Wyoming Wrestlers Battle, But Come Up Short In 24-17 Loss To Oklahoma State

Jan. 1, 2012


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Despite holding a lead with three matches to go, the Wyoming Cowboy wrestling team let a close dual slip away to No. 2 Oklahoma State on Sunday, 24-17.

But the Pokes gave the 1,184 fans in the Arena-Auditorium something to cheer about, winning four consecutive matches. Wyoming's Shane Onufer (165 pounds), Patrick Martinez (174), Joe LeBlanc (184) and Alfonso Hernandez (197) earned wins to keep Wyoming in contention the whole day.

"I don't care who you're wrestling, the loss is the same," Wyoming coach Mark Branch said. "We had some good efforts, put ourselves in position against a great team to have an opportunity to win, but when you lose, you lose. I liked a lot of things and the fact we got some things rolling, but we dropped off there at the end and didn't capitalize. To beat a team like that, we have to have an inspired effort from 10 guys."

Wyoming's first win of the dual came courtesy of Onufer, the sixth-ranked senior, when he beat 19th-ranked Dallas Bailey of Oklahoma State in a 9-3 decision at 165 pounds. Onufer, who beat Bailey in the title match in the Reno Tournament of Champions on Dec. 18, fell behind 3-1 in the second period, but used two takedowns and an escape to build a 6-3 lead. Two stalling penalties on Bailey and a riding-time advantage gave Onufer the 9-3 win. Onufer now is 16-1 on the year and 4-1 versus top-20 opponents.

"Shane reacted like a champion," Branch said of Onufer's win after the early deficit.

Sophomore Patrick Martinez had one of the most exciting wins of the dual, pinning Oklahoma State's Zach White at the 2:52 mark of the 174-pound bout. The two traded blows early, but it was Martinez who caught White on a takedown attempt and stuck his shoulder to the mat. The win, worth six points, made the team score 9-9 after five matches.

"Patrick gave up a takedown, and was getting ridden, and made an adjustment and hit a nice sit-out and popped up and went right back on the attack," Branch said.

Third-ranked senior LeBlanc kept the momentum rolling in the 184-pound match, beating OSU's Chris McNeil in a 17-1 technical fall. LeBlanc scored a takedown and four near-fall points in the first period en route to the dominating performance, as McNeil scored just one point through the 5-minute, 47-second match. LeBlanc's win, his 16th of the year, gave Wyoming a 14-9 lead in the team scoring.

Perhaps the most impressive performance of the night came from 12th-ranked Alfonso Hernandez. The Wyoming junior beat No. 5 Cayle Byers of OSU in a hard-fought 8-4 decision to give Wyoming a 17-9 lead with three matches remaining. Byers was the highest-ranked opponent Hernandez has beaten this season, and he earned his 24th win of the year.

"Fonz had probably the biggest win of his career," Branch said. "He's continued to show that he's been solid for us this year."

The dual began with the 141-pound match, and OSU's Josh Kindig, ranked 13th, defeated Wyoming's McCade Ford in an 8-2 decision. After that, OSU's Jamal Parks, ranked second, beat UW's Brandon Richardson in another 8-2 decision.

The 157-pound match went OSU's way as well, as No. 19 Albert White defeated Dakota Friesth in an 8-3 decision. That win gave Oklahoma State a 9-0 lead in the team standings.

Second-ranked Alan Gelogaev of OSU pinned Wyoming's L.J. Helbig in the heavyweight bout at the 3:22 mark. No. 10 Jon Morrison (OSU) beat Kasey Garnhart in a 4-1 decision in the 125-pound match, and in the final bout, the 133-pound matchup, No. 1 Jordan Oliver pinned Wyoming's Zach Zehner, ranked 14th, at the 5:44 mark.

The conclusion of the dual was a disappointment to Branch, but he and the Cowboys must regroup for a dual versus Oklahoma on Tuesday night.

"When you give up bonus points and a pin and only have a couple more matches ... We knew it was going to be tough at that point," Branch said. "You have to make something happen. We didn't make it happen those last three matches.

"We have things we can build on. There's good things to take from it and things to work on."

Wyoming will battle the Sooners at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Arena-Auditorium.

Match-by-match results
141 pounds: No. 13 Josh Kindig (OSU) dec. McCade Ford (UW), 8-2/OSU 3, Wyoming 0
149: No. 2 Jamal Parks (OSU) dec. Brandon Richardson (UW), 8-2/OSU 6, Wyoming 0
157: No. 19 Albert White (OSU) dec. Dakota Friesth (UW), 8-3/OSU 9, Wyoming 0
165: No. 6 Shane Onufer (UW) dec. No. 19 Dallas Bailey (OSU), 9-3/OSU 9, Wyoming 3
174: Pat Martinez (UW) fall (2:52) Zach White (OSU)/Wyoming 9, OSU 9
184: No. 3 Joe LeBlanc (UW) tech. fall (5:47) Chris McNeil (OSU), 17-1/Wyoming 14, OSU 9
197: No. 12 Alfonso Hernandez (UW) dec. No. 5 Cayle Byers (OSU), 8-4/Wyoming 17, OSU 9
285: No. 2 Alan Gelogaev (OSU) fall (3:22) L.J. Helbig (UW)/Wyoming 17, OSU 15
125: No. 10 Jon Morrison (OSU) dec. Kasey Garnhart (UW), 4-1/Oklahoma State 18, Wyoming 17
133: No. 1 Jordan Oliver (OSU) fall (5:44) No. 14 Zach Zehner (UW)/Oklahoma State 24, Wyoming 17