LARAMIE, Wyo. -
Two early-season challenges against top-10 squads highlight the 2014-15 home schedule for the University of Wyoming wrestling program, released Wednesday.
The Pokes are coming off a 6-6 campaign in 2013-14 that featured a five-dual win streak to end the season, including a 17-16 win at No. 19 North Dakota State in the season finale that sealed the conference dual crown for UW. The Cowboys then finished second in the Western Wrestling Conference Championships and qualified four competitors for the NCAA Championships.
Wyoming head coach Mark Branch enters his seventh season at the helm, boasting a 63-28 overall record and 30-3 mark in conference action.
The Cowboys host two perennial national contenders from the Big Ten Conference, Nebraska and Minnesota, in the first two weeks of the season. NU and Wyoming tangle Nov. 7, and the Gophers and Pokes square off Nov. 15.
Nebraska finished 11th at last season's NCAA Championships and eighth in the final dual polls, while Minnesota was the national runner-up in the NCAA team standings. The Gophers enter this year as the preseason No. 1 team, according to WIN Magazine, while the Huskers are 10th.
"Facing Minnesota and Nebraska early, it's going to be exciting for our fans," Branch said. "We've prepared our team to wrestle a tough schedule. Hopefully this continues to shape our kids and help our program mature."
Additionally, three conference matchups take place in the friendly confines of the UniWyo Sports Complex, including Air Force (Dec. 11), South Dakota State (Jan. 30) and North Dakota State on Feb. 1. To cap off the home season, the Oregon State Beavers visit the high plains Feb. 13.
The first road contest of the season takes the Cowboys to Troy, N.Y., for the Journeyman/ASICS Northeast Duals on Nov. 29, where UW faces Buffalo, Old Dominion and Binghamton. After that, trips to Cal Poly (Jan. 9) and WWC foe Utah Valley (Jan. 17) are on the docket.
The Midwest swing includes visits to Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, both on Feb. 6. A neutral-site contest against Boise State takes place in Rock Springs, Wyo., on Feb. 15. The last regular-season contest is a conference clash at Northern Colorado on Feb. 22.
The 37th annual Cowboy Open, an annual tournament hosted in the War Memorial Fieldhouse, takes place Nov. 8. UW will wrestle in the Reno Tournament of Champions on Dec. 21 and the prestigious Southern Scuffle in Chattanooga, Tenn., on Jan. 1-2.
"The Southern Scuffle is the toughest collegiate tournament that's out there, next to the NCAAs," Branch said.
The NCAA West Regional/WWC Championships, hosted by North Dakota State, are March 7 in Fargo, N.D. Two weeks later, the Pokes travel to St. Louis, Mo., for the NCAA Championships, which run March 19-21.
2014-15 Wyoming Cowboy Wrestling Schedule
Date - Opponent/Event - Location - Time (MT)
Nov. 7 - Nebraska - Laramie, Wyo. - 3 p.m.
Nov. 8 - Cowboy Open - Laramie, Wyo. - All Day
Nov. 15 - Minnesota - Laramie, Wyo. - TBD
Nov. 29 - at Journeyman/ASICS Northeast Duals (vs. Buffalo, Old Dominion, Binghamton) - Troy, N.Y. - All Day
Dec. 11 - Air Force* - Laramie, Wyo. - 7 p.m.
Dec. 21 - at Reno Tournament of Champions - Reno, Nev. - All Day
Jan. 1-2 - at Southern Scuffle - Chattanooga, Tenn. - All Day
Jan. 9 - at Cal Poly - San Luis Obispo, Calif. - TBD
Jan. 17 - at Utah Valley* - Orem, Utah - TBD
Jan. 30 - South Dakota State* - Laramie, Wyo. - 7 p.m.
Feb. 1 - North Dakota State* - Laramie, Wyo. - Noon
Feb. 6 - at Oklahoma - Norman, Okla. - 2 p.m.
Feb. 6 - at Oklahoma State - Stillwater, Okla. - 6:30 p.m.
Feb. 13 - Oregon State - Laramie, Wyo. - TBD
Feb. 15 - vs. Boise State - Rock Springs, Wyo. - 2 p.m.
Feb. 22 - at Northern Colorado* - Greeley, Colo. - 2 p.m.
March 7 - at WWC Championships/NCAA West Regional - Fargo, N.D. - All Day
March 19-21 - at NCAA Championships - St. Louis, Mo. - All Day