Feb. 13, 2009
OREM, Utah -
Heading into the wrestling dual with Utah Valley on Friday night, the University of Wyoming Cowboys knew that if some close matches did not go their way then the team score could be very tight. In front of a near capacity crowd of 1,879 at the Shurian Family Activity Center in Orem, the Cowboys did lose some narrow decisions, but also recorded big wins at 141 pounds and at heavyweight to seal a 21-15 victory over the Wolverines.
UW won six of ten match-ups and despite the close final score, they never trailed in the match.
It was Wyoming's eighth straight dual win and their season record is now 12-2 overall, 3-0 in the Western Wrestling Conference. The loss by Utah Valley snapped a ten-match win streak and their record is now 10-3 overall, 3-1 in the WWC.
The `Pokes got wins from junior Cory VomBaur at 133 pounds, sophomore Cole Dallaserra (141), senior Eric Coxbill at 157, redshirt freshmen Shane Onufer (174) and Joe LeBlanc (184), as well as freshman Jacob Scharbrough at heavyweight.
"This was a dangerous dual for us and we knew coming in that they were motivated and would be fired up," said Wyoming head coach Mark Branch. "We wrestled hard, but until Jacob's pin late in the dual we just never could seize the momentum and put them away.
"Cole's was a good win for us. They (UVU) needed to win that one, but Cole wrestled well. Eric, Shane and Joe all wrestled hard and had chances to get bonus points for the team, but for one reason or another that did not happen in each match. That's the way the night went for us, they (UVU) got momentum even when they lost because they did not give up bonus points and kept the dual close.
"As coaches we were worried this week that the guys not overlook Utah Valley in anticipation of Sunday. The team was also focusing on some negatives this week, such as being sick and sore, and we were dragging a bit coming in tonight. Those things were addressed prior to the dual, but I think we can take a huge lesson from tonight. This was a good wake-up call. In this sport it starts and ends in the mind. Our guys need to recognize the power of the mind and realize that nothing will be perfect. There will be bumps in the road and things will go against you. You have to mentally prepare for those things heading into every match."
VomBaur and Dallaserra gave the Cowboys an early 6-0 lead by winning a pair of decisions to open the dual. VomBaur used a third period takedown to win 3-2, while Dallaserra put a close match out of hand with a takedown and nearfall in the final period.
UVU won the next match, but Coxbill would then extend UW's lead to 9-3 with a workman-like 10-6 decision, featuring four takedowns by the Cowboy captain.
A Wolverine pin briefly evened the team score at 9-9, until wins by No. 19-ranked Onufer (10-4) and No. 7-ranked LeBlanc (11-6) gave Wyoming a 15-9 cushion. Onufer dominated and earned his 36th win of the year, while LeBlanc let a big early lead get slim in the third period before pulling away and getting his 35th victory.
After another close loss for Wyoming and their lead down to 15-12, Scharbrough's sixth pin of the season at heavyweight would put the dual out of reach. The UW big man stuck his undersized UVU opponent in 1:39.
Despite the team win, Wyoming's four losses left a bitter taste. Redshirt freshman Chase Smith lost a low-scoring affair at 149 pounds, 3-1, as did freshman Alfonso Hernandez at 197 pounds, by a score of 4-2. Junior Alex Rieder got caught and pinned in the first period of his 165-pound match and redshirt freshman Michael Martinez had his 11-match winning streak snapped at 125 pounds with a 5-3 loss to No. 19 Ben Kjar in the evening's final bout.
UW will fly immediately to Stillwater, Okla., for two duals on Sun., Feb. 15. Wyoming will wrestle No. 15-ranked Oklahoma State at 3 p.m. and Binghamton (N.Y.) at 5 p.m.
Wyoming (WYO) 21, Utah Valley (UVU) 15
133 pounds - Cory VomBaur (WYO) by decision over Flint Ray (UVU), 3-2, 3-0 WYO
141 pounds - Cole Dallaserra (WYO) by decision over Jeff Newby (UVU), 7-1, 6-0 WYO
149 pounds - Justin Morrill (UVU) by decision over Chase Smith (WYO), 3-1, 6-3 WYO
157 pounds - Eric Coxbill (WYO) by decision over Jamison Moss (UVU), 10-6, 9-3 WYO
165 pounds - Jeb Clark (UVU) by fall over Alex Rieder (WYO), 2:28, 9-9 Tie
174 pounds - No. 19 Shane Onufer (WYO) by decision over Brad Darrington (UVU), 10-4, 12-9 WYO
184 pounds - No. 7 Joe LeBlanc (WYO) by decision over Casen Eldredge (UVU), 11-6, 15-9 WYO
197 pounds - Adam Fager (UVU) by decision over Alfonso Hernandez (WYO), 4-2, 15-12 WYO
Heavyweight - Jacob Scharbrough (WYO) by fall over Diego Avalon (UVU), 1:39, 21-12 WYO
125 pounds - No. 19 Ben Kjar (UVU) by decision over Michael Martinez (WYO), 5-3, 21-15 WYO