Pokes Ranked 24th in the Nation

Feb. 3, 2004

LARAMIE, Wyo. -

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The Wyoming Cowboy wrestling team enters the week of February 3rd ranked 24th in the country according to InterMat Wrestling's Feb. 3rd poll. The Pokes crack the Top 25 after an impressive weekend in which they defeated Pac-10 programs Oregon State, 17-16, and Portland State, 45-0. The Pokes have defeated two top 25 opponents this season; Edinboro and Oregon State.

InterMat Wrestling's Feb. 3rd poll also has four Wyoming Cowboy wrestlers ranked in the top 20 in their respective weight classes. Senior's Blake Gunter, Andrew Shuler and Kevin Kessner along with sophomore Dusty Hoffschneider all received respective votes in this week's poll.

Gunter, a native of Green River, Wyo., has the second best record on the Cowboy squad with a 19-6 mark. He placed fifth at the Nebraska Omaha earlier in the season, and he also claimed third place at the Cowboy Duals. Gunter has won seven of his last eight matches, including two wins against Portland State and Oregon State.

Shuler leads the Pokes in victories with 20, while losing just five. He has won seven of his last eight matches and picked up a victory over Oregon State on Jan. 31st. On Jan. 17th, Shuler defeated No. 13 ranked B.J. Wright of Nebraska 5-1. He took first place at the Cowboy Duals and third at the Nebraska-Omaha Open earlier this season in tournament action.

Kessner has just begun his senior season. The Rock Spring, Wyo. native suffered an injury in the early part of the season that has kept him off of the mat. Since joining the Poke lineup two weeks ago, Kessner has won four matches in convincing style; two by pin and two via major decision. To see Kessner's name in the ranks should be no surprise, he was ranked the 5th best wrestler at 197 pounds in the preseason according to InterMat.

Hoffschneider joined the Cowboy wrestling squad after the football season, and has shined early. "Hoff" went 2-2 at the Virginia Duals in his first action of the year and pinned Dan Hennis of top-ranked Edinboro in 1:53 to secure a 23-16 Cowboy victory. Hoffscneider took down No. 12 ranked Nathan McClain of Nebraska 7-3 for his third win of the season and this weekend posted two match wins over Portland State and Oregon State.

The Cowboys hit the mat again on Feb. 6th when they host the Northern Colorado Bears at 7 p.m. at the MultiPurpose Gym.

InterMat Wrestling Poll (Feb. 3):

Blake Gunter, 20th, 141 PoundsAndrew Shuler, 17th, 157 PoundsKevin Kessner, 16th, 197 PoundsDusty Hoffschneider, 16th, HWT

InterMat's Jan. 3 NCAA Divsion I Poll

1. Oklahoma State14-12. Nebraska*17-13. Illinois10-04. Missouri11-25. Michigan13-26. Iowa State13-47. Lehigh17-38. Oklahoma13-59. Iowa 9-310. Penn State 9-411. Hofstra12-415. Wisconsin15-316. Pennslyvania 5-617. Northern Iowa 8-618. Purdue*16-419. Arizona State 8-620. West Virginia 4-421. Rider*12-322. Ohio State 6-623. Cal St Bakersfield11-124. Wyoming 4-3^25. Edinboro* 6-3

*Indicates UW 2004 Opponents ^UW record vs NCAA programs