Wyoming Wrestlers Set to Make Run at League Title

March 5, 2015

LARAMIE, Wyo. -

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The postseason begins this weekend for the University of Wyoming wrestling program, as the Pokes face the field at the NCAA West Regional/Western Wrestling Conference Championships on Saturday in Fargo, N.D.

The Details

Action begins at 9 a.m. MT Saturday with the first round of bouts, while finals are slated for 3 p.m. All matches will be streamed by NDSU All-Access for a one-time fee $6.95 and can be accessed by clicking the link above.

Looking for Another Title

UW is looking for its fifth WWC tournament title under head coach Mark Branch. The Pokes have finished no lower than second under Branch in his previous six seasons as head coach. Wyoming has won 23 league tournament titles in the program's history.

The Cowboys return three conference individual champions from a season ago in seniors Tyler Cox and Shane Woods and sophomore Benjamin Stroh. The Pokes also return seven wrestlers who have experience wrestling in the event. In the pre-seed rankings released Wednesday evening, seniors Dakota Friesth, Andy McCulley and Woods all earned the top seed in their respective weight class. Cox, sophomore Drew Templeman, redshirt freshman Archie Colgan, junior Tanner Harms and Stroh earned the second seeds for this post season tournament.

Probable Lineup | League Pre-Seed Rankings

125: #12/12/15 Tyler Cox (21-6) | No. 2

133: Drew Templeman (17-10) | No. 2

141: Cole Mendenhall (14-15) | No. 5

149: Jake Elliott (20-9) | No. 3

157: Archie Colgan (21-11) | No. 2

165: #18/NR/19 Dakota Friesth | No. 1

174: #14/16/14 Andy McCulley | No. 1

184: #15/NR/20 Benjamin Stroh | No. 2

197: #17/16/14 Shane Woods | No. 1

285: Tanner Harms (15-9) | No. 2

Rankings based on most recent InterMat/FloWrestling/Amateur Wrestling News polls

Last Time

UW finished second in the team standings with 66 points at last season's championship, trailing North Dakota State by just eight points. Both teams had six championship finalists, and both won three, but NDSU won two consolation finals to outpace the Pokes.

Automatic Bids

The NCAA announced last Friday the qualifier allocations for the 2015 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championship and the Western Wrestling Conference/NCAA West Regional was awarded 19 spots. Last season, 15 automatic qualifier spots were awarded for the conference.

Automatic-WWC Bids
125: 5
133: 1
141: 1
149: 1
157: 1
165: 2
174: 2
184: 2
197: 2
285: 2

After all of the qualifying events have concluded, the NCAA Division I Wrestling Committee will meet in-person to select the remaining 70 at-large qualifiers, which will be announced Wednesday. All weight classes will consist of 33 wrestlers. The at-large selections will be made based on the following criteria: head-to-head competition, qualifying event placement, quality wins, results against common opponents, winning percentage, RPI, coaches ranking and the number of matches contested at that weight class. Six Cowboys in Cox, Friesth, McCulley, Stroh, Woods and Harms can be considered for at-large bids, while four others will have to earn automatic bids.