Nov. 1, 2012
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The 2012-13 campaign couldn't have begun on a better note for the University of Wyoming wrestling team, as the Cowboys racked up six match wins Thursday night to beat Boise State 26-12 in the season-opening dual for both teams.
No. 19 Wyoming (1-0 overall) won six matches, three by bonus points, to beat the 24th-ranked Broncos (0-1) for just the 10th time in program history. Wyoming head coach Mark Branch secured his 49th dual win in just five seasons, and improved to 3-2 in season openers.
The evening's action got started at 184 pounds, when UW sophomore Shane Woods took on 12th-ranked Jake Swartz of Boise State. Swartz got the first five points of the bout, until Woods earned an escape with just 57 seconds to go in the third period. By that time, Swartz had earned riding time and took away a 6-1 decision and put the Broncos up 3-0 in the team race.
But senior Alfonso Hernandez, ranked fourth, put Wyoming up for good in the very next match, pinning Boise State's Cody Dixon at the 5:51 mark in the 197-pound tilt. UW then led 6-3.
"There were definitely some bright spots," Branch said. "It started off rough at 184. That's one of their best kids and he took it to us. It's a learning experience for Shane and he's going to have to grow up and be ready for guys like that.
"But when Fonz kicked it into gear, we were just flowing there for a while. It was good he got his motor running. When you wrestle that way and you start breaking your opponent, it's a big team builder. It really helped the other guys."
With the crowd fired up from the pin, Wyoming redshirt freshman Tanner Harms used that momentum to rally from an early 6-2 deficit in the heavyweight battle with J.T. Felix to capture a 12-8 decision. It was Harms' first appearance in a dual for UW and his win put UW up 9-3.
Sophomore 125-pounder Tyler Cox got off to a slow start in his match versus Bronco Landon Hartley, but he poured it on in the third period, cruising to a 14-5 major decision for a 13-3 UW lead.
UW junior Jake Eitzen fell to Brenton Beard in the 133-pound bout, but fellow junior Kyle Komata got things back on track at 141 when he defeated Manual Ybarra in a 6-2 decision. After sophomore 149-pounder Brandon Richardson won due to forfeit, sophomore Dakota Friesth took on No. 18 George Ivanov at 157 pounds. Friesth actually got the first takedown and held a 2-1 advantage through two periods, but Ivanov used a reversal to start the third period and a riding time point to win a hard-fought 4-3 decision. Wyoming led 22-9 with just two matches remaining.
Redshirt freshman Jace Jensen got his first dual action at 165 pounds, taking on Boise State's Taylor West, but it was West coming up with the 3-0 decision. In the final match of the night, Cowboy senior L.J. Helbig gave the UW fans something to cheer about. Wrestling at his fourth weight in as many years, Helbig took a 5-4 lead over Bronco Nick Wooden into the third period. Helbig came out firing with seven match points and an addition riding time point to take the 13-4 major decision for the final 26-12 margin.
Sophomore Andy McCulley beat Bronco Chris Castillo in a 157-pound exhibition match to start the evening.
The Cowboys have a short break before returning to action Saturday by hosting the 35th annual Cowboy Open in the War Memorial Fieldhouse. Action begins at 9 a.m.
184 pounds: No. 12 Jake Swartz (BSU) dec. Shane Woods (UW), 6-1 / Boise State 3, Wyoming 0
197: No. 4 Alfonso Hernandez (UW) fall (5:51) Cody Dixon (BSU) / Wyoming 6, Boise State 3
285: Tanner Harms (UW) dec. J.T. Felix (BSU), 12-8 / Wyoming 9, Boise State 3
125: No. 17 Tyler Cox (UW) maj. dec. Landon Hartley (BSU), 14-5 / Wyoming 13, Boise State 3
133: Brenton Beard (BSU) dec. Jake Eitzen (UW), 8-4 / Wyoming 13, Boise State 6
141: Kyle Komata (UW) dec. Manual Ybarra (BSU), 6-2 / Wyoming 16, Boise State 6
149: Brandon Richardson (UW) wins by forfeit / Wyoming 22, Boise State 6
157: No. 18 George Ivanov (BSU) dec. Dakota Friesth (UW), 4-3 / Wyoming 22, Boise State 9
165: Taylor West (BSU) dec. Jace Jensen (UW), 3-0 / Wyoming 22, Boise State 12
174: L.J. Helbig (UW) maj. dec. Nick Wooden (BSU), 13-4 / Wyoming 26, Boise State 12