Nov. 21, 2009
ITHACA, N.Y. -
The Wyoming Cowboy wrestling team faced off with some East Coast juggernaut programs on Saturday at the Body Bar Classic tournament in Ithaca, N.Y. UW more than held their own, with a weight-class title from sophomore Chase Smith, as well as four other top-six finishes.
"Overall this was not a bad performance," UW head coach Mark Branch said. "I was happy with some of the individual performances and several of the guys made important adjustments. It was definitely good to see some teams that we won't see again until the NCAA Championship. We had a good tournament overall and I feel like we learned some things.
"We had some guys lose early and that hurt us in the team standings since there were no true third and fourth place matches."
As a team, the `Pokes placed fourth of 12 teams with a total of 92 points. No. 20-ranked Kent State placed first by scoring 147.5 points, while the event host and No. 4 Cornell tied with No. 10 Maryland at 109 points.
Highlighting the Cowboys' event finishes was a bracket win by Smith at 141 pounds. Smith had a break-through tournament and went on a whirlwind tour at his weight. He had bonus-point wins in four of his five matches, with two pins, a technical fall victory and a win by major decision. Smith's finals opponent was Chase Skonieczny from Kent State, whom he stuck in the first period at 2:33 to put an exclamation point on his day.
No. 6-ranked Cowboy sophomore Joe LeBlanc was 3-1 and placed second, losing 8-4 to No. 5 Dustin Kilgore of Kent State in the 184-pound final. Of his three wins, LeBlanc earned a pin and a technical fall. He now has a season record of 8-1, with five technical falls and two pins.
UW sophomore and No. 10-ranked Michael Martinez also placed second, narrowly losing a sudden victory, overtime decision 6-4 in the 125-pound final to Frank Perrelli from Cornell. Martinez had two major decisions on his way to a 3-1 record. He is now 8-1 for the season with five major decisions and one technical fall.
Junior Matthew McLaughlin (Hwt.) and No. 16-ranked sophomore Shane Onufer (165) were two `Pokes that lost early and had to fight their way back through the consolation bracket. Onufer was 5-1, with two falls and a major decision, placing fifth. McLaughlin was 4-2, with a pin and a major decision, placing sixth.
Despite not placing, several other Cowboys got quality wins, faced highly-ranked opponents and were tough outs in their brackets. Redshirt freshman Kasey Garnhart (133) was 2-2 overall and upset the No. 5 seed Jordan Thome of Army in his first match. Junior Cole Dallaserra (149) had a record of 3-2, losing to No. 7-ranked Matt Kyler of Army in the quarterfinals. Sophomore Dallas Hintz (174) was 2-2 overall, with one of his losses coming to No. 2-ranked Mack Lewnes from Cornell in the quarterfinal round. Sophomore Alfonso Hernandez (197) and junior Alex Rieder (174) each had 2-2 records.
The Cowboy team will dual No. 24 Michigan State and West Virginia on Sunday morning in Binghamton, N.Y. at the Sprawl & Brawl Duals.
"Both teams we will face tomorrow are tough," Branch finalized. "We will need more guys to make adjustments and we will need some of our team to just put today behind them. Everyone needs to focus on coming out ready to go from the first whistle, ready to battle hard."
Wyoming Wrestlers (Tournament Record), Place (Top-6)