LARAMIE, Wyo. -
A challenging conference schedule awaits the University of Wyoming wrestling program in the inaugural season in the Big 12 Conference. The Pokes will face every team in the conference with the exception of West Virginia.
The Cowboys are coming off an 11-4 campaign in 2014-15 that featured a seven-dual winning streak. The Cowboys finished second in the Western Wrestling Conference Championships and qualified six competitors for the NCAA Championships.
UW head coach Mark Branch enters his eighth season at the helm, boasting a 74-32 overall record and a 30-4 mark in conference action.
The Cowboys first home dual will be one of the highlights of the schedule, as the Pokes host Big 12 foe Oklahoma State on Dec. 18. Wyoming will also tangle with Oklahoma on Jan. 9. Other home duals include Cal Poly on Jan. 23, Northern Colorado on Feb. 6 and Utah Valley in the regular-season finale on Feb. 13.
Oklahoma State finished seventh at the NCAA Championships last season and finished sixth in the dual polls. OSU returns national champion at 165-pounds in Alex Dieringer. Oklahoma finished 19th at the NCAA Championships a season ago and returns national champion at 133-pounds, Cody Brewer.
The Cowboys home schedule will give fans the opportunity to see the UW wrestling team and reigning MW Tournament Champion men's basketball team on the same day with the grapplers having home duals the same day against Oklahoma, Cal Poly, Northern Colorado and Utah Valley.
"It is always great to have high caliber teams like Oklahoma and Oklahoma State visit Laramie," Branch said. "These duals have always been some of our best duals and I'm really fired up for them along with the rest of the schedule."
A demanding road schedule awaits the Pokes this season. UW kickoffs the dual season at Air Force on Nov. 13. The Cowboys will then travel to Big 10 opponent and regional rival Nebraska on Nov. 21. The Pokes will head to Iowa State to tangle with the Cyclones on Dec. 12. It will be the first meeting between the schools since 1987. The Pokes make a road swing to Pac-12 foes Oregon State on Jan. 15 and Boise State on Jan. 17. Wyoming's final road duals of the season come against rivals South Dakota State on Jan. 29 and North Dakota State on Jan. 31.
"We always have some tough early duals and I like that," Branch said. "This early schedule will be a good gauge of where our team is at and it is better to have some answers for this young team sooner rather than later. It is exciting to add Iowa State to the schedule and it is a win-win and we want to try to wrestle all of our Big 12 opponents."
The Cowboys open the season at the UNC Open in Greeley, Colo., on Nov. 1. The 38th annual Cowboy Open, a yearly tournament held in War Memorial Fieldhouse takes place on Nov. 7. The Cowboys return to the always challenging Southern Scuffle in Chattanooga, Tenn., on Jan. 1-2.
"We made a late decision to return to the Southern Scuffle. It is a very excellent tournament and this will benefit our younger guys," Branch said.
The Big 12 Championships are March 5-6 in the Sprint Center in Kansas City. Two weeks later, the Pokes will travel to New York City and historic Madison Square Garden for the NCAA Championships, which run March 17-19.
"The two-day Big 12 Championship will closely resemble the NCAA Championship and it will be great to be in a major venue and give our kids a taste of what the NCAA Championship is like," Branch said.
2015-16 Wyoming Cowboy Wrestling Schedule
Date -- Opponent/Event -- Location -- Time (MT)
Nov. 1 -- UNC Open -- Greely, Colo. -- All Day
Nov. 7- Cowboy Open - Laramie, Wyo. - All Day
Nov. 13 - Air Force *- Colorado Springs, Colo. -7 PM
Nov. 21 -- Nebraska - Lincoln, Neb. - TBA
Dec. 12 - Iowa State * - Ames, Iowa -2 PM
Dec. 18 - Oklahoma State * - Laramie, Wyo. - 7 PM
Dec. 20 - Reno Tournament of Champions - Reno, Nev.- All Day
Jan. 1-2 - Southern Scuffle - Chattanooga, Tenn. - All Day
Jan. 9- Oklahoma * - Laramie, Wyo. - TBA
Jan. 15- Oregon State - Corvallis, Ore. - 7 PM
Jan. 17- Boise State - Boise, Idaho - TBA
Jan. 23- Cal Poly - Laramie, Wyo. - TBA
Jan. 29- South Dakota State * - Brookings, S.D. - 7 PM
Jan. 31- North Dakota State * - Fargo, N.D. - TBA
Feb. 6- Northern Colorado * - Laramie, Wyo. - TBA
Feb. 13- Utah Valley * - Laramie, Wyo. - TBA
March 5- 6- Big 12 Championships - Kansas City, Mo. - All Day
March 17-19 -- NCAA Championship -- New York, New York -- All Day
*Big 12 Opponents