New Season Upcoming for Wyoming Wrestling

Nov. 10, 2010


As has been tradition, the Wyoming Cowboy wrestling team will officially open their 2010-11 season at home this coming Friday and Saturday, Nov. 12-13. On Friday evening, the `Pokes will participate in intrasquad ranking matches and then on Saturday, the team will host an all-day tournament.

An old UW tradition, but one that is a first for the Cowboys under head coach Mark Branch, Friday's Brown versus Gold ranking matches will begin at 5 p.m. in the UniWyo Sports Complex. The event is free and open to the public.

The Cowboy versus Cowboy match-ups will be used by the Wyoming coaching staff to see who will start the season atop the depth chart at each respective weight class, as well as an indicator for how well some of the newer team members perform in live competition.

"The Brown and Gold will give us a chance to evaluate some head-to-head, live matches," Branch said. "Not only will they help determine our starting line-up, but it will also give our fans a chance to see the added depth that we have on this team.

"It is a great chance to showcase some of our young guys who may redshirt this year and help our fans get excited about the future of Cowboy Wrestling.

"We want to kick the season off with a bang this weekend and we expect the competition to be fierce."

On Saturday, Nov. 13, the Wyoming team will host the 38th Annual Cowboy Open, presented by UniWyo Federal Credit Union, all day in War Memorial Fieldhouse.

"The Cowboy is an extremely tough tournament with teams from all over the West," UW's third-year head man stated. "We expect a large field and it will be a good test for our team to work out some of the kinks that we experienced in Powell last weekend.

"I know there are a lot of guys that are chomping at the bit to get back out on the mat. It will be a long, hard, exciting day and there will be a lot of answers by day's end about our team."

Nearly 20 collegiate teams are expected to bring competitors to the Cowboy Open and among NCAA DI schools bringing full squads are three Western Wrestling Conference rivals of the `Pokes: Air Force, Northern Colorado and Utah Valley. Event officials are anticipating nearly 400 individuals will compete.

Tournament tickets are good for the entire day and are $10 for adults, $5 for youth 18 and younger. UW students can watch the event free with a valid ID.

Due to numerous events being held at UW Athletics' facilities this weekend, wrestling fans for both the intrasquad event and the tournament are encouraged to park in specific locations. Fans can find ample parking along 19th Street, which is northwest of the UniWyo Sports Complex and War Memorial Fieldhouse, as well as in the HC lot, which is along Grand Avenue, to the southwest of the event locations and between the Corbett and Crane buildings. There will also be space in the X lot, which is immediately south of the Animal Sciences building, off of 19th Street.

Cowboy Open results can be followed on and action will span over 10 mats, beginning at 9 a.m.

Last year, five Cowboys won titles and a total of 10 UW student-athletes placed in the top-three of their weight groups. Wyoming also won Outstanding Wrestler awards in both the Elite and Amateur divisions, Joe LeBlanc (184) and Tyler Cox (125), respectively.

UW's weight class winners in 2009 were Cox, Cole Dallaserra (149), LeBlanc, Michael Martinez (125) and Shane Onufer (165) Onufer also won a Cowboy Open title in 2008, as did L.J. Helbig.

The majority of the Cowboy starters will not start their season until this coming weekend, however, 18 UW squad members, mostly competing unattached, did travel to the Northwest Wyoming Open this past Saturday, Nov. 6, in Powell, Wyo.

The `Pokes won three weight class titles and went 1-2-3 at 157 pounds. A total of nine Cowboys placed in the Top Three of their brackets.

Wyoming's efforts were highlighted by titles from sophomore L.J. Helbig (4-0) at 197 pounds, true freshman Andy McCulley (4-0) at 157 and senior Bubba McLaughlin (3-0) at heavyweight.

Order of Friday night match-ups (L to R - Brown vs. Gold):

  • Exhibition No. 1 - Mike Hamel vs. McCade Ford
  • Exhibition No. 2 - Andy McCulley vs. Dakota Friesth
  • 133 pounds - Zach Zehner vs. Kasey Garnhart
  • 157 pounds - Shane Onufer vs. Robert Stroh
  • 141 pounds - Chase Smith vs. Kyle Komata
  • 165 pounds - Joe Raygor vs. Patrick Martinez
  • 149 pounds - Jimmy Belleville vs. Cole Dallaserra
  • 174 pounds - Michael Poulos vs. Dallas Hintz
  • 197 pounds - Lee (L.J.) Helbig vs. Joe O'Farrell
  • Heavyweight (285) - Leland Pfeifer vs. Matthew (Bubba) McLaughlin
  • Exhibition No. 3 - Michael Martinez vs. Tyler Cox
  • 184 pounds - Joe LeBlanc vs. Shane Woods