Cowboys Claim Victory Over Oregon State, 23-22

Jan. 15, 2012

CORVALLIS, Ore. - Five match wins Sunday powered the Wyoming Cowboy wrestling team to a team victory over No. 16 Oregon State on the road, 23-22.

The dual ended with the score tied at 22, but 13th-ranked Wyoming (2-2 overall) earned the victory on criteria, scoring 34 match points to Oregon State's 30. That added an additional team point. It was Wyoming's first win over the Beavers since 2003-04, when the Cowboys defeated OSU 17-16. Oregon State moved to 5-2 overall.

"It was a pretty wild dual," Wyoming coach Mark Branch said. "It didn't go down by any means how I thought it might. But between two good teams, to have four pins and really competitive matchups, duals get that way. You feel lucky to be on the right side of those."

The dual began at 125 pounds, with No. 14 Michael Martinez of UW and Pat Rollins. Rollins took an early shot but a nifty defensive move by Martinez prevented any points. The senior then worked his way into a takedown with less than a minute left in the first period for the 2-0 lead. But Rollins was in the top position to start the second period and took advantage, pinning Martinez at the 3:36 mark. Oregon State took a 6-0 lead in the dual after one match.

No. 16 Zach Zehner, a redshirt freshman, took on James Roberts in the 133-pound match. Zehner earned a takedown less than 15 seconds in for a 2-0 lead. A Roberts escape seconds later made the score 2-1. Zehner then used his aggressiveness to earn another takedown, and controlled Roberts for nearly two minutes, but Roberts earned an escape to make it 4-2. Zehner then lifted Roberts off the mat and threw him for another takedown to take the 6-2 lead into the second period. Roberts earned a takedown, but Zehner's reversal and subsequent pin at the 3:22 mark gave him the win and the team score was tied at 6.

"I was proud of the guys who responded," Branch said. "When you give up a pin in a match we feel like we're going to win and we're ahead, that can affect how the rest of the team performs. Zach came right out and got it back for us. He wrestled great."

Senior Chase Smith got in on his first dual action of the season at 141 pounds and took on fifth-ranked Mike Mangrum of Oregon State. The action was frenetic to start the bout, and Smith earned a takedown to take the 2-0 lead heading into the second period with 1:44 of advantage time. Smith's aggressiveness earned him 3:27 of riding time in the second period, but Mangrum followed up with an escape and a takedown to take a 3-2 lead into the third period. Mangrum rode out the third period, but the riding-time point made the wrestlers even at 3 heading into extra time. The wrestlers failed to score in the first minute, and it headed to the tiebreaker session. Mangrum rode Smith for all 30 seconds in the first session, and Smith did the same in the following 30-second round. Another minute was added to the clock, and Mangrum earned a takedown 30 seconds into the sudden-death period. Mangrum's 5-3 decision gave the Beavers a 9-6 lead in the dual.

Redshirt freshman Brandon Richardson took on OSU's 19th-ranked Scott Sakaguchi battled in the 149-pound match. Both wrestlers took aggressive shots early, but defense prevailed in the first period and the session ended in a 0-0 tie. Sakaguchi rode Richardson the entire second period and earned two near-fall points to take the 2-0 advantage into the last period. Sakaguchi then scored an escape point and added a takedown for the 6-0 win with riding time. Oregon State led 12-6 after four matches.

It was redshirt freshman Dakota Friesth and No. 18 R.J. Pena of Oregon State mixing it up in the 157-pound match, and Pena struck first with a takedown. Seconds later, Friesth escaped to make it 2-1. Pena went right back on top for a two-point takedown and he earned three near-fall points with 35 seconds to go in the period for the 7-1 lead. Pena then pinned Friesth at the 2:50 mark for OSU's 18-6 lead in the team score.

Wyoming senior Shane Onufer, ranked fourth, took on Joe Latham in the 165-pound bout, and Onufer built an early 2-0 lead with a takedown. Onufer gave up an escape to work for more offense and made the score 2-1 heading into the second period. Onufer then added an escape point and worked for a stall point against Latham. Onufer added a takedown for the 6-1 lead with 30 seconds left in the second period. Another stall point was added to Onufer's score for the 7-1 lead, and with riding time Onufer took home an 8-1 win. Wyoming trailed 18-9 heading into the seventh match of the day.

Pat Martinez, a sophomore, and Cody Weishoff of OSU tangled in the 174-pound match. Martinez had a takedown 48 seconds into the first period, but Weishoff made it 2-1 with an escape. Martinez added two more points with a takedown and made it 4-1 after one round. Martinez's reversal made it 6-1, but Weishoff earned a reversal to make it 6-3 shortly thereafter. At the start of the third period, Weishoff's escape made it 6-4, but Martinez worked for another takedown for the 8-4 lead, which was the final margin. The score went to 18-12 OSU with three matches to go.

