Seniors Lead Cowboys on Opening Day of NCAA Championship

March 19, 2015

ST. LOUIS, Mo. -

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The University of Wyoming senior competitors at the NCAA Championship all stayed in contention after the first day of action at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Mo. In all four of the six Wyoming grapplers will wrestle tomorrow morning.

Seniors Tyler Cox (125 pounds), Dakota Friesth (165 pounds), Andy McCulley (174 pounds) and Shane Woods (197 pounds) will be the Pokes competing in wrestlebacks after each went 1-1 on the day. After a tough day of facing some of the nation's top competitors the Pokes sit in 34th place with four points.

"It was an extremely tough day and we knew we had some tough draws that would become a challenging day for us," UW head coach Mark Branch said. The positive thing is we still have four guys wrestling tomorrow. Friday is the day where you got to win three and they will be dogfights so we need to bring it tomorrow."

McCulley advanced to the championship second round after a victory over John Staudmayer of North Carolina in the morning. He fell to No. 3 Mike Evans in the second round by decision, 3-0. The match was tied at zero after a period, but an escape and take down by Evans in the second period gave him the win. McCulley moves to the consolation bracket to face No. 4 John Eblen of Mizzou.

Woods also advanced to the championship second round after a take down in sudden victory over Jared Haught of Virginia Tech in the championship first round. Woods faced No. 4 Kyle Snyder of Ohio State in the second round falling by major decision, 14-5. He will move to the consolation bracket tomorrow to face No. 14 Phil Wellington of Ohio.

"Shane and Andy were big underdogs tonight and the thing is you have to shake that off and wrestle another match," Branch said.

Cox faced a hard draw in the opening round facing off against two-time defending champion Jesse Delgado falling by decision in a tight match. He came out firing in the consolation first round downing No. 9 Dylan Peters of Northern Iowa by decision 8-5. He scored six points early with a take down and two two-point near falls. He will wrestle in the second round of the consolation bracket tomorrow against No. 10 Ronnie Rios of Oregon State.

"Tyler came out and wrestled well and he has a really tough draw," Branch said. "In his second match he came out and wrestled very aggressive. He wrestled well in his first match and was right there against the two-time defending champion."

Friesth dropped a heartbreaker in the championship first round against No. 6 Taylor Walsh of Indiana falling by decision 6-5. He battled back to defeat No. 11 Tristian Warner of Old Dominion by decision, 3-2. He earned an escape in the third period to earn the win and stay alive in his second-straight trip to the championships. He will wrestle No. 12 Dylan Palacio of Cornell in the second round of the consolation bracket.

"Dakota wrestled really smart and got into different positions and fought hard, he never really quit the fight tonight and that why he had success," Branch said. "It is all about the fight at the NCAA Championship and whoever has the most fight will not go home early."

Sophomore Benjamin Stroh opened his day with the championship preliminaries defeating Jack McKeever of Binghampton by decision 4-0. He followed that with a 10-2 major decision defeat against No. 9 Sam Brooks of Iowa. He ended the championship with a 10-2 major decision loss to Lock Haven's Fred Garcia. Stroh finished his season with a 23-11 record.

Junior Tanner Harms drew the toughest draw in the championship first round falling to No. 2 Michael McMullan of Northwestern by decision, 12-5. He fell to Old Dominion's Jacob Henderson by decision, 3-0 in the evening session. He finished the season with an 18-12 record.

Action picks up for Session III at 10 a.m. CT Friday with consolations and championship quarterfinals.

Morning Session

Stroh got the Cowboys off to a great start defeating McKeever by decision, 4-0 in a preliminary match. An Early takedown and almost the entire first period of riding time gave Stroh the victory. He faced Brooks in the championship first round falling via major decision, 10-2.

Cox, the eighth seeded wrestler at 125 pounds opened with a tough draw facing two-time defending champion Jesse Delgado of Illinois. Delgado earned a takedown in the first period to earn the upper hand in the match. Cox battled back with an escape in the third period and a stalling point, but it wasn't enough, as he fell to Delgado 3-2.

Friesth fell to Walsh in the championship first round. Friesth faced an early deficit, but battled earning a two point takedown that could have led to more, but time expired and he fell 6-5.

McCulley came out strong in his opening match jumping out to a 5-0 lead over Staudmayer. The North Carolina 174 pounder battled back, but McCulley earned a takedown in the third to seal the match via decision, 9-4.

Woods grinded out a 4-2 sudden victory win over Haught in the championship first round. After a scoreless first period, Haught took a 2-0 lead on a take down, but a pair of escapes by Woods tied the match in regulation. In sudden victory a takedown by Woods gave him a 4-2 win and his 99th career victory.

Harms, who appeared in his first match of his career at the NCAA Championship fell to the second seeded McMullan by major decision, 12-5.

Wyoming results

125 pounds: No. 8 seed Tyler Cox - (1-1)

Championship first round: Jesse Delgado (Illinois) dec. Cox, 3-2

Consolation first round: Cox dec. No. 9 Dylan Peters (Northern Iowa), 8-5

165: Dakota Friesth - (1-1)

Championship first round: No. 6 Taylor Walsh (Indiana) dec. Dakota Friesth, 6-5

Consolation first round: Friesth dec. No. 11 Tristan Warner (Old Dominion), 3-2

174: No. 14 seed Andy McCulley - (1-1)

Championship first round: McCulley dec. Jordan Staudenmayer (North Carolina), 9-4

Championship second round: No. 3 Mike Evans dec. McCulley, 3-0

184: Benjamin Stroh - (1-2)

Championship Preliminaries: Stroh Dec. Jack McKeever (Binghampton), 4-0

Championship first round: No. 9 Sam Brooks (Iowa) major dec. Stroh, 10-2

Consolation first round: Fred Garcia (Lock Haven) major dec. Stroh, 10-2

197: No. 13 seed Shane Woods - (1-1)

Championship first round: Woods dec. Jared Haught (Virginia Tech), 4-2 SV-1

Championship second round: No. 4 Kyle Snyder (Ohio State) major dec. Woods, 14-5

285: Tanner Harms - (0-2)

Championship first round: No. 2 Michael McMullan (Northwestern) dec. Harms, 12-5

Consolation first round: Jacob Henderson (Old Dominion) dec. Harms, 3-0