Dec. 5, 2012
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
After two tournaments in two weeks, the University of Wyoming wrestling team returns to dual action this weekend, taking on two of the nation's most storied and powerful programs on the road.
The Pokes battle Oklahoma at 6 p.m. MT Friday in Arkansas City, Kan. The venue is just minutes away from Wyoming head coach Mark Branch's hometown of Newkirk, Okla. After they battle the Sooners, UW heads south to Stillwater, Okla., to take on Oklahoma State at 6 p.m. MT Saturday.
No easy task
Both Oklahoma schools are traditional powerhouses in collegiate wrestling. OU has won seven national titles, while OSU has accumulated 34 collegiate championships.
Oklahoma (10th in USA Today/NWCA/AWN poll) owns a 2012 record of 2-0 with wins over Oklahoma City and Binghamton. Wrestlers in the latest AWN polls include No. 1 Kendric Maple (141 pounds), No. 6 Nick Lester (149), No. 9 Matt Lester (157) and No. 6 Patrick Graham at 165.
No. 2 Oklahoma State boasts a 2-0 mark with wins over Penn and then-No. 1 Minnesota. AWN lists eight OSU wrestlers, including No. 8 Jon Morrison (133), No. 2 Jordan Oliver (149), No. 14 Alex Dieringer (157), No. 3 Tyler Caldwell (165), No. 1 Chris Perry (174), No. 17 Chris Chionuma (184), No. 14 Blake Rosholt (197) and No. 4 Alan Gelogaev at heavyweight.
In 17 meetings with the Sooners, UW is 1-14-2 as the Pokes won for the first time ever on Jan. 4, 2012, in Laramie, 18-17.
Wyoming has wrestled OSU 16 times and has a 0-15-1 mark. UW took on OSU on New Year's Day in Laramie in 2012 and battled but fell short, 24-17.
A look at the Cowboys
Wyoming has split its two duals this year, beating No. 24 Boise State (26-12) to open competition and falling to 9th-ranked Nebraska, 22-15. UW was 19th in the latest NWCA polls, a dual-based ranking.
Two Cowboys are featured in the latest individual rankings, released this week. Sophomore Andy McCulley (157 pounds) is featured in the polls for the first time in his career, and is ranked as high as No. 12 by Amateur Wrestling News. He has a mark of 13-2 and finished third in the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational last weekend. Senior Alfonso Hernandez is the fourth-ranked wrestler in the nation at 197 pounds, according to AWN. He is 13-1, with his lone loss coming against the top-rated wrestler in the nation at 197.
Probable lineup (season record)
125 pounds - Sophomore Tyler Cox (12-6)
133 - Senior Kasey Garnhart (7-5)
141 - Junior Kyle Komata (4-5) OR senior McCade Ford (8-5)
149 - Sophomore Brandon Richardson (8-6) OR redshirt freshman Austin Breckenridge (8-7)
157 - Sophomore (No. 12) Andy McCulley (13-2)
165 - Sophomore Dakota Friesth (7-8) OR redshirt freshman Jace Jensen (5-7)
174 - Senior L.J. Helbig (8-5) OR senior Michael Poulos (4-6)
184 - Sophomore Shane Woods (7-7)
197 - Senior (No. 4) Alfonso Hernandez (13-1)
285 - Redshirt freshman Tanner Harms (10-4)