Feb. 10, 2012
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The road to the postseason doesn't get any easier for the University of Wyoming wrestling team as the Cowboys will take on the field in the NWCA National Duals this Sunday in Stillwater, Okla.
The event features 24 teams, each of which will compete in one of four regional locations. The regional tournament and championship final round of this event has been dubbed "Mat Mayhem."
No. 10 Wyoming (7-2 overall, 4-0 Western Wrestling Conference), a winner of seven straight duals, earned the fourth seed in the Oklahoma State regional and will face fifth-seeded Chattanooga (11-4, 4-1 Southern Conference) in the first round. The dual begins at noon MT, and the winner will face top-seeded and No. 1 ranked Oklahoma State later that day. No. 8 Nebraska (seeded second), No. 6 Ohio State (No. 3 seed) and Boise State (No. 6 seed) round out the six teams at the Oklahoma State regional.
The National Duals event was established in 1989 and during the first 12 years, it was primarily a Division I event. This year's regionals are comprised of the following team, and the first team listed is the host team:
-Iowa State, Iowa, Oregon State, Virginia Tech, Wisconsin and Northern Iowa.
-Cornell, Central Michigan, Oklahoma, Purdue, Illinois, and American.
-Rutgers, Minnesota, Kent State, Michigan, Missouri, and Cal Poly.
-Oklahoma State, Boise State, Ohio State, Nebraska, Wyoming, and Chattanooga.
The four regional tournaments will take place on Saturday and Sunday on the campuses of Rutgers, Cornell, Iowa State and Oklahoma State. The winners of the four regions will meet for the national dual championship at a site to be determined. Each region is seeded one through six and teams will wrestle according to seed. Each site is set to compete in three rounds on two mats. In the final round, the teams which lost in the first round will wrestle a second match alongside the championship final.
Wyoming coach Mark Branch and the Cowboys will step out of conference competition Sunday for some tough duals. And while the schedule is rugged, the benefits of wrestling in such an event are worth it.
"We're excited to be a part of this," Branch said. "The NWCA is trying to do some things to help promote this event and to help popularize the sport. We feel privileged to be a part of it. We're focused on getting better and going there and knowing we have some tough duals. They are duals that will help us in the end so we're excited to be there.
"The big picture means we need to get focused on our training and what we have to do over the next month. We are focused on getting to that next level right now. We're in the middle of some tough training right now and I hope our guys can push through it physically because I'm asking a lot out of them right now. We're putting a priority on the postseason now."