Nov. 13, 2013
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
After two open tournaments to start out the season, the University of Wyoming wrestling program takes aim at a victory in the first dual competition of the year when the Pokes take on the Boise State Broncos on the road Friday night.
UW takes aim at a season-opening victory over the Broncos in a non-conference battle of two of the West's most powerful programs. The first match begins at 7 p.m. in Bronco Gym.
Both squads have yet to compete in a dual event this season. The two programs renewed a longstanding rivalry in 2012-13 after not wrestling in a scheduled dual the four previous seasons.
UW has a nice mix of returning veterans and young talent and the UW coaching staff will rely on both groups to find success. Returners like juniors Tyler Cox (125 pounds), Brandon Richardson (149), Andy McCulley (157), Dakota Friesth (165), Shane Woods and Leland Pfeifer (197) and senior Kyle Komata at 141 bring experience. Newcomers like redshirt freshmen Drew Templeman (133), Cole Mendenhall (141), Brent Havlik (174) and Benjamin Stroh (184) will be counted on to contribute. The Cowboys have dealt with injuries to some members of the lineup in the early going but hope others can step up.
Last year, Wyoming went 9-6 overall and finished second in the Western Wrestling Conference dual standings.
About Boise State
The Broncos finished 2012-13 on an 8-0 tear to finish 10-5 overall. Top returners for this season include fifth-ranked 184-pound Jake Swartz and J.T. Felix at heavyweight, ranked fifth in the nation. Now in his 12th year, Boise State is led by head coach Greg Randall.
He said it
Wyoming head coach Mark Branch enters his sixth season at the helm. He has won 57 duals in the previous five years and hopes for another win to begin 2013-14. The Boise State-Wyoming wrestling dual will precede the UW-BSU football game, which takes place at 8:15 p.m. MT Saturday in Bronco Stadium.
"This dual is a very good first test for us," Branch said. "I like what I've seen the last two weekends from our kids. We've competed well. We're as ready as we could possibly be at this point. We're dealing with a couple of significant injuries and everybody is going to have to step up and wrestle their best to fill those gaps. We're going into an unfriendly environment but it's a great weekend. With our football program competing there (Saturday), I hope to see a lot of Brown and Gold in the stands Friday night. I hope our kids are excited to compete there in front of the Wyoming faithful."
(Rankings based on most recent InterMat poll)
125 pounds: No. 6 Tyler Cox (UW) vs. Rami Haddadin (BSU)
133: Drew Templeman (UW) vs. Ben DeMeulle (BSU)
141: Cole Mendenhall OR Kyle Komata (UW) vs. Travis Himmelman (BSU)
149: Brandon Richardson (UW) vs. Chris Castillo (BSU)
157: No. 12 Andy McCulley (UW) vs. Holden Packard OR Nick Wooden (BSU)
165: Dakota Friesth (UW) vs. Holden Packard OR Nick Wooden (BSU)
174: Brent Havlik (UW) vs. Austin Dewey (BSU)
184: No. 16 Benjamin Stroh (UW) vs. No. 5 Jake Swartz (BSU)
197: Shane Woods OR Leland Pfeifer (UW) vs. Cody Dixon (BSU)
285: Open (UW) vs. No. 5 J.T. Felix (BSU)