Nov. 3, 2012
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
Fresh off a dual victory on Thursday, the University of Wyoming wrestling program competed in the first tournament of the year Saturday in the Cowboy Open and the Pokes claimed five titles.
Winners at the Elite level included senior Alfonso Hernandez (197 pounds), sophomore Andy McCulley (157) and sophomore Zach Zehner, who competed unattached at 133 pounds. True freshmen Drew Templeman (125) and Cole Mendenhall (141) won their respective weight classes at the Amateur level. Mendenhall was named Outstanding Wrestler of the Amateur brackets after he went 5-0 with a technical fall and two pins, while Templeman went 5-0 for the day.
Hernandez improved to 5-0 for the season with another dominating performance. He was 4-0 for the day with two pins, one major decision and one technical fall. McCulley, who was second on the team in pins last season with 10, tallied three falls en route to a 4-0 mark and the 157-pound title. Zehner was 3-0 with one pin, and he beat senior teammate Kasey Garnhart in the title match in a 2-1 decision.
Other notable performances included freshman Brent Havlik, who was second in the Amateur 165-pound bracket; sophomore Tyler Cox, second place at Elite 125; sophomore Robert Stroh, second at Elite 149; sophomore Brandon Richardson, third at Elite 149; senior L.J. Helbig, who was second at Elite 174 and competed unattached; and sophomore Shane Woods, fourth at Elite 184 and competed unattached.
Wyoming coach Mark Branch noticed some areas in which the Pokes needed work.
"We had a lot more matches today so you have a bigger body of work to evaluate," he said. "I thought we looked really bad on bottom. I thought we came out really slow, and several guys gave up the first takedown and didn't get going until later so that's frustrating.
"We had some other guys who didn't try to separate themselves and let guys hang around and it cost them some important matches that could've moved them to different places in the tournament. It was sloppy. There were flashes of really nice wrestling, but to be honest, I'm a little frustrated with our performance."
The Pokes host Nebraska for an early season test on Nov. 11. Branch and his wrestlers will use their remaining time to improve.
"There's so many situations we haven't talked about," he said. "We had such a short timeframe so there isn't a lot of time to prepare. It's a learning opportunity and there's a lot we can get out of it."