big 12) will welcome Air Force on Saturday night for a conference contest that is set to begin at 7 p.m. MT in the UniWyo Sports Complex. The Cowboys have won four-straight duals this season and the last eight against Air Force.

Fans can follow the action on Trackwrestling or watch live with a subscription to FloWrestling. 

The Series with Air Force
Saturday’s dual will be the 52nd meeting between the two schools. Wyoming leads the all-time series, 39-12 including the last eight matches. Mark Branch has not lost against Air Force while head coach in Laramie. UW picked up a 22-16 victory over Air Force last season. Three current Cowboys earned wins a year ago, as Drew Templeman and Archie Colgan recorded decisions with Bryce Meredith scoring a fall.

Air Force (5-4, 0-2 Big 12) is coming off a third-place finish at the 23rd Annual All-Academy Championships last weekend. Senior Dylan Hyder led Air Force with a championship title at the 133-pound weight class, while all ten Falcons placed in the top-three of their respective weight classes. Before that, Air Force topped Cal Poly, 21-10 in San Luis Obispo, Calif., on Jan. 20.

Wyoming in the Rankings
Not much has changed from a week ago, as the Pokes once again have five wrestlers within the national rankings. UW is led by All-American Meredith, who is ranked No. 8 by several organizations. Templeman (No. 16) at 125-pounds, Branson Ashworth (No. 16) at 165 and Colgan (No. 19) at 157 are all ranked in the top-20 of their respective weights in the InterMat Individual rankings. Cole Mendenhall also finds himself ranked as high as 16th by The Open Mat. 

Last Time Out
In front of over 2,000 fans at Star Valley high school, the University of Wyoming hammered home a 32-6 dual victory over Boise State on Monday night in Afton, Wyo. Branch’s squad won eight of the ten bouts with Meredith, Ashworth, Templeman and Mendenhall leading the way with bonus point wins. 

He Said It
“I would say that Air Force is similar to what we have been seeing lately,” Branch said. “It will be another competitive dual where bonus points will be critical. We are favored in a few and so is Air Force. Each team knows that details are important. I want to see us come out as the aggressors and wrestle at a hard pace to finish matches.”

“We really haven’t seen Air Force head to head this year,” Branch added. “With Air Force being close and both teams competing in a number of the same tournaments, you’d think we would have those matchups, but it just hasn’t happened much this year.”

“We’ll have some game time decisions once again,” Branch stated. “We have a couple weights that are still up in the air. We know we need to make a few decisions and look at the matchups. What’s been key for us is how we start the dual and how it progresses. Some of our decisions will be made according to how the dual is going.”

Wyoming Probable Lineup
125: #16 Drew Templeman, Sr. (13-5, 7-2)
133: Ronnie Stevens, Jr. (9-8, 1-3)/Gunnar Woodburn, Sr. (10-10, 1-6)
141: #8 Bryce Meredith, Jr. (22-4, 8-2)
149: Cole Mendenhall, Sr. (24-5, 6-3)/Ben Hornickle, RFr. (13-3, 1-0)
157: #19 Archie Colgan, Jr. (27-5, 6-4)
165: #16 Branson Ashworth, RSo. (9-4, 9-1)
174: Kyle Pope, Jr. (17-12, 3-7)
184: Lucas Lovvorn, RFr. (15-7, 1-3)/Luke Paine, Jr. (9-11, 1-2)
197: Nate Shaw, Sr. (8-9, 1-2)
285: Brandon Tribble, Sr. (10-14, 3-6)/Danny Gordon, So. (10-6, 0-0)

Air Force Probable Lineup
125: Drew Romero, Jr. (14-10, 4-4)
133: Dylan Hyder, Sr. (16-11, 4-3)
141: John Twomey, So. (16-15, 4-3)
149: Jerry McGinty, Sr. (16-8, 2-3)
157: Alex Mossing, So. (10-7, 1-0)/Dane Robbins, Jr. (14-10, 3-4)
165: Tyler Wiederholt, Fr. (22-10, 2-1)
174: Michael Billingsley, Jr. (12-13, 3-4)
184: Zen Ikehara, Jr. (6-9, 2-6)
197: Anthony McLaughlin, So. (15-7, 3-0)
285: Kerry Powers, Fr. (13-9, 5-3)

Up Next
UW will make its way to Greeley, Colo., for a Wednesday night dual at Northern Colorado. The dual will begin at 7 p.m. MT.