LARAMIE, Wyo. -
Victories from two seniors and two sophomores highlighted the season opener for the University of Wyoming wrestling team, but the ultimate result was a 22-13 defeat at the hands of the No. 7 Nebraska Cornhuskers on Friday in Laramie.
In front of 1,447 fans in the Indoor Practice Facility, No. 21 Wyoming (0-1 overall) tied things up at 3-all after the 125-pound match. But Nebraska (1-0 overall) won the next two bouts, and five of the next eight, to drop the Pokes.
"I was disappointed with some of our demeanor in matches," Wyoming head coach Mark Branch said. "I was disappointed with how we wrestled on bottom. That's not a technique thing. To kind of just lay there on bottom ... It's gut-check time for our guys to understand that's not how we wrestle here."
In the first of two battles between ranked wrestlers, senior Tyler Cox (No. 8 at 125 pounds) tallied a gritty 7-4 decision over Nebraska's Tim Lambert, ranked 11th. Cox fell behind 1-0, but managed a 7-3 run over the last two periods to come away victorious. He won his 13th career bout versus ranked competition.
At 149 pounds, sophomore Jake Elliott came away with a 5-3 victory over NU's Justin Arthur, who qualified for the NCAA Championships last season. Elliott used a second-period takedown and an escape and takedown in the third stanza for his first career dual win.
"Elliott, in his opportunities last year, looked overwhelmed in that starting role," Branch said. "I didn't know what I was going to see when he came out (Friday) but he came out and wrestled smart. He didn't wrestle his best match but he showed poise and toughness and heart. I'm proud of Jake."
One of the more impressive performances of the day was 184-pound sophomore Benjamin Stroh, who used a 13-4 run to take down 12th-ranked T.J. Dudley of Nebraska in a 15-6 major decision. Stroh lost to Dudley twice last season. It was Stroh's sixth win over a ranked opponent in his career.
Senior Shane Woods used a physical style to defeat Husker Micah Barnes in a 3-2 decision at 197 in the evening finale. A first-period takedown and a third-period escape proved to be all Woods needed to begin his season 1-0.
Wyoming will hit the mats Saturday for the 37th annual Cowboy Open, hosted in War Memorial Fieldhouse. Matches begin at 9 a.m.
285 pounds: #16/18/16 Collin Jensen (NU) dec. Leland Pfeifer, 6-1 / Nebraska 3, Wyoming 0
125: #8/9/10 Tyler Cox dec. #14/18/11 Tim Lambert (NU), 7-4 / Wyoming 3, Nebraska 3
133: Eric Montoya (NU) dec. Drew Templeman, 9-3 / Nebraska 6, Wyoming 3
141: #17/NR/19 Anthony Abidin (NU) maj. dec. Cole Mendenhall, 14-2 / Nebraska 10, Wyoming 3
149: Jake Elliott dec. Justin Arthur (NU), 5-3 / Nebraska 10, Wyoming 6
157: #2/2/2 James Green (NU) fall (5:17) Archie Colgan / Nebraska 16, Wyoming 6
165: #14/15/13 Austin Wilson (NU) dec. #15/16/19 Dakota Friesth, 5-2 / Nebraska 19, Wyoming 6
174: #2/2/2 Robert Kokesh (NU) dec. Andy McCulley, 5-2 / Nebraska 22, Wyoming 6
184: #16/19/19 Benjamin Stroh maj. dec. #13/18/12 T.J. Dudley (NU), 15-6 / Nebraska 22, Wyoming 10
197: #16/13/14 Shane Woods dec. Micah Barnes (NU), 3-2 / Nebraska 22, Wyoming 13