Cowboy Wrestlers Dominate Falcons
Feb. 25, 2004
Laramie, Wyo.-- The Wyoming Cowboy wrestling team won eight of ten matches in their final home dual of the season against the Air Force Falcons Wednesday night at the MultiPurpose Gym in Laramie. The Pokes took two matches by major decision and one by a technical fall en route to a 31-9 victory.
The win finalized UW's regular season record at 10-5 and marks the first time in school history the Cowboys have earned ten or more victories in back to back seasons. Wyoming finished with a 10-7 record in 2003. The Falcons fall to 3-7 for the season.
Wyoming got on the board early as the Falcons gave up the first match of the night at 125 pounds giving the Pokes and early 6-0 lead. The Pokes would never trail in the contest as 133 pound sophomore Tyson Shatto extended UW's lead to 9-0 with a 10-6 victory over Brandon Strong of Air Force.
Cowboy senior Blake Gunter got into trouble early in the 141 pound match as AFA's Matthew Benza recorded seven points to take an 7-1 lead after the first period. Gunter fought back scoring a takedown in the second frame and a stalling penalty on Benza made the score 7-4. Benza took control of the final period leading 10-9 with just ten seconds left. Gunter then scored a takedown and a three-point nearfall to take the match 13-9. The win put the Pokes up 12-0.
After a Wyoming forfeit at 149 pounds, Wyoming senior Andrew Shuler,
ranked 16th in the country, earned his 26th victory of the season with
a 5-1 decision over Justin Gabbard of the Falcons.
Wyoming would extend their lead to 19-6 after a major decision victory in the 165 pound match-up. Cowboy senior Levi Prevost, ranked 13th in the nation, took care of Blaine Brown of Air Force. Prevost scored four takedowns, a two point nearfall and secured the time advantage for a 11-2 win.
Air Force's lone earned match victory came in the 174 pound bout as Jacob Lillich defeated Wyoming's Trevor Murray by a 7-2 decision.
Wyoming would pull away with victories in the final three matches. UW's 184 pound sophomore Sam Wendland won his 15th match of the season with a 9-4 victory over Luke Lefever.
In the 197 pound bout, senior Kevin Kessner, ranked 11th, had no problems with Brenden McLean of the Falcons. Kessner racked up 18 points to McLean's three taking the match by technical fall at the 6:51 mark.
Wyoming's heavyweight Dusty Hoffschneider, No. 15 in the country, capped off the evening with an impressive victory over Kurt Skarstedt of Air Force. Hoffschneider scored 10 points in the final period, ten via five takedowns, to earn a 17-6 major decision.
"I think we are close to where we want to be," said UW head wrestling coach Steven Suder. "Tonight wasn't a great test for us, but it was a great confidence builder going into the West Regional Tournament. If we can get a couple of guys back in our lineup, which is up in the air right now, things will look pretty good for us. We feel good about where we are right now and we are ready to go."
The Cowboys will now prepare for the 2004 NCAA West Regional Tournament on March 6th in Colorado Springs, Colo. The tournament serves as the qualifying tournament for the 2004 NCAA Wrestling Championships slated for March 18-20 in St. Louis, Mo.