Cowboy Wrestling Hosts Oregon State in Matchup of Nationally Ranked Teams

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Dec. 14, 2010

LARAMIE, Wyo. - The University of Wyoming wrestling program will host Oregon State in a matchup of nationally ranked teams Thursday in Casper, Wyo.

It's the second dual of the season for the Cowboys, and once again, they will face a perennial powerhouse. The dual is presented by BlueCross BlueShield of Wyoming.

Here's a look at the matchup:

The details:
The dual begins at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Swede Erickson Gym at Casper College. Ticket prices will be $10 for adults and $5 for youth. Tickets can be purchased at the door.

Squaring off:
Both Wyoming and Oregon State are ranked in several national polls and have ascended the lists as the season has progressed. As of Dec. 6, Wyoming was ranked 28th and Oregon State was 29th by Wrestling Report.com.

The latest WrestlingReport.com polls, released Monday, have the Cowboys in the 27th spot and the Beavers at 28th. WrestlingReport.com is a tournament-based ranking.

What it could mean:
After a disappointing loss to Nebraska on Dec. 4, Wyoming coach Mark Branch expects a more inspired performance in this dual.

"It would be huge for us right now to get back on track. We wanted to win these two duals before Christmas break," Branch said. "It'd be nice to bounce back and wrestle better. More importantly, I'm not going to be as concerned with the final score as I am with how we go out and perform. The fact is, we didn't go out and wrestle well (against Nebraska). We've made some adjustments in our practices and training. We've tried to emphasize and incorporate some things into our drilling and live wrestling which force us to be more aggressive. Hopefully, we get results. It would be a nice win. I think they are a very good team. We're going to have to have some outstanding performances to win that dual. I'm just looking for us to come out and wrestle harder and more aggressively."

The history:
The 'Pokes trail in the overall series between the teams, winning six times in 23 meetings.

Last year, the Beavers came out with a dominating win over the Pokes in Corvallis, Ore. Wyoming had to forfeit one match and lost several close matches, and took a 28-8 loss. But there's no thought of revenge on the minds of the Cowboys.

"As a program, we need to be competitive and find ways to beat good teams," Branch said. "I'm not going to be happy with losing a match against anybody. ... Everything is a stepping stone on the way to where we need to go. I remind (the team) that everything is just a piece of the puzzle. We expect a certain standard with our team, and we didn't live up to that standard against Nebraska. We'd like to represent what Wyoming wrestling is all about. The goal every time, instead of focusing on wins and losses, is to go out and represent what we said we stand for."

The lineups:
This dual doesn't lack for talented wrestlers for either team. Oregon State has five wrestlers ranked in the top 20 in the nation, according to InterMat rankings. They include Jason Lara (13th at 125 pounds), Kelly Kubec (15th at 133 pounds), Mike Mangrum (12th at 141 pounds), Colby Covington (sixth at 174 pounds) and Clayton Jack (12th at heavyweight).

Wyoming also has some wrestlers who rank among the best in the nation. Cole Dallaserra is ranked 20th at 149 pounds. Shane Onufer is ninth among 157-pounders, but it's likely Onufer will wrestle at 165 pounds.

The Cowboys also boast the No. 1 wrestler in the nation at 184 pounds in Joe LeBlanc.

Clashing in Casper:
The Beavers and 'Pokes will take to the mats in Casper, which gives more wrestling fans a chance to see the dual.

"We're going to reach out and touch a lot of fans we haven't had a chance to be exposed to yet. It's a great opportunity for us to build the popularity of the sport and build up our reputation in the state and build our fan base," Branch said. "Those things are out there, but to do that, we've got to get the fans something to be excited about. Hopefully, we go up there and give people a good idea of what we are about. If we do that, they're going to be excited and they're going to thoroughly enjoy the dual."

The probable lineups:
125 pounds: Tyler Cox (UW) vs. Jason Lara (OSU)
133: Kasey Garnhart (UW) vs. Kelly Kubec (OSU)
141: Chase Smith (UW) vs. Mike Mangrum (OSU)
149: Cole Dallaserra or Jimmy Belleville (UW) vs. Scott Sakaguchi (OSU)
157: Cole Dallaserra or Jimmy Belleville (UW) vs. Alex Elder (OSU)
165: Shane Onufer (UW) vs. Jon Brascetta (OSU)
174: Dallas Hintz or Patrick Martinez (UW) vs. Colby Covington (OSU)
184: Joe LeBlanc (UW) vs. Brice Arand (OSU)
197: L.J. Helbig or Joe O'Farrell (UW) vs. Chad Hanke (OSU)
Heavyweight: L.J. Helbig or Joe O'Farrell (UW) vs. Clayton Jack (OSU)