California-Bound Cowboys Return To Dual Action

Jan. 7, 2015


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The land of surf and sun is the destination for dual action this week, as the University of Wyoming wrestling team faces nonconference opponent Cal Poly on the road Friday.

The details
Matches for the nonconference tilt begin at 8 p.m. MT Friday from Cal Poly's Mott Athletics Center in San Luis Obispo, Calif. Wyoming (4-2 overall, 1-0 Western Wrestling Conference) takes aim at its fourth-straight victory over the Mustangs (0-7) of the Pac-12, as the squads meet for the fifth-consecutive season.

A look at Wyoming
The Pokes produced on a big national stage in their last outing, finishing ninth in the team race in the Southern Scuffle on Jan. 1-2. Four senior UW wrestlers finished on the podium, led by Andy McCulley, who was fifth at 174 pounds. Tyler Cox (sixth at 125), Dakota Friesth (eighth at 165) and Shane Woods (seventh at 197) rounded out the medalists for UW.

Fresh off two tournament performances, the Cowboys haven't competed in dual action since Dec. 11, 2014, when Wyoming shut out conference foe Air Force, 34-0, in Laramie. UW is on a four-dual win streak after starting the season 0-2.

A look at Cal Poly
Though winless for the season, the Mustangs have had some close calls in recent action. Cal Poly lost 23-22 to Northern Colorado on Nov. 21, and 18-15 to Cal Baptist on Nov. 8. In its last competition, Cal Poly placed 13th in the Reno Tournament of Champions on Dec. 21. Nick Fiegener placed fourth at 184 pounds while Victor Trujillo finished sixth at 133 pounds.

He said it
"We have put ourselves in really challenging situations in our last two tournaments," UW head coach Mark Branch said. "We have to get back into the mindset of wrestling in duals. There's no doubt our kids have matured and gotten a taste of the highest level of competition recently.

"From a physical standpoint, we're banged up a bit. That's a challenge, to push through bumps and bruises. In December and January, over a stretch of 12 days, some of our guys wrestled 12 to 13 matches, and now, over the next 24 days, we'll have two matches. It's a different part of the season so we'll have to make some adjustments to the training."

Last meeting/series history
Wyoming was victorious the last time these teams met, which took place in Laramie on Jan. 24, 2014. The Cowboys used the winning efforts of sophomore Tanner Miller, Friesth, sophomore Benjamin Stroh, Woods, senior Leland Pfeifer, Cox and sophomore Cole Mendenhall for the 29-12 victory.

In seven meetings with Cal Poly since 1968, UW has gone 3-4. Wyoming began the series 0-4, but has won the last three meetings. The squads have wrestled every season since 2011.

The probable matchups
125 pounds: #13/12/10 Tyler Cox vs. Isaac Blackburn OR Yoshito Funakoshi (CP)
133: Drew Templeman vs. Jason DelaCruz OR Victor Trujillo (CP)
141: Cole Mendenhall vs. Colton Schilling (CP)
149: Jake Elliott vs. Jacob Leon (CP)
157: Archie Colgan vs. Colt Shorts (CP)
165: NR/NR/17 Dakota Friesth vs. Travis Berridge OR Xavier Johnson (CP)
174: Jace Jensen OR #20/18/NR Andy McCulley vs. Dominic Kastl (CP)
184: #19/20/NR Benjamin Stroh vs. Nick Fiegener (CP)
197: #19/17/13 Shane Woods vs. J.T. Goodwin (CP)
285: Tanner Harms OR Leland Pfeifer vs. Nicolas Johnson (CP)
Rankings based on InterMat/FloWrestling/Amateur Wrestling News polls.