Dec. 18, 2009
PALO ALTO, Calif. -
Facing an improved Stanford team on Friday night on the road, the University of Wyoming wrestling team showed up with a big effort and walked away holding a 25-9 dual victory.
Wyoming improves to 3-1 in dual matches this season, while Stanford drops to 5-2. The Cowboys are now 5-0 all-time versus the Cardinal.
The dual was a good measuring stick for the `Pokes since Stanford had beaten fellow Western Wrestling Conference member, and reigning league champion Northern Iowa earlier this season by a score of 19-12.
UW got a major decision victory from sophomore Chase Smith at 141 pounds to begin the match and never looked back. Earning decisions for the `Pokes were sophomores Alfonso Hernandez at 197 pounds, Joe LeBlanc (184), Michael Martinez (125) and Brock Smith (174). Juniors Cole Dallaserra (149) and Matthew McLaughlin (Hwt.) also got wins for the Cowboy team.
"I am proud of our effort tonight," UW head coach Mark Branch said. "This was a dual that concerned us, following up finals week and against a much-improved team. I think that ultimately our advantage was that we have already seen a lot of tough competition this year and this dual did not faze our guys. We had watched film in preparation for Stanford and focused on keeping pressure on their guys. I saw improvement in that area, it made a difference and was good to see.
"With Shane (Onufer) out, Ernie (Alex Rieder) was asked to cut some weight over the last two weeks and make 165 pounds for this dual. Even though he lost tonight, his effort was incredible and he really sacrificed for the good of the team. Brock's (Smith) win was a big swing for us and certainly a turning point. After having some struggles early on in his match, he really fought back, stayed tough and pulled out an important win."
The evening began at 141 pounds where UW got a dominant 12-2 major decision from Chase Smith. That win would prove to be the only bonus-point victory for Wyoming, but did set the pace for the rest of the team. Dallaserra then earned a workmanlike 6-3 decision in the Cowboys' favor at 149 pounds to put the team score at 7-0.
Next, Stanford won two straight, Lucas Espericueta over Mikah Kadera, 7-2 at 157 pounds, and No. 16 Nick Amuchastegui by a slim margin over Alex Rieder, 8-6 at the 165 pound weight class. That brought the team score to 7-6 in favor of the `Pokes.
The Cowboys then won five straight to leave no doubt and put the dual out of reach. That run started with a comeback victory for Brock Smith at 174 pounds. With the score tied 4-4 late in the third period and down over a minute in riding time to Stanford's Jake Johnson, Smith dug in his spurs and got a two-point takedown on the edge of the mat with 10 seconds remaining. Smith would win 6-5 despite Johnson tacking on the riding time point.
In the marquee match-up of the night, No. 5-ranked LeBlanc out-muscled No. 13 Zack Geisen at 184 pounds and won handily, 8-1. LeBlanc narrowly missed out on an eight-point major decision which would have earned UW an additional team bonus point, however he did rack up over four minutes of riding time and kept the pressure on Geisen the entire match.
Following suit for the Cowboys was Hernandez at 197 pounds with a solid 7-1 decision and McLaughlin, who won by injury default at heavyweight. McLaughlin was leading 2-1 after two periods, with a riding time advantage, in his match when Dylan Rush was forced to bow out with a shoulder injury sustained from twice being slammed to the mat by Wyoming's big man.
No. 9-ranked Martinez out-lasted a formidable opponent in Ryan Mango at 125 pounds, scoring two third period takedowns to win 8-4.
The Cardinal did pick up another win at 133 pounds, when Justin Paulsen beat Kasey Garnhart 10-3, but ultimately that bout played little role in the final team tally of 25-9 in favor of the Cowboys.
Wyoming will now travel to Reno, Nev. for the Reno Tournament of Champions which will take place all day on Sunday, Dec. 20.
Wyoming (WYO) 25, Stanford (STAN) 9