UW's top-ranked senior Joe LeBlanc and Ty Vinson dueled in the 184-pound match. LeBlanc and Vinson scrambled for the first minute and a half, and LeBlanc eventually worked for a takedown and the 2-0 lead. LeBlanc earned two near-fall points for the 4-0 lead after one period. After choosing down to start the second, LeBlanc's reversal and subsequent pin at 3:37 evened up the team score at 18.

"Joe came out and got a big pin that we had to have. He knew that when he stepped out there," Branch said.

Wyoming redshirt junior Alfonso Hernandez, ranked eighth, and No. 16 Taylor Meeks took to the mats at 197 pounds in the only match of the day pairing ranked wrestlers. Hernandez got a takedown and two near-fall points to make it 4-0 with 58 seconds left in the first period. Meeks earned an escape point, but Hernandez stayed on the attack and got another takedown to make it 6-1 after the first round. Meeks got an escape point and the score moved to 6-2 just moments into the second period. Hernandez worked for another takedown for the 8-2 advantage. Yet another escape by Meeks made the score 8-3 shortly after. But Hernandez's takedown made it 10-3 just before the second period expired. His escape and subsequent takedown gave him a 13-3 lead, but Meeks made it 13-4 with an escape. But Hernandez got another takedown for the 15-4 lead. After Hernandez allowed an escape it was 15-5, but with riding time it was Hernandez earning the 16-5 major decision. Four team points gave Wyoming a 22-18 lead heading into the final bout.

"Fonz stepped out against a very talented kid and wrestled great," Branch said of Hernandez.

In the heavyweight bout, UW junior L.J. Helbig and fifth-ranked Clayton Jack stepped on the mat, knowing anything more than a major decision would spell doom for Wyoming. The two battled for one round, and Jack got a takedown for the 2-0 lead right before the buzzer sounded. Jack's escape point made it 3-0 shortly into the second period, and Helbig was called for stalling for a 4-0 deficit. Jack earned a takedown for the 6-0 lead, and added more poitns for the 8-0 lead heading into the third. Jack got another takedown for the 10-0 lead. Helbig earned an escape point, but Jack had another takedown for the 12-1 advantage. Riding time gave Jack the 13-1 major decision, which tied the team score at 22.

"L.J. wrestled smart and fought hard, and he didn't do anything (to put us in a bad position)," Branch said.

The team score then went to the criteria including number of falls, number of technical falls, major decisions and number of match points scored. The tiebreaker came down to total match points scored, which was a 34-30 Wyoming advantage. That gave Wyoming an additional team point to win 23-22.

No. 13 Wyoming 23, No. 16 Oregon State 22
125 pounds: Pat Rollins (Oregon State) won by pin (3:37) over Michael Martinez (Wyoming) / OSU 6, Wyoming 0
133: Zach Zehner (Wyoming) won by pin (3:22) over James Roberts (Oregon State) / Wyoming 6, OSU 6
141: Michael Mangrum (Oregon State) won by decision over Chase Smith (Wyoming) 5-3 / OSU 9, Wyoming 6
149: Scott Sakaguchi (Oregon State) won by decision over Brandon Richardson (Wyoming) 6-0 / OSU 12, Wyoming 6
157: Roger Pena (Oregon State) won by pin (2:50) over Dakota Friesth (Wyoming) / OSU 18, Wyoming 6
165: Shane Onufer (Wyoming) won by decision over Joe Latham (Oregon State) 8-1 / OSU 18, Wyoming 9
174: Patrick Martinez (Wyoming) won by decision over Cody Weishoff (Oregon State) 8-4 / OSU 18, Wyoming 12
184: Joe LeBlanc (Wyoming) won by pin (3:37) over Ty Vinson (Oregon State) / Wyoming 18, OSU 18
197: Alfonso Hernandez (Wyoming) won by major decision over Taylor Meeks (Oregon State) 16-5 / Wyoming 22, OSU 18
285: Clayton Jack (Oregon State) won by major decision over LJ Helbig (Wyoming) 13-1 / Wyoming 22, OSU 22
Tie criteria: Wyoming with more match points, 1 team point / Wyoming 23, OSU 22

Criteria for tiebreaker
Total victories: Wyoming 5, Oregon State 5
Total number of falls and technical falls: Wyoming 2, Oregon State 2
Total Match Points: Wyoming 34, Oregon State 30
First Takedown: Wyoming - Michael Martinez (125)