LARAMIE, Wyo. - After a long offseason, the University of Wyoming wrestling program stepped on the mats for the first regular-season practice Friday.
The NCAA allowed regular-season practices to begin Friday for the nation's 77 wrestling programs. The Cowboys, who haven't seen action in a collegiate match since March 21, began in the Everett Lantz Wrestling Room at 3 p.m. with team and individual drills.
There's no time to waste, as UW opens the season with a home matchup against No. 11 Nebraska on Nov. 7 and continues as it hosts the Cowboy Open on Nov. 8. The Pokes will practice 24 times prior to the season opener against the Huskers.
UW will lean on a solid contingent of seniors in this year's lineup. Tyler Cox (125 pounds), Dakota Friesth (165), Andy McCulley (174), Leland Pfeifer (285), Brandon Richardson (157), Robert Stroh (157) and Shane Woods (197) will provide a tremendous amount of experience and talent. Other proven contributors include Benjamin Stroh (184) and Cole Mendenhall (141), each of whom started in the postseason last year.
Several Cowboys are featured in the national preseason individual rankings. The breakdown:
Preseason All-Western Wrestling Conference First Team
165: Dakota Friesth | 2014 NCAA qualifier; 2014 WWC runner-up
184: Benjamin Stroh | 2014 NCAA qualifier; 2014 WWC champion
197: Shane Woods | Two-time NCAA qualifier; two-time WWC champion
Preseason All-Western Wrestling Conference Second Team
125: Tyler Cox | 2013 NCAA 8th Place; 2014 WWC champion
141: Cole Mendenhall | 2014 WWC runner-up
157: Brandon Richardson | 2013 NCAA Qualifier
174: Andy McCulley | 2013 NCAA Qualifier; 2014 WWC runner-up