LARAMIE, Wyo. -
Wyoming wrestling has been a staple of University of Wyoming Athletics since 1924 and has produced 102 conference champions, 15 All-Americans and 30 conference championship teams. The 2006-07 season looks to continue the winning tradition of Wyoming wrestling and the tradition of being "Cowboy Tough."
"I am enthusiastic about our guys this year and the potential we have to compete for a conference championship," Suder said. "We have four guys with NCAA experience and two guys that wrestled in the NCAA championships last year. These guys are approaching this season with some urgency."
Suder enters his 18th year at the helm of Wyoming wrestling in which he has coached 35 conference champions, six All-Americans and 18 Academic All-Americans.
Returning for his junior season is NCAA Qualifier Carter Downing, who in 2005-06 posted a 24-9 overall record. Downing led the Cowboys in victories (24), dual wins (10), major decisions (8) and technical falls (4) and had four pins. One of the most exciting wrestlers to watch in the region, Downing looks to make a trip to the NCAA Championships for his second straight year.
Junior Bryan Bernal, who transferred at semester last year from Lehigh University, made a big impact for the Cowboys as he was a wild card selection into the NCAA championships. Bernal posted a 4-5 record and had two pins on the year. Look for Bernal to pick up where he left off last year and make another trip to the NCAA Championships.
Senior leadership will have to come from the only two seniors on the Cowboy's roster in Gary Dack and Sam Wendland. Dack had an outstanding sophomore year in which he went 22-14, but had an up and down junior season. Dack is a strong wrestler for the Cowboys and will look to pick up where he left off his sophomore season and bring leadership to the team.
Wendland redshirted last year, but did an excellent job in his open wrestling matches in which he went 11-5 and had three pins. Wendland will have to replace NCAA Qualifier Malcolm Havens who was 20-14 for the Cowboys last year. Wendland will have to be a senior leader for the Cowboys, along with Dack, for the Cowboys to be successful this year.
"I am excited about several things, one of those things is the new guys we have coming in," Suder continued.
Freshman Michael Martinez brings some excitement to the Cowboys at the 125 pound weight class and looks to a be an early contributor. He wrestled all four years in high school and was a state placer each of those years.
Cole Dallaserra was a four-time state champion at Butte High School in Butte, Mont. and had 140 wins in his career. Freshman Jake Smith was a two-time wrestling state champion in Nebraska and was 39-0 his senior year.
"We also have some guys that redshirted last year that will get some time in our lineup," Suder added. Nick Ramirez, wrestled at 125 pounds and went 22-8 in his open wrestling matches last year for the Cowboys. Ramirez will look to continue the success at the 125 weight class left by Bryce Leonhardt who was an NCAA Qualifier last year.
Wyoming has two new assistant coaches this year in Ben VomBaur and Travis Shufelt. "One thing that we have noticed already is the freshness that Ben and Travis bring. I see some excitement in the eyes of the guys on the team."
The Cowboys face a schedule which features three teams that finished in the top-25 last year in Nebraska, Oregon and Boise State as well as taking on Pac-10 Oregon State and Big East opponent Virginia. For the second straight year, the Pokes will face each team in the Western Region. The Cowboys will need each guy on the team to help in their quest for a championship.