Jan. 28, 2010
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
With last week off from competition, but while still maintaining a difficult training schedule, the Wyoming Cowboy wrestlers have been prepping for their biggest home weekend of the season when they host Oklahoma State this Friday, and then on Saturday will wrestle Western Wrestling Confernce foes Utah Valley and Northern Iowa in Laramie.
On Friday, Jan. 29, a large crowd is expected when the `Pokes host No. 4-ranked Oklahoma State. In anticipation of the increased number of fans, the Cowboy vs. Cowboy match-up will take place in the Arena-Auditorium, beginning at 7 p.m. The event is presented by Your Local Ford Stores.
The last time Wyoming Wrestling hosted an event in the AA was the 2006 NCAA West Regional Tournament on March 5 of that year. The last dual hosted in the spacious facility was Dec. 9, 1995 when the Cowboys took on the Northern Colorado Bears, winning 24-15.
UW's busy weekend continues on Saturday, Jan. 30 when they host a full day of Western Wrestling Conference duals. The first WWC dual of the day will feature a nuetral-mat match, with the Utah Valley Wolverines against the Northern Iowa Panthers at 2 p.m. in the UniWyo Sports Complex. Next, the `Pokes will face Utah Valley at 4 p.m., followed immediately by a match-up with the defending West Regional champions, UNI, at approximately 5:30 p.m.
Tickets for each day will be $5 for adults and $3 for youth. UW students can gain free admission with a valid ID.
On Saturday, doors will open at 1 p.m. and one ticket on that day will gain entrance for all three dual match-ups. Additionally, a ticket from Saturday's women's basketball game between Wyoming and Air Force, at 2 p.m. in the AA, will gain free admittance to that day's wrestling duals.
For these three upcoming duals, all tickets are General Admission and OSU tickets are being presold.
- Oklahoma State -
The OSU Cowboys, ranked fourth in the country by the National Wrestling Coaches Association/USA Today poll, have an 8-2-1 dual record. Their only losses have come to No. 1 Iowa and No. 2 Iowa State by a combined total of five points.
UW trails the all-time series record with OSU, 0-11-1, the lone tie coming on March 2, 1957 by a score of 12-12 in Laramie. The two teams matched up last year, resulting in a 34-4 loss for Wyoming in Stillwater, Okla. on Feb. 15, 2009. UW's lone victory in that dual was a major decision from Joe LeBlanc at 184 pounds.
To this point in the season, UW and OSU have not dualed any similar opponents, however, the orange Cowboys will face Northern Colorado at noon on Friday prior to making the trip to Laramie.
In their history, OSU has an NCAA-best 34 team national championships.
Current UW head coach Mark Branch was a two-time national champion at Oklahoma State (1994, `97) and twice the NCAA runner-up (1995-96). Branch was on the OSU coaching staff from the fall of 1997 through the spring of 2008, the last six years as Associate Head Wrestling Coach.
Ethan Kyle, in his first year as the Wyoming Cowboy Wrestling Club Head Coach, was a member of the OSU squad from 2003-07, the team's captain as a senior.
- Utah Valley -
The Utah Valley Wolverines currently boast a 5-1 dual record. They have not yet dualed another WWC squad, but will have wrestled UNI in Laramie just prior to their match-up with UW this Saturday.
This will be the sixth meeting on the wrestling mat between the two schools and Wyoming leads 4-1 in the all-time series. Last year's clash resulted in a 21-15 win for the Cowboys in Orem, Utah on Feb. 13, 2009.
Both UW and UVU have defeated North Carolina State this season, Utah Valley by a 26-10 margin and Wyoming by a score of 26-15.
2010 will mark the first year that UVU wrestlers can compete in the NCAA DI National Championships, as the program has just completed their reclassification process.
- Northern Iowa -
UNI currently has a 6-8 dual record, 2-0 in the WWC, having just beaten South Dakota State and Northern Colorado last week. Wyoming trails 4-10 in the all-time series between the two teams. Their last meeting on the mat resulted in a 40-0 loss by the `Pokes in Cedar Falls, Iowa on Jan. 18, 2008. The last win in the series by the Cowboys was Feb. 4, 1964, 29-3 in Laramie.
Last season, UW lost to Northern Iowa by a mere one and a half points at the NCAA West Regional Tournament. The UNI Panthers have won the team West Regional title for 24 straight seasons. Wyoming has qualified for 10 years (since 2000) for the NCAA Championships through the West Regional Tournament. UW has finished in second place three times, 2004, 2006 and 2009.
The Cowboys were undefeated in the WWC (5-0) during the 2008-09 regular season and claimed a share of the league dual championship along with Northern Iowa. UNI was the only WWC squad that the Cowboys did not dual last season.
The two WWC squads have several common opponents so far this season: Michigan State, Northern Colorado and Stanford. UNI lost to Stanford (19-12), and beat both MSU (18-13) and UNCo. (35-3). The `Pokes lost to MSU (20-13), but defeated both Stanford (25-9) and UNCo. (33-6).