Nov. 20, 2010
OMAHA, Neb. -
A large contingent of Wyoming Cowboy wrestlers, 21 strong, competed on Saturday at the Kaufman-Brand Open in Omaha, Neb.
The tournament is considered one of the elite open events of the early season in collegiate wrestling and the `Pokes were split between an Amateur division and an Elite division.
The Cowboys got a weight class title from true freshman Zach Zehner in the Amateur 133-pound division and a runner-up finish by senior Cole Dallaserra at 149 pounds in the Elite division. In all, eight Wyoming wrestlers placed in the top six of their brackets.
Competing unattached, Zehner was 5-0 on the way to his 133-pound title. He was dominant, with three wins by fall and one by major decision. His finals match produced a pin at 2:35 over Eric Mateo (UCM). This was Zehner's second straight tournament title, including the Cowboy Open last week, and he has a season record of 13-1.
Dallaserra went 4-1 on the day and was equally as dominant as Zehner, with two wins by fall and two by major decision. His 149-pound finals match pitted him against No. 7-ranked Jamal Parks from Oklahoma State, and Dallaserra narrowly lost, 3-2. His senior season record is now 8-1.
Another UW freshman who turned heads was Brandon Richardson, who competed unattached at 149 pounds. He placed third with a record of 7-1 and now has a season mark of 16-3.
First-year Cowboy Mike Hamel (unattached) took fourth place honors in the Amateur division at 141 pounds with a record of 4-2.
Wyoming sophomore Jimmy Belleville, freshman Leland Pfeifer and freshman Shane Woods all took fifth place competing unattached. Belleville in the Elite field at 149 pounds, Pfeifer in the Amateur class at 197 and Woods at Amateur 184. Belleville was 6-2, Pfeifer was 5-2 and Woods was 5-2.
The other place-winner for the `Pokes was redshirt freshman Tyler Cox, who was sixth in the Elite 125-pound weight class. He was 3-3.
The annual event is held at the University of Nebraska at Omaha Fieldhouse and there is no team scoring.
LeBlanc will face No. 5-ranked A.J. Kissel from Purdue at 184 pounds, while Onufer will take on No. 5 Josh Asper from Maryland at 165 pounds.
The Cowboys are represented for the first time by two wrestlers in the event. Prior to LeBlanc and Onufer's selection, only Reese Andy represented Wyoming, competing in 1995 and 1996.
The event tries to create the best possible match-ups at each weight class in an effort to draw attention to the sport and the NWCA's fund raising efforts. All matches are exhibition in terms of season records and do not count in national rankings.
Wyoming Wrestlers, Omaha Tournament Record