Feb. 8, 2012
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The University of Wyoming's five senior wrestlers were treated to a memorable final home dual Wednesday as the Cowboys blew past Northern Colorado, 37-3.
"It's a good way to send those guys out," Wyoming coach Mark Branch said. "They'll be remembered for a long time around here."
In a ceremony preceding the dual, seniors Dallas Hintz, Joe LeBlanc, Michael Martinez, Shane Onufer and Chase Smith were honored for their years of dedication to UW wrestling. After that, the Cowboys (7-2 overall, 4-0 Western Wrestling Conference) won the first eight matches and nine out of 10 versus the Bears (3-6 overall, 0-2 WWC). Branch now is 4-0 on Senior Night in his Wyoming career, and his Cowboy teams have outscored opponents 134-31 in those duals.
Third-ranked Onufer took on 10th-ranked Gabe Burak of UNC in the 165-pound match to begin the night, and Onufer won his sixth match versus a ranked opponent in a 5-2 decision.
The other seniors fared just as well, as LeBlanc beat UNC's Patrick Gomez with a 22-3 technical fall at 184 pounds. LeBlanc now has seven tech falls, a team-high.
Michael Martinez made his last home match a solid one as he beat Jesse Meis in a 9-2 decision at 125 pounds, and Smith defeated Casey Cruz at 141 pounds in a tough 2-0 decision.
The Pokes took major decisions from sophomore Pat Martinez (174 pounds) and junior Alfonso Hernandez (197). Hernandez reached the 30-win mark for the season, a team-high mark. Only Onufer reached 30 or more wins last season when he had 34 for the year.
UW received 12 points, thanks to explosive pins from redshirt freshmen Zach Zehner (133) and Andy McCulley (157). McCulley's pin was the final home match of the year and he stuck UNC's Charlie McMartin in just 29 seconds to bring the 812 fans packed into the UniWyo Sports Complex to their feet.
"That's a nice way to send the fans out of here with an exciting pin," Branch said.
The Cowboys now will hit the road for the NWCA National Duals, which are Sunday in Stillwater, Okla. UW will face Chattanooga in the first round.
165 pounds: Shane Onufer (UW) dec. Gabe Burak (UNC), 5-2 / Wyoming 3, Northern Colorado 0
174: Pat Martinez (UW) maj. dec. Josh Van Tine (UNC), 14-3 / Wyoming 7, Northern Colorado 0
184: Joe LeBlanc (UW) tech. fall (5:22) Patrick Gomez (UNC), 22-3 / Wyoming 12, Northern Colorado 0
197: Alfonso Hernandez (UW) maj. dec. Nick Bayer (UNC), 10-2 / Wyoming 16, Northern Colorado 0
285: L.J. Helbig (UW) dec. Henry Chirino (UNC), 5-0 / Wyoming 19, Northern Colorado 0
125: Michael Martinez (UW) dec. Jesse Meis (UNC), 9-2 / Wyoming 22, Northern Colorado 0
133: Zach Zehner (UW) fall (4:03) Sam Bauer (UNC) / Wyoming 28, Northern Colorado 0
141: Chase Smith (UW) dec. Casey Cruz (UNC), 2-0 / Wyoming 31, Northern Colorado 0
149: Justin Gonzales (UNC) dec. McCade Ford (UW), 5-3 SV1 / Wyoming 31, Northern Colorado 3
157: Andy McCulley (UW) fall (0:29) Charlie McMartin (UNC) / Wyoming 37, Northern Colorado 3