Cowboy Grapplers Shine on Senior Night Against UNC
Feb. 26, 2008
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
One of the most unique nights for any athletic team in sports is senior night. After years of hard work, dedication, pressure, defeat and triumph, the last contest at home for any college athlete is an extraordinary event. Tuesday night held true to that feeling as Wyoming defeated the WWC #2 ranked Northern Colorado Bears 22-15 to close out the regular season. Wyoming improved to 3-3 in WWC action and 4-9 overall while the Bears fell to 4-2 in the WWC and 6-7 overall.
"Tonight was a battle and a very intense match," UW head coach Steven Suder said. "It is always tough to say goodbye to seniors and I'm proud of the way we were able to wrestle tonight."
Wyoming got off to a fast start as Cole Dallaserra (149) scored two takedowns and a 2-point nearfall to beat Daniel Prater and give the Pokes the early 3-0 lead.
"It was a good match-up for me and we had prepared for it all week," Dallaserra said. "It is intense no matter where you start, first or last, I am just glad we took care of business."
After losing the next match and falling behind 4-3, the Cowboys rallied back to win the next three straight matches. Junior Eric Coxbill (165) picked up his 24th victory of the season with a sudden victory over Devan Lewis. Coxbill shot at the 7:24 mark for the takedown to earn the win for Wyoming.
Senior Kyle Morrow (174), wrestling in his final match at the UniWyo Sports Complex, followed Coxbill by defeating Ryan Johnson 14-10. Morrow and Johnson traded reversals for the entire second period and start of the third before Morrow finished Johnson off with an escape and a takedown late in the third for the big win.
"It was a good way to end my career at home here as a Cowboy and I am glad I could pick up the win for the team," Morrow said.
Junior Mikel Hoopes (184) concluded the three victories in a row for the Pokes by pinning Ed Mathews at the 6:20 mark to give the Cowboys the striking 15-4 lead. The pin was Hoopes's second of his career and third win of the year after an injury plagued season.
The second ranked