Feb. 16, 2012
BROOKINGS, S.D. -
Ten straight match wins earned the University of Wyoming wrestling team its fifth conference win of the season Thursday night as the Cowboys overpowered South Dakota State, 45-0.
Wyoming (9-3 overall, 5-0 Western Wrestling Conference) had seven bonus-point wins en route to its first shutout victory of the season. Wyoming's last shutout victory was Jan. 28, 2011, as the Pokes beat South Dakota State in Laramie, 49-0.
"I felt we saw some signs of our crazy week and the fact we crammed a couple of tough workouts in between National Duals (on Feb. 12) and these duals, and for the most part, we pushed through that," said Wyoming head coach Mark Branch, who won his 21st WWC dual in four years at the helm. "That was good to see. We weren't fresh by any means and we wrestled pretty well."
Eighteenth-ranked senior Michael Martinez claimed a solid win on SDSU's Aaron Pickrel in the first bout of the night at 125 pounds. Neither wrestler could score in the first period, but Martinez recorded an escape for the early 1-0 lead, and he managed a takedown shortly thereafter for the 3-0 advantage. Pickrel, who was 29th in the latest NCAA Coaches' Poll, earned an escape to cut the margin to 3-1. Pickrel worked for an escape after that, but Martinez scored a takedown just before the third period expired to go up 5-2. Wyoming took a 3-0 lead after one match.
UW's No. 16 Zach Zehner, a redshirt freshman, took on Jackrabbit Nick Chavez in the 133-pound match, and Zehner earned his eighth pin of the season at the 4:21 mark. The Cowboys went up 9-0 after that bout.
Cowboy senior Chase Smith faced SDSU's Dustin Walraven at 141 pounds, and it was Smith with the early offense, notching a takedown for the 2-0 lead. Smith kept pouring it on and ended up with the 9-2 decision. Redshirt junior McCade Ford then showed his skill to claim his first pin of the season, sticking SDSU's Tyler Johnson in only 39 seconds for the 18-0 UW lead after four matches.
UW redshirt freshman Andy McCulley earned his victory the hard way, taking Jackrabbit Nick Flynn to overtime to earn his 7-2 decision in the 157-pound contest. Wyoming's third-ranked senior Shane Onufer claimed his fifth major decision of the year, beating Dillon Reid 10-2 at 165.
It was Poke sophomore Pat Martinez's turn after that, and he grabbed an 11-3 major decision over Joe Rasmussen for the 29-0 Cowboy lead. First-ranked senior Joe LeBlanc (184) subsequently earned six more team points for Wyoming, notching his 10th pin of the season over Tony Lisek of South Dakota State in 3:50.
Alfonso Hernandez kept the momentum rolling, as the ninth-ranked Wyoming junior defeated SDSU's Nick Mart in a 17-3 major decision at 197 pounds. It was Hernandez's 11th major decision on the season.
The nightcap went UW's way, as junior L.J. Helbig pinned Joe Skow at 6:09 in the heavyweight bout, and UW came away with the 45-0 win.
"There were a couple of close matches that make you nervous, but the fact we got our hand raised made for some pretty good results," Branch said. "(In some matches), we had a couple of guys who wrestled well but had a couple moments where they relaxed. I look at it as a good learning lesson, because when you have an opportunity to put your opponent away, you need to do that."
Up next, the Cowboys travel to Fargo, N.D., for a Friday matchup with North Dakota State. That dual is set to begin at 6 p.m. MT.
125 pounds: No. 18 Michael Martinez (UW) dec. Aaron Pickrel (SDSU), 5-2 / Wyoming 3, SDSU 0
133: No. 16 Zach Zehner (UW) fall (4:21) Nick Chavez (SDSU) / Wyoming 9, SDSU 0
141: Chase Smith (UW) dec. Dustin Walraven (SDSU), 9-2 / Wyoming 12, SDSU 0
149: McCade Ford (UW) fall (0:39) Tyler Johnson (SDSU) / Wyoming 18, SDSU 0
157: Andy McCulley (UW) dec. Nick Flynn (SDSU), 7-2 OT / Wyoming 21, SDSU 0
165: No. 3 Shane Onufer (UW) maj. dec. Dillon Reid (SDSU), 10-2 / Wyoming 25, SDSU 0
174: Pat Martinez (UW) maj. dec. Joe Rasmussen (SDSU), 11-3 / Wyoming 29, SDSU 0
184: No. 1 Joe LeBlanc (UW) fall (3:50) Tony Lisek (SDSU) / Wyoming 35, SDSU 0
197: No. 9 Alfonso Hernandez (UW) maj. dec. Nick Mart (SDSU), 17-3 / Wyoming 39, SDSU 0
285: L.J. Helbig (UW) fall (6:09) Joe Skow (SDSU) / Wyoming 45, SDSU 0