In a Close One, Cowboy Wrestlers Beat Bears 21-15

Feb. 25, 2009

GREELEY, Colo. -


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Closing out a successful dual season proved to be difficult for the University of Wyoming wrestling team on Wednesday night against Northern Colorado. The Cowboys defeated the Bears by a score of 21-15 in Greeley at Butler-Hancock Sports Pavilion, but not before some tense moments against a motivated Western Wrestling Conference opponent.

Wyoming finishes the dual season with a 15-3 overall record, 5-0 in the WWC. Northern Colorado ends the year 5-11-1 overall, 3-3 in league duals.

By remaining undefeated in the WWC, the Cowboys claim a share of the WWC regular season dual championship along with Northern Iowa. UW had five league victories, while UNI had only four wins within the conference and did not wrestle Wyoming and Utah Valley.

Against the Bears, the `Pokes won six of ten matches wrestled and had key wins by redshirt freshmen Michael Martinez at 125 pounds and No. 18-ranked Shane Onufer at 174 pounds.

"Tonight was a dangerous situation for us and we knew coming in that Northern Colorado had a good team," Wyoming head coach Mark Branch said. "There was good and bad tonight. We trained hard this past week and I expected our guys to be tired. I've worn them out. However, we are well conditioned and that was not the reason we lost the matches that we did. The theme tonight was that we were sloppy.

"We've been talking about eliminating the type of sloppiness that we portrayed in several matches and tonight it cost us. It cost us matches and it cost us bonus points in matches we won."

UW won three matches to start the evening and gave themselves a 9-0 team lead. UNCo then won three straight to take a brief 12-9 advantage, before the Cowboys got victories in three of the last four bouts.

Heavyweight was the first weight class wrestled and in that slot UW got a 6-1 victory from freshman Jacob Scharbrough. Scharbrough wore down his much larger opponent late in the match and used a second period nearfall, as well as a third period takedown to secure the win.

Martinez then had the match of the night, beating Tony Mustari 8-2. UW's light-weight kept the pressure on Mustari all match, breaking through with a takedown late in the second period and then dominating the third period with two more takedowns, plus riding time. Mustari had beaten Martinez earlier this season in the championship match at the Cowboy Open, was an NCAA wild-card qualifier in 2008 and has spent parts of this season in InterMat's Top-20 rankings.

"Michael's (Martinez) match was a hump he needed to get over," Branch continued. "It was a great win for him for NCAA qualification purposes. He stayed in great position, did not get sloppy and put together a solid match against a guy that has given him problems in the past."

At 133 pounds, Wyoming's Cory VomBaur was the beneficiary of two technical violation points against Brett Bahe and escaped a close match with an 8-7 sudden victory win in the first overtime period.

The Cowboys then dropped three straight match-ups, as Cole Dallaserra was reversed and pinned by Kenny Hashimoto at 141 pounds despite leading in the match, Chase Smith lost an 8-3 decision at 149, and Eric Coxbill was narrowly beaten by a score of 5-4 at 157 pounds.

Redshirt freshman Dallas Hintz stopped the bleeding with a 9-5 decision in favor of UW in the 165-pound weight class.

Onufer then had his way with Brandon Kammerzell at 174 pounds, getting the fall at 6:23, his 13th pin of the season. He had three takedowns, a nearfall and a reversal in the match. Onufer led 12-2 at the time of the pin, with 4:35 racked up in riding time. He now has a season record of 39-9, which ties Onufer for sixth all-time at UW with Mike Hamel (1984-85) in Single Season Victories.

No. 8-ranked Joe LeBlanc got Wyoming's final win of the night, a 13-8 decision over Ryan Johnson. He had six takedowns during the match, but never secured back points towards a nearfall and had to settle for only three points towards the team total. The win was LeBlanc's 38th of the season, tying him for eighth in Single Season Victories at UW.

Freshman Alfonso Hernandez fell just short of a big come-back at 197 pounds and lost 9-8. He trailed 5-0 to begin the match in the first period.

Next, UW will compete in the West Regional and Western Wrestling Conference Tournament on Saturday, March 7. That event will also be in Greeley at Butler-Hancock and will be hosted by UNCo. Brackets and the event schedule will be released next week.

"We will now go through one more three-day training cycle and then start pulling back for the conference tournament. We want to peak at the right time," Branch concluded.

Wyoming (WYO) 21, Northern Colorado (UNCo) 15

Hwt. (285) - Jacob Scharbrough (WYO) by decision over Justin Tuell (UNCo), 6-1, 3-0 WYO
125 pounds - Michael Martinez (WYO) by decision over Tony Mustari (UNCo), 8-2, 6-0 WYO
133 pounds - Cory VomBaur (WYO) by SV decision over Brett Bahe (UNCo), 8-7 (OT), 9-0 WYO
141 pounds - Kenny Hashimoto (UNCo) by fall over Cole Dallaserra (WYO), 1:56, 9-6 WYO
149 pounds - Mitchell Polkowske (UNCo) by decision over Chase Smith (WYO), 8-3, 9-9 Tie
157 pounds - Justin Gaethje (UNCo) by decision over Eric Coxbill (WYO), 5-4, 12-9 UNCo
165 pounds - Dallas Hintz (WYO) by decision over Daniel Prater (UNCo), 9-5, 12-12 Tie
174 pounds - No. 18 Shane Onufer (WYO) by fall over Brandon Kammerzell (UNCo), 6:23, 18-12 WYO
184 pounds - No. 8 Joe LeBlanc (WYO) by decision over Ryan Johnson (UNCo), 13-8, 21-12 WYO
197 pounds - Eric Brennan (UNCo) by decision over Alfonso Hernandez (WYO), 9-8, 21-15 WYO