Cowboy Wrestling Hosts 30th Annual Cowboy Open

Nov. 17, 2002


Nine University of Wyoming wrestlersplaced in the top four in their respective weight classes on Sunday, Nov.17, at the 30th Cowboy Open wrestling tournament at the War MemorialFieldhouse.

Cowboy junior Levi Prevost was the only Division I champion winning the 165pound weight class. Prevost was seeded number one in the bracket and provedit by winning four matches, three majority decisions, on route to the 165pound title.

Two other Cowboys, senior Brad Steele and junior Andrew Shuler, alsowrestled in championship matches. Steele worked his way to the championshipbout by winning two matches by a combined total of 5-2, but came up short toAir Force's Kevin Hoy 8-1. Shuler, seeded number one in his bracket, wonthree matches with a major decision in the semifinals before being defeatedby Stryder Davis of North Idaho College.

Three Cowboys placed 3rd in their weight classes. Senior Thad Trujilo (149)went 5-1 and defeated Jarod Spry of the Bear Wrestling Club for theconsolation championship. Sophomore Justin Salas battled back to win thirdplace after suffering a loss in the semifinalist to Sam Sherertz of AirForce 13-3, Salas also placed third at last years Cowboy Open. True freshmanSam Wendland wrestled unattached but turned heads by shaking off a technicaldefeat in the second round and then winning four matches to earn thirdplace.

Two Cowboys pulled off quality performances in the Under 20 Division of thetournament. Freshman Gary Dack breezed through the 157 pound bracket winningfive matches, two by pin and a major decision, to claim first place.Freshman Jake Severn went 3-2, with a pin, in the 197 pound weight class butfell short of the consolation championship by losing to Manny Pacillas ofAdams State College.

Other Cowboys were turned out respectable performances were junior KevinKessner and freshman Bryce Leonhardt. Kessner went 2-2 with one pin in theDivision I 197 pound weight class to earn fourth place. In the 125 poundweight class, freshman Bryce Leonhardt battled the #3 ranked Ben Vombaur ofBoise State down to the wire for the second time in three days. Leonhardtcame up short 6-1 on Friday and 4-2 on Sunday.

"I felt like we wrestled in spurts," said UW head wrestling coach StevenSuder following the tournament. "One of the benefits of an early seasontournament is that you get to see a lot of varieties of wrestlers and a lotof competition. I don't think I saw any team today wrestle solid throughoutthe whole tournament as a team, I'm not sure that can be expected at thistime of the year. We sure didn't wrestle solid throughout the whole day."

"I thought our guys wrestled pretty tough though, just like on Friday. Iwas real encouraged by our young guys, not discouraged by our veterans butreal pleased with our young guys. Gary Dack won the tournament in theyounger division, Jake Severn hasn't practiced that much due to injuries butcame out a fought hard in a tough bracket, and Bryce Leonhardt fought hardagainst the #3 guy in the nation."

The Cowboys return to the mat on Saturday, November 23 when they travel toOmaha, Neb. for the Nebraska Omaha Open tournament.