Feb. 20, 2011
CEDAR FALLS, Iowa - The Wyoming Cowboy wrestling program suffered its first conference setback of the season Sunday, falling to Northern Iowa on the road, 19-13.
Wyoming, now 11-7 overall and 5-1 in Western Wrestling Conference action, was seeking its third-straight regular-season title. The Panthers and Cowboys, both unbeaten in conference prior to Sunday, battled for the regular season WWC title, a crown the teams shared during the 2009 season. In the previous four seasons of WWC action, either UNI, Wyoming or both have won the regular-season title.
It was Wyoming coach Mark Branch's first conference dual loss in his three-year tenure. The Cowboys' last loss in WWC action was in 2008.
"We wrestled as individuals and not as a team," Branch said. "If we don't change our attitudes, then we will be sadly disappointed in the final results."
No. 15 Michael Martinez fell to Caleb Flores in the 125-pound match in a 5-3 decision. After that, UNI took a 3-0 team lead. But Tyler Cox tied things up with a 5-4 decision in the 133-pound match, beating Northern Iowa's Ryan Jauch.
Chase Smith lost at 141 pounds, dropping a 5-3 decision to Joey Lazor. No. 17 Cole Dallaserra then dropped a 6-3 decision to Brett Robbins, and Jimmy Belleville lost a tough 8-7 decision to No. 19 David Bonin at 157 pounds. After those matches, Northern Iowa took a 12-3 lead in the dual.
The Pokes came storming back though, as No. 11 Shane Onufer picked up a 10-2 major decision at 165 pounds over Trevor Kittleson, and Patrick Martinez won a 10-6 decision over Brice Wolf at 174 pounds to make it 12-10 UNI.
"Pat Martinez wrestled with a lot of heart and got tough, but we didn't show enough toughness across the board," Branch said.
No. 5 Joe LeBlanc then defeated No. 7 Ryan Loder at 184 pounds with an escape with 17 seconds remaining in the match for a 6-5 decision. LeBlanc's win gave Wyoming a 13-12 lead with two matches to go.
L.J. Helbig dropped a 10-2 major decision to Andy O'Loughlin in the 197-pound match to give UNI a 16-13 lead heading into the final match of the day, the heavyweight battle.
Matthew McLaughlin battled 13th-ranked Christian Brantley to a 1-1 tie, but Brantley scored a point for riding time to take a 2-1 decision.
The Pokes now will have a few weeks to train before the NCAA West Regional/WWC Championships, at which all WWC institutions compete to earn bids for nationals. The West Regional/WWC Championships will be March 6 in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Wyoming vs. Northern Iowa match-by-match results
(Wyoming wrestlers listed first)
125 pounds: No. 15 Michael Martinez lost to Caleb Flores in a 5-3 decision.
133: Tyler Cox defeated Ryan Jauch in a 5-4 decision.
141: Chase Smith lost to Joey Lazor in a 5-3 decision.
149: No. 17 Cole Dallaserra lost to Brett Robbins in a 6-3 decision.
157: Jimmy Belleville lost to No. 19 David Bonin in an 8-7 decision.
165: No. 11 Shane Onufer defeated Trevor Kittleson in a 10-2 major decision.
174: Patrick Martinez defeated Brice Wolf in a 10-6 decision.
184: No. 5 Joe LeBlanc defeated No. 7 Ryan Loder in a 6-5 decision.
197: L.J. Helbig lost to Andy O'Loughlin in a 10-2 major decision.
285: Matthew McLaughlin lost to No. 13 Christian Brantley in a 2-1 decision.