Nov. 13, 2010
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The Wyoming Cowboy wrestlers defended their home mats and competed well in front of their home fans on Saturday at the 38th Annual Cowboy Open in UW's War Memorial Fieldhouse. Five `Pokes fought their way to the top of their respective brackets and won individual titles at the event. The tournament is sponsored by UniWyo Federal Credit Union.
17 UW student-athletes wrestled in the final placing matches of the night and finished in the top four of their weight groups. Wyoming also won the Outstanding Wrestler award in the Amateur division, with a stellar performance from freshman Zach Zehner.
Cowboy senior Cole Dallaserra won the Elite 149-pound title, freshman Mike Hamel was the Amateur 141-pound champion, junior Shane Onufer was tops at 165 pounds in the Elite division, freshman Brandon Richardson won at the Amateur 149-pound level and Zehner was the Amateur champ at 133 pounds.
"I saw good and bad out there today from our guys," Wyoming head coach Mark Branch said. "That is what I expect from a big, open tournament like this one. We look for it and anticipate it, with the hopes of trying to key in on the areas we are struggling in and fixing them. There really are no surprises when you look at this event like that.
"I was really impressed with our unattached, redshirt guys. They came to scrap today and it was a big improvement over their performances last weekend in Powell."
Dallaserra's path to his second career Cowboy Open title included four wins, an opening match win by fall and a dominant 6-1 finals victory over Josh Kreimier from Air Force.
Hamel, competing unattached, had to win five bouts to claim his weight class gold medal. His best wins were a 7-6 decision over Jacob Snider from CSU-Pueblo and his 3-0 finals performance against Casey Lynn.
No. 8-ranked Onufer grabbed his third Cowboy Open title in as many years by beating teammate Patrick Martinez in the finals, 10-2 in a major decision. He was 4-0 with two major decisions and one win by fall.
Also an unattached competitor, Richardson came out of his bracket on top by virtue of a 5-0 record. He won by large margins all day, with two technical falls, a major decision and a pin. His finals match was an 8-4 decision over James Martinez.
Zehner earned OW honors in the Amateur division by going 5-0. He won his first three matches by fall in 1:42, 6:45 and 2:59. His next match was a 13-4 major decision and his finals match-up produced a 7-6 decision over Cameron Neiss of Montana State-Northern. He competed unattached.
Other top-four finishers for the Cowboys included: sophomore Jimmy Belleville (fourth place, Elite-149); redshirt freshman Tyler Cox (third place, Elite-125); freshman Dakota Friesth (third place, Amateur-157); sophomore Kasey Garnhart (third place, Elite-133); sophomore Lee Helbig (second place, Elite-197); junior Dallas Hintz (third place, Elite-174); redshirt freshman Patrick Martinez (second place, Elite-165); senior Matthew McLaughlin (third place, Elite-Hwt.); freshman Leland Pfeifer (second place, Amateur-197); junior Chase Smith (third place, Elite-141); freshman Tommy Thoman (second place, Amateur-184); freshman Shane Woods (third place, Amateur-184).
Belleville beat No. 7-ranked Justin Gaethje from Northern Colorado early in the day, but then faced him again for third place and lost to the 2010 All-American. Another performance of note for the Cowboys was that of No. 10-ranked, UW junior Michael Martinez, who had a rough day at 133 pounds and went 2-2.
"Overall there was some very good competition at this tournament," Branch added. "Events like this one bring out the best in some of the smaller schools and that is awesome. Don't underestimate the toughness of this tournament.
"We now need to get a good week of preparation in before the Omaha event. We will see lots of depth next weekend and some of the top-20 teams in the country will be there. Hopefully we can build on the momentum from today."
The Cowboy team will travel east to Omaha, Neb., next Saturday, Nov. 20, to compete in the Kaufman-Brand Open.