Dec. 16, 2012
RENO, Nev. -
Behind tournament titles from sophomore Tyler Cox and senior Alfonso Hernandez, the University of Wyoming wrestling team finished fourth in the team race at the Reno Tournament of Champions on Sunday.
Cox earned his first tournament crown of the season Sunday, besting CSU Bakersfield's Tyler Iwamura in the 125-pound title tilt. Cox worked for a 6-5 decision over Iwamura to push his tournament record to 5-0. It was Cox's second victory over Iwamura this season after the UW wrestler beat him in the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational on Dec. 1.
Hernandez took on ninth-ranked Taylor Meeks of Oregon State in the title match at 197 pounds, and it was Hernandez coming away with a 9-6 decision. The fourth-ranked UW wrestler won his third tournament of the year, and 20th match of the season after going 5-0 through the bracket.
Sophomore Andy McCulley went to the title match at 157 pounds but fell to Oregon State's RJ Pena in an 11-6 decision to finish second. McCulley went 4-1 and now has 18 wins for the season.
Other placewinners for Wyoming included true freshman Drew Templeman at 125 pounds, who was sixth; junior Kyle Komata at 141 pounds, who finished sixth, and sophomore Shane Woods at 184 pounds, who earned fifth-place honors. Templeman competed unattached and Komata competed as a non-scorer.
The Cowboys tallied 94.5 team points, trailing Oregon State (145), Boise State (119) and Michigan State with 107.5.
"Overall, I thought it was a poor team effort," Wyoming coach Mark Branch said. "I was hoping we'd be a different team after the win at Oklahoma (on Dec. 7), and thought I'd see some drastic differences but we were lackluster. We didn't perform as a team. I thought we'd be in the title race because I was optimistic we'd be a better team. When you have guys go 0-2 and not score points, that's not acceptable. I hate to be negative about the guys who did wrestle well. Some guys had good tournaments. They didn't look outstanding but wrestled hard.
"Templeman got his first taste of real college wrestling, so this was a good experience for him. Komata was a pleasant surprise. He found a way to win some tough matches and that was big for him. He just earned another opportunity to be a starter. There were positives, but I thought I was going to see a different team. I was hoping we'd build off the momentum and it didn't happen."
The Cowboys have a break over the holidays but pick it back up Jan. 4, 2013, when they travel to Orem, Utah, to square off against Western Wrestling Conference foe Utah Valley.
125 pounds: Tyler Cox (5-0, 1 fall, 2 major decisions) - First place
125: Drew Templeman (5-3, 2 major decisions) - Sixth place
133: Kasey Garnhart (1-2, 1 fall)
133: Zach Zehner (3-2, 2 falls, 1 technical fall)
141: McCade Ford (1-2)
141: Kyle Komata (3-3) - Sixth place
149: Brandon Richardson (0-2)
149: Austin Breckenridge (2-2, 1 fall)
149: Jake Elliott (0-2)
157: Andy McCulley (4-1, 1 technical fall) - Second place
165: Dakota Friesth (3-2, 1 fall)
174: L.J. Helbig (2-2)
174: Michael Poulos (0-2)
184: Shane Woods (6-2, 2 falls) - Fifth place
197: Alfonso Hernandez (5-0, 1 major decision, 1 technical fall, 2 falls) - First place
285: Tanner Harms (1-2, 1 major decision)