Wyoming Wrestlers to Face League Foes North Dakota State and South Dakota State

Feb. 4, 2010

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    LARAMIE, Wyo. -

    
    

    The next two dual matches for the Wyoming Cowboy wrestlers will be against Western Wrestling Conference opponents and will both be on the road, versus the South Dakota State Jackrabbits on Friday, Feb. 5, at 6.pm. in Brookings, and then against the North Dakota State Bison on Sunday, Feb. 7, at 12 p.m. in Fargo.

    Currently Wyoming has an overall record of 8-3 and is 3-0 in the league. SDSU is 1-8-1 overall and 0-2 in the WWC, while NDSU is 9-4 and 2-0.

    The SDSU Jacks are led by 197-pound senior Tyler Sorenson. Sorenson currently has a record of 21-5 and was listed No. 28 in the first NCAA Coaches Panel rankings. Last season the `Pokes beat the Jackrabbits by a score of 38-7 in Laramie. UW leads the all-time series with SDSU, 10-0. The Jacks' two WWC losses have come to Air Force (23-12) and Northern Iowa (35-6).

    NDSU has two wrestlers who were listed in the first NCAA Coaches Panel rankings, sophomore Justin Solberg (22-7) was No. 32 at 125 pounds and senior Ryan Adams (24-7) was No. 30 at 141 pounds. The Cowboys beat the Bison by a score of 31-6 last year in Laramie and the all-time series between the two schools is tied at 4-4. NDSU's two WWC wins have come versus Air Force (26-18) and Northern Colorado (21-19). Another common opponent of note for the Bison and Cowboys is Nebraska, a team that UW beat 29-10 and NDSU lost to 33-9.

    Team Tidbits: Following are several notes from UW's 2009-10 season to this point...

    - WWC Win Over Northern Iowa - Wyoming's 26-12 win over Northern Iowa last Saturday not only gave the `Pokes a 3-0 WWC dual record, but also put them in the drivers seat with three league duals remaining for a second consecutive WWC regular season dual team title. Last season UW shared the honor with UNI. The Cowboys finished 5-0, while the Panthers finished 4-0.

    Wyoming's recent win over Northern Iowa broke a nine-match losing streak to the Panthers that dated all the way back to Feb. 4, 1964, a 29-3 win by the `Pokes in Laramie.

    UNI has won the team NCAA West Regional title for 24 straight seasons, a streak that the Cowboys hope to break this year. The 2009-10 season will mark the 11th year (since 2000) that Wyoming has qualified for the NCAA Championships through the West Regional Tournament. UW has finished in second place three times, 2004, 2006 and 2009. Last season, the `Pokes lost to the Panthers by a mere one and a half points.

    - Still Winning Big - Three Wyoming sophomores, as well as one true freshman are winning often and earning big bonus points along the way.

    Joe LeBlanc (184 pounds) has an overall record of 28-4 with an incredible 22 bonus point margins. Ten of his wins have come by technical fall, eight by way of fall and four by major decision.Michael Martinez (125) has an overall record of 23-7 with eight of those wins coming by way of major decision, two by technical fall.

    Shane Onufer (165) is 20-5 overall with six major decisions, six pins and a technical fall.

    Freshman Jimmy Belleville (157) also has a knack of putting his opponents on their back. With an overall record of 26-5, he has nine pins and two major decisions to his credit.

    - Belleville Making a Difference - Jimmy Belleville recorded the biggest upset of last weekend for the Cowboys when he pinned the reigning WWC Wrestler of the Week and No. 33 (NCAA Coaches' Panel) ranked Tyson Reiner from Northern Iowa in their 157 pound bout on Saturday night. UW's true freshman improved his overall record to 26-5 by sticking Reiner at 2:33 in the first period. He led 3-2 at the time of the fall and contributed six big team points in UW's 26-12 dual triumph over UNI. The Cowboy's dual win over the Panthers broke a nine-match losing streak to UNI and was their first since 1964.

    The win was Belleville's second of the weekend, having beaten Utah Valley's Jamison Moss by injury default earlier in the day. Moss could not continue following a first period reversal by Belleville. Wyoming also won that dual by a score of 37-3 and is now 3-0 in WWC duals. His only loss last week came at the hands of OSU's No. 17-ranked Neil Erisman on Friday night.

    Prior to Jan. 15, when Belleville had his redshirt year pulled, he had competed unattached at both 149 and 157 pounds while compiling a 23-3 record. Belleville placed first at two tournaments, finished second one time and third place two times.

    - Cowboys in Weekly Rankings - There are several national organizations that send out weekly and preseason collegiate wrestling rankings, most notably the InterMat poll and the National Wrestling Coaches Association team poll. All rankings are generally released by Tuesday each week.

    Returning All-American Joe LeBlanc (184 lbs) has been in the top-10 all season and is listed in the latest InterMat individual rankings at No. 9. He is also No. 9 by W.I.N. Magazine and No. 9 by D1CollegeWrestling.net.

    Shane Onufer (165 lbs) leapt up the charts after the Las Vegas Invite and is now No. 9 according to InterMat, No. 9 in the W.I.N. rankings and is ranked No. 13 by D1CW.

    Michael Martinez is at No. 12 in the D1CW poll at 125 pounds, No. 12 by InterMat and No. 14 by W.I.N.

    With a successful return to 133 pounds in Reno, senior Cory VomBaur is ranked No. 21 by D1CW.

    As a team, UW is No. 24 according to D1CW and the squad is listed as "Receiving Votes" in the NWCA poll.