Nov. 11, 2012
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
Despite a spirited comeback effort in which Wyoming stormed back from 16 points down, the Cowboy wresters suffered their first dual defeat of the season Sunday to No. 9 Nebraska, 22-15.
UW (1-1 overall) fell in a 16-0 hole to begin the dual, but three decisions and one pin brought the 19th-ranked Pokes to within one point, only to see the Huskers (2-0) earn narrow wins in the last two matches.
"From a team standpoint, I was very disappointed. The score reflected that. We had some kids who wrestled well enough to put us into position to be competitive and have an opportunity to win. Which, with the way it started out, surprised me," Wyoming coach Mark Branch said.
"We buried ourselves into a hole with some very uninspiring performances. You feel for the kids following those because it's not very uplifting. It was very frustrating, but I saw guys claw back and give us an opportunity."
Action began at 157 pounds with UW sophomore Dakota Friesth and fifth-ranked James Green of Nebraska. Green was on the attack early and earned the 14-1 major decision. Nebraska followed that same script over the next three matches, earning major decisions to build a 16-0 lead.
But Wyoming leaned on its senior leader, Alfonso Hernandez, and the 197-pound All-America honoree didn't disappoint. He grinded out a 3-0 decision, beating Nebraska's Caleb Kolb to put the Pokes on the scoreboard. Hernandez now is 6-0 for the season.
Cowboy redshirt freshman Tanner Harms then improved his dual record to 2-0 with a gritty 11-5 decision over Donny Longendyke at heavyweight and Wyoming cut the lead to 16-6.
"That was a big win for Tanner. He sucked it up and wrestled hard," Branch said of Harms' efforts.
Sophomore Tyler Cox provided the fireworks at 125 pounds, when he overcame an early 2-0 deficit to pin Nebraska's Eric Coufal at the 6:16 mark. That got the Wyoming crowd on its feet, and the score moved to 16-12.
"That was huge," Branch said of Cox's performance. "You got the crowd involved and closed the gap on the score."
Senior 133-pounder Kasey Garnhart added three more team points with a nice 5-2 decision over Shawn Nagel, and UW cut the deficit to 16-15. But Nebraska was too much down the stretch as the Huskers earned decisions at 141 and 149 pounds to end the dual.
Up next, Wyoming will hit the road for the Nebraska-Kearney Open on Saturday.
157 pounds: No. 5 James Green (UN) maj. dec. Dakota Friesth (UW), 14-1 / Nebraska 4, Wyoming 0
165: Austin Wilson (UN) maj. dec. Andy McCulley (UW), 13-5 / Nebraska 8, Wyoming 0
174: No. 8 Robert Kokesh (UN) maj. dec. L.J. Heblig (UW), 17-4 / Nebraska 12, Wyoming 0
184: No. 6 Josh Ihnen (UN) maj. dec. Shane Woods (UW), 13-3 / Nebraska 16, Wyoming 0
197: No. 4 Alfonso Hernandez (UW) dec. Caleb Kolb (UN), 3-0 / Nebraska 16, Wyoming 3
285: Tanner Harms (UW) dec. Donny Longendyke (UN), 11-5 / Nebraska 16, Wyoming 6
125: No. 18 Tyler Cox (UW) fall (6:16) Eric Coufal (UN) / Nebraska 16, Wyoming 12
133: Kasey Garnhart (UW) dec. Shawn Nagel (UN), 5-2 / Nebraska 16, Wyoming 15
141: Skylar Galloway (UN) dec. Kyle Komata (UW), 8-3 / Nebraska 19, Wyoming 15
149: Ridge Kiley (UN) dec. Brandon Richardson (UW), 3-1 / Nebraska 22, Wyoming 15