May 6, 2014
LARAMIE, Wyo. - The University of Wyoming wrestling coaching staff doled out various team awards Saturday at the program's annual year-end team banquet. Hosted at the Fish-On Ranch about 25 miles west of Laramie, the team, support staff, family and friends of the program assembled to recognize the squad's highest achievements throughout the year both on and off the mat. Three juniors and one redshirt freshman came away with the program's highest accolades, while one senior was recognized for his contributions throughout his career.
Junior Tyler Cox was named the Everett Lantz Most Outstanding Wrestler for 2014. He tied for the team high in wins this season with 29 and won his first Western Wrestling Conference tournament title at 125 pounds. A one-time All-America honoree and two-time NCAA qualifier, Cox leads all Cowboys with 89 career victories, which puts him 19th in history.
For showing toughness and resolve throughout the season, junior Shane Woods was given the Joe Dowler Cowboy Up award. Woods, a two-time NCAA qualifier, moved up a weight class as a junior and won 24 bouts as a 197-pounder, including going 2-2 at the NCAA Championships.
A drastic progression from his sophomore to junior seasons earned junior Dakota Friesth the Joe McDaniel Most Improved Wrestler plaque. Friesth shared the team lead with 29 total wins, including his first two victories over ranked opponents at 165 pounds. He earned his first trip to NCAAs.
The Steven Suder High-Point Award, given to the wrestler with the highest grade-point average and best winning percentage, went to 184-pound redshirt freshman Benjamin Stroh. The youngster burst onto the national scene with a victory over a ranked wrestler in his first career bout, and finished the season with 28 wins, including the Western Wrestling Conference title. He was named the league's freshman of the year for his accomplishments and qualified for NCAAs for the first time.
The four coaches' award winners also received special plaques for qualifying for the NCAA Championships. Senior Kyle Komata also was honored for his hard work and perseverance over five years in the program.
Thirteen Pokes were given awards for their work in the classroom. Sophomore Austin Breckenridge, redshirt freshman Brent Havlik, Komata, redshirt freshman Tanner Miller, junior Leland Pfeifer, junior Brandon Richardson and redshirt freshman Drew Templeman received commendations for maintaining a GPA of 3.0 or better, while redshirt freshman Cole Ford, sophomore Tanner Harms, freshman Luke Paine, freshman Kyle Pope and junior Robert Stroh earned the honor for keeping a 3.5 GPA throughout the year.
Cox garnered the Academic Hustle award for going above and beyond in his academic pursuits.