Feb. 15, 2013
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
After an extended break from competition, the University of Wyoming wrestling program gets back to work when the Pokes wrestle in the NWCA National Duals on Sunday in Columbia, Mo.
No. 20 Wyoming (8-4 overall, 3-1 Western Wrestling Conference) will take part in the 2013 NWCA/Cliff Keen Division I National Dual Meet Championships, a high-profile event in collegiate wrestling. The Cowboys have not been in competition since Jan. 30.
Wyoming will wrestle in the Midwest Regional as the No. 3 seed. UW takes on 16th-ranked and second-seeded Purdue in the first round, while host Missouri battles Maryland. Each winner advances to the regional championship dual, and the losers of the first round meet in the consolation final.
Regional winners head to the finals on Feb. 22-23, hosted by the University of Minnesota. From there, teams compete for the national team dual title. The finals will feature eight teams, four via automatic bids and four teams via regional competition wins. In previous years, the finals included only the winner of each regional.
Cornell Region: Cornell, Hofstra, Virginia, Nebraska
Kent State Region: Kent State, Oklahoma State, Northern Iowa, Wisconsin
Oregon State Region: Oregon State, Oklahoma, Virginia Tech, Michigan
Missouri Region: Missouri, Wyoming, Maryland, Purdue
Automatic Bid Finalists: Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota and Ohio State
A look at the Cowboys
Wyoming aims for its ninth and 10th dual wins of the season. In UW head coach Mark Branch's previous four seasons, the Cowboys have won at least 11 duals each year.
Two Pokes are in the latest national rankings, including sophomore Andy McCulley and senior Alfonso Hernandez. In the Amateur Wrestling News poll, McCulley is 12th at 157 pounds, while Hernandez is fourth at 197.
Five Cowboys in the dual lineup have won at least 19 matches this season, with the likes of sophomore Tyler Cox (26-7 at 125 pounds), McCulley (24-6), senior L.J. Helbig (19-8 at 174), sophomore Shane Woods (21-11 at 184) and Hernandez, who is 27-1.
A look at the opponents
The sixth-ranked Tigers are 12-2 this year, and feature nine wrestlers in the top 20 of the nation, including the country's top-ranked heavyweight, Dom Bradley.
UM has gone 12-7 this season, and has four wrestlers in the national polls. Fifth-ranked Josh Asper is 14-1 this season at 174 pounds.
The Boilermakers have tallied a mark of 14-5 and have four wrestlers in the polls. Ivan Lopouchanski leads the way, ranking eighth at 149 pounds.
UW probable lineup
125 pounds: Tyler Cox, So. (26-7)
133: Kasey Garnhart, Sr. (10-11)
141: McCade Ford, Sr. (10-12) OR Zach Zehner (15-6)
149: Brandon Richardson, So. (11-15)
157: No. 12 Andy McCulley, So. (24-6)
165: Dakota Friesth, So. (13-16)
174: L.J. Helbig, Sr. (19-8) OR Michael Poulos, Sr. (5-11)
184: Shane Woods, So. (21-11)
197: No. 4 Alfonso Hernandez, Sr. (27-1)
285: Leland Pfeifer, So. (1-7)