Feb. 5, 2010
BROOKINGS, S.D. -
The University of Wyoming wrestling team won big and won often on Friday night in Brookings, beating their Western Wrestling Conference opponent, the South Dakota State Jackrabbits, by a score of 34-9.
The Cowboys earned pins at three weight classes, a major decision at another, were the recipient of a forfeit and tacked on two additional solid decisions to run away with the team scoring.
Sophomores Joe LeBlanc at 184 pounds and Shane Onufer at 165, in addition to senior Cory VomBaur at the 133-pound weight class, all ended their matches by sticking their opponents. Freshman Jimmy Belleville tallied the other bonus point win for UW, a major decision at 157 pounds.
After the dual win, Wyoming has an overall record of 9-3 and is 4-0 in the league. SDSU is 1-9-1 overall and 0-3 in the WWC. UW now leads the all-time series with SDSU, 11-0.
"This was a good win for us," UW head coach Mark Branch said. "Every conference match is important and every match helps prepare us for the postseason."
The dual began at 149 pounds where UW was forced to insert 133-pounder Kasey Garnhart, due to an arm injury to starter Cole Dallaserra. Despite giving up almost 20 pounds, the Cowboy redshirt freshman gave Nick Hagar all he could handle before dropping a 3-1 decision.
Belleville quickly righted Wyoming's ship in the next bout by cruising to a 12-2 major decision over Nick Flynn. He has been a spark to the lineup since earning a spot last month with a 4-2 dual record, all of his wins coming by bonus-point margin (eight points or more) and scoring 24 team points. Belleville now has a season record of 27-5.
No. 9-ranked Onufer dominated in his match against Seth Moe, leading 15-4 before a pin at the 4:16 mark. He now is 21-5 overall, with seven pins this season and a team-best 21 for his career.
Wyoming's All-American, LeBlanc, also ranked No. 9, mirrored Onufer's performance by leading 14-4 over David Michaud at the time of his pin and getting the fall at 4:15, just one second earlier than his teammate. LeBlanc's overall record is now 29-4 with an incredible 23 bonus point margins. It was his ninth pin of the season, the 16th of his career, and he now has a record of 11-1 in duals this year, contributing a gaudy 52 team points.
Sandwiched between Onufer and LeBlanc's pins was a win by forfeit for UW's Brock Smith at 174 pounds.
A stalling point provided the difference at 197 pounds, where Wyoming's Alfonso Hernandez lost to SDSU senior Tyler Sorenson, 3-2. Hernandez had a two-point reversal and Sorenson had two escape points, before the costly penalty in the third period decided the match outcome. Sorenson is currently listed No. 28 in the all-important NCAA Coaches Panel rankings.
The `Pokes got a big-time performance by redshirt freshman L.J. Helbig at heavyweight, where he out-muscled the bigger Kevin Kelly for a 4-1 decision. A takedown by Helbig in the third period was the turning point of the match. Although he weighs in at 197 pounds, Helbig is now 3-2 at heavyweight for Wyoming, 2-0 in the WWC.
No. 12 ranked Michael Martinez faced a scrappy opponent, Aaron Pickrel, in the league's toughest weight class, 125 pounds, but came away with a hard-earned 10-4 decision. In familiar fashion, Martinez outlasted his opponent and is now 24-7 this season.
One of the biggest wins of the evening for the Cowboys came in the next match, where VomBaur worked his way to only the second pin of his four-year career. Leading 16-6 over Tyler Johnson in the third period, VomBaur kept the pressure on his opponent near the edge of the mat and was rewarded with a victory by fall at 6:19.
UW's only lopsided loss of the night came at 141 pounds where Chase Smith trailed the entire seven minutes and lost to Dustin Walraven, 8-1.
"When you are on the road you have to take the match out of the official's hands and we did not do that at 197 pounds," Branch continued. "I hated to see it end that way in such an important match. We are not performing at 141 pounds and that has to be addressed, but overall I liked our performance.
"NDSU will be tougher, so we need to bring an even better effort on Sunday."
The `Pokes will now make the three-hour drive north on I-29 for another WWC dual on Sunday, this time against the North Dakota State Bison at 12 p.m. MT.
Wyoming (WYO) 34, South Dakota State (SDSU) 9