Nov. 14, 2009
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
Plenty of Wyoming Cowboy wrestlers won multiple matches on Saturday at the 37th annual Cowboy Open in UW's War Memorial Fieldhouse, however five `Pokes sauntered all the way to the top of their brackets and won individual titles at their home tournament. The event is sponsored by UniWyo Federal Credit Union.
A total of 10 UW student-athletes placed in the top-three of their weight groups. Wyoming also won Outstanding Wrestler awards in both the Elite and Amateur divisions, sophomore Joe LeBlanc and freshman Tyler Cox respectively.
"As a whole we wrestled harder today," head coach Mark Branch said. "I want perfection and we still did not wrestle technically well, but we did come out and compete.
"We struggled on bottom, which is disappointing because we have spent a lot of time on that this preseason. The team should expect to spend more time on that in the weeks to come.
"There is a group of our guys wrestling with the attitude that I want, so hopefully the rest of the team takes notice and learns from the example of their peers. That is a great way to learn."
No. 5-ranked LeBlanc led the UW team by example at the Elite 184-pound level. He simply dominated his competition, going 4-0 en route to his weight class win with all four wins coming by way of technical fall. LeBlanc beat Charlie Pipher of Western State College by a score of 16-1 in the final.
Sophomore and No. 17-ranked Michael Martinez was one of the Cowboys who competed with the fire that Branch looks for, and in doing so won the 125-pound Elite weight class. Martinez was 4-0 and recorded three major decisions on the day. In the finals he got one of the biggest wins of his young career, beating No. 9-ranked Ben Kjar of Utah Valley by sudden victory decision 5-3. After forcing the pace in the closing minutes, Martinez earned the decisive takedown near the edge of the mat late in the overtime period.
Cox, a UW freshman who will redshirt this season and competed unattached, had little difficulty winning the Amateur 125-pound bracket. Cox wowed the crowd with his array of moves, going 5-0 and winning one match by technical fall and one by major decision. He beat Jesse Hillhouse from Northwest College, 2-1 in the final.
Junior Cole Dallaserra looked strong in every match on his way to the Elite title at 149 pounds. Dallaserra, 5-0, had a win by fall, a technical fall and a major decision to his credit. He beat T.J. Hepburn from Nebraska-Kearney by a score of 7-3 in the final.
No. 19-ranked Shane Onufer, UW sophomore at 165 pounds, posted a perfect 4-0 record with one pin and two major decisions. Onufer beat Northern Colorado's Justin Gaethje, 3-2 in their Elite title bout. With the match tied 2-2 heading into the final period, he dominated physically on top and rode Gaethje the entire period to earn a riding point and the win. It was Onufer's second consecutive Cowboy Open title, winning last year at 174 pounds.
The Cowboy team will travel to the East Coast next weekend for two days of competition. They will compete in the Body Bar Classic in Ithaca, N.Y. on Saturday, Nov. 21, and then dual Michigan State and West Virginia the following day in Binghamton, N.Y. at the Sprawl & Brawl.
Wyoming Wrestlers (Tournament Record), Place (Top-3)