Jan. 15, 2010
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The University of Wyoming wrestling team started their Western Wrestling Conference dual season with a bang on Friday night in Laramie, as they soundly defeated the Northern Colorado Bears by a score of 33-6.
The `Pokes won seven of nine bouts that were wrestled and did not give up an offensive point to their league opponent until the seventh match of the evening. UW had three bonus-point victories to begin the dual and then won by forfeit at 197 pounds, giving themselves a huge cushion they would never relinquish.
With the win, Wyoming improves their dual mark to 5-2 overall, 1-0 in the WWC, while Northern Colorado falls to 1-9 and 0-1.
"We knew that the lower weights would be tougher matches tonight, so that is why we started out at 165 pounds," UW head coach Mark Branch said. "That was a good weight for us to start at and our upper weight classes really gave us some momentum for the remainder of the dual.
"We trained hard this last week and I did not expect us to be at our best physically tonight, but I did expect us to be on top of our game mentally. I saw some good things and now we just need to go back, clean a few things up and fix the little stuff. We need to continue to chain wrestle and put multiple moves together."
There were multiple story-lines for the Cowboys against the Bears, including a technical fall win by No. 9-ranked Shane Onufer to kick-off the dual at 165, a major decision by Brock Smith at 174 pounds, a fall from No. 6-ranked All-American Joe LeBlanc at 184, a gritty decision by Alfonso Hernandez at heavyweight, a three-overtime decision by No. 11 Michael Martinez in the 125-pound weight class, as well as shut-out wins by Cory VomBaur (133) and Cole Dallaserra (149).
Wyoming was off and running after reigning WWC Wrestler of the Week Onufer racked up seven takedowns in his 19-4 technical fall win over Kevin O'Brien at 165 pounds. He now owns an overall record of 17-4, with 11 bonus-point wins.
Brock Smith kept lighting up UW's side of the scoreboard in the 174-pound bout with an aggressive 14-2 major decision over Patrick Prentice. Smith has a 3-1 dual record for the `Pokes and an overall mark of 16-8.
Sophomore sensation LeBlanc did not disappoint the home crowd at the 184-pound level, as he pinned Eric Brennan at 5:33. At the time of the fall, LeBlanc led 12-2 and had over four minutes in riding time. The win was No. 70 of his young, two-year career. He now has an overall record this season of 25-3, 7-0 in duals. It was LeBlanc's eighth pin of the season, the 15th of his career. Of his 25 wins this year, 20 have come by bonus-point margin.
Redshirt freshman L.J. Helbig received a forfeit from UNCo. at 197 pounds, which gave UW a 21-0 team lead.
Wrestling up in weight to fill UW's void at heavyweight, Hernandez then gave a valiant effort to beat the much larger Justin Tuell of Northern Colorado by a score of 3-2. He was the aggressor all match and his approach finally paid off in the third period when Tuell was twice penalized points for locking his hands in an effort to keep Hernandez from escaping.
The lightweight bout was a rematch of last season's West Regional finals match-up between Martinez and the Bears' Tony Mustari. A riding-time point by Mustari sent the match into extra time, but an escape and subsequent takedown by Martinez in the second overtime, followed by Martinez staying on top for the entire third OT, sealed the match 6-3 in UW's favor. It was the UW sophomore's first match back in action since December, after some academic issues kept him out of the last two duals. Martinez now has an overall record of 21-5.
"Win or lose, Michael (Martinez) is going to come out and battle," Branch added. "He was not happy with his match, but he did keep after it and got a good win. It was good to have him back."
At 133 pounds, VomBaur tilted a low-scoring affair in his favor by riding Casey Cruz for the entire second period, then gaining three points in the last period via escape, penalty and riding time. The 3-0 win by the UW senior avenged a loss to Cruz earlier this season at the Cowboy Open.
UW's Chase Smith could not do much with No. 20-ranked Kenny Hashimoto of UNCo. at 141 pounds and lost 9-2. However, Dallaserra followed with a 5-0 blanking of Justin Gonzalez at 149 pounds to get his team an additional three points. Dallaserra is now 15-8 this season, 4-2 in duals.
The last match of the evening saw UW freshman Jimmy Belleville shrug off his redshirt season at 157 pounds and give Justin Gaethje all he could handle in a close 6-4 loss. It was Belleville's first varsity action for the `Pokes, but after competing the previous portion of the season unattached he does have an impressive 23-4 overall record.
Following this home dual, and for the second week in a row, UW will now immediately head out on the road, traveling east on I-80 to face the No. 25-ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers in Lincoln, on Sunday, Jan. 17, at 1 p.m. (MT).
Wyoming (WYO) 33, Northern Colorado (UNCo) 6