Feb. 23, 2014
LARAMIE, Wyo. - For the fourth time in six seasons, the University of Wyoming wrestling team has won the regular-season dual title in the Western Wrestling Conference.
Wyoming (6-6 overall) finished with a 4-1 mark in the league, along with North Dakota State, but owns a head-to-head win over the Bison. The Cowboys toppled No. 19 NDSU by a 17-16 margin on Friday. UW also won the league dual title in 2009, 2010 and 2012. North Dakota State defeated South Dakota State on Sunday to ensure UW's place atop the conference.
"I am extremely proud of these guys. We set a goal to turn this thing around after losing our first conference dual and that is exactly what they did," UW head coach Mark Branch said. "We do things for a reason and I demanded a lot out of a young squad at the beginning of the year, but those demands and challenges are paying off and it's nice to see us accomplish one of our goals.
"Our next goal is to win the conference championship and we are going to fine tune things over the next two weeks so that we can perform at our best. After going on the road and beating a top-20 team to win the regular-season title, we have a great amount of momentum to lead us to our next goal. These guys have continued to mature throughout a season filled with adversity but I feel very good about the next step."
UW has won at least four conference duals in each of Branch's six seasons and he has compiled a league mark of 30-3. His Cowboy squads have won the regular-season title, the conference tournament championship or both in each of his seasons.
The Pokes, who finished the season on a five-dual win streak, will hit the mats for the NCAA West Regional/WWC Championships on March 8 in Orem, Utah. Wyoming is seeking its fifth-straight conference tournament title.
At U.S. Western National Open
Six Cowboys finished fifth or higher in the U.S. Western National Open tournament in Colorado Springs, Colo., on Sunday. Two Pokes - freshmen Archie Colgan and Zach Beard - won their weight class. Colgan was 3-0 en route to the 157-pound title with two technical falls and a major decision, while Beard had a pin and a major decision to win at 165.
Freshman Chaz Polson was second at 165 pounds with one major decision. Freshman Luke Paine was third at 174 pounds, while redshirt freshman Brandon Tribble (197) was fourth and freshman Morgan Rieder was fifth at 197.