Pokes Announce 2012-13 Wrestling Slate

Sept. 4, 2012

LARAMIE, Wyo. - After posting one of the most successful seasons in recent memory, the University of Wyoming wrestling program hopes to reach new heights in 2012-13 as the Cowboy schedule was released Tuesday.

Wyoming (10-3 in dual action and 6-0 versus Western Wrestling Conference opponents in 2011-12) will begin this season with a rugged test as UW hosts perennial power Boise State. The Broncos take on the Pokes on Nov. 1. Two days later, UW hosts its yearly tournament, the Cowboy Open, and then nationally ranked Nebraska visits Laramie on Nov. 11. All this happens after UW officially opens practice just weeks before, on Oct. 10.

Wyoming, which was ranked as high as No. 7 in the nation last year, finished 19th at the NCAA Championships last season.

"Stiff competition is going to come at us fast," Wyoming head coach Mark Branch said. "We don't have a lot of time between our Oct. 10 start date and our first dual.

"We've been trying to get Boise State on the schedule since I got here and we want to make sure we are ready to compete well. We moved the Cowboy Open up a week so we only have a few days to get prepared for a very competitive tournament and then we host a second marquee dual the next weekend against Nebraska. I can't imagine a tougher first semester schedule but that will definitely help prepare us for the conference schedule and postseason tournaments."

The path doesn't get any easier, as the Cowboys hit the road to take on Oklahoma and Oklahoma State on Dec. 7 and 8, respectively, and head to Nevada for the Reno Tournament of Champions on Dec. 16. There is a possibility that the Cowboys could take part in the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational, which will be Nov. 30 through Dec. 1, but no final decision has been made.

The home slate after that includes Oregon State (Jan. 13) and North Dakota State on Jan. 26. The Pokes have road dates with Northern Colorado (Jan. 30), Northern Iowa (Feb. 10) and the NWCA National Duals in Columbia, Mo., on Feb. 16. There will be three neutral-site duals: at Oklahoma in Arkansas City, Kan., at South Dakota State in Spearfish, S.D., and versus Air Force in Cheyenne, Wyo. The dual versus Oklahoma will take place in a location just minutes away from Branch's hometown of Newkirk, Okla.

"I'm excited about that - to showcase my team to the community I grew up in, but more so than that, we're taking opportunities to expose wrestling to different areas," he said.

The last dual of the season will be versus Air Force in Cheyenne. Though technically a home dual, the Pokes will take on the Falcons in a different city in an outreach effort for the state's wrestling fans.

"We're excited about going to Cheyenne, making it easily accessible for more of our fans to come see our program," Branch said.

Fans will have a chance to see postseason wrestling in Laramie this season, when UW hosts the Western Wrestling Conference Championships/NCAA West Regional on March 9. The WWC teams, including Wyoming, will participate in the tournament to determine NCAA Championship spots.

"It's a great advantage to host," Branch said. "We have a team with a lot of unknowns. We lost some veterans last year so it's a great time to host it. We've won the conference the last three years and we don't want it to end.

"Anytime you can stay in the comfort of your own surroundings, it helps you focus on your preparation. I think we're going to have a great crowd. We want to put a spotlight on this event and make it great, and are hospitable when they come here. But when we get on the mat, we're not planning on being very hospitable."

To cap off the season, the NCAA Championships will be March 21-23 in Des Moines, Iowa.

2012-2013 Cowboy Wrestling Schedule
Date - Opponent - Location - Time

Nov. 1 - Boise State - Laramie, Wyo. - 7 p.m.
Nov. 3 - Cowboy Open - Laramie, Wyo. - All Day
Nov. 11 - Nebraska - Laramie, Wyo. - 1 p.m.
Nov. 17- Nebraska-Kearney Open - Kearney, Neb.- All Day
Dec. 7 - Oklahoma - Arkansas City, Kan. - 7 p.m.
Dec. 8 - Oklahoma State - Stillwater, Okla. - TBA
Dec. 16- Reno Tournament of Champions - Reno, Nev. - All Day
Jan. 4 - Utah Valley - Orem, Utah - TBA
Jan. 6 - Cal Poly Duals - San Luis Obispo, Calif. - TBA
Jan. 13 - Oregon State - Laramie, Wyo. - 2 p.m.
Jan. 19 - South Dakota State - Spearfish, S.D. - TBA
Jan. 26 - North Dakota State - Laramie, Wyo. - TBA
Jan. 30 - Northern Colorado - Greeley, Colo. - 7 p.m.
Feb. 10- Northern Iowa - Cedar Falls, Iowa - 2 p.m.
Feb. 16- NWCA National Duals - Columbia, Mo. - TBA
Feb. 21 - Air Force - Cheyenne, Wyo. - 7 p.m.
March 9 - WWC Championships/NCAA West Regional - Laramie, Wyo. - All Day
March 21-23 - NCAA Championships - Des Moines, Iowa - All Day

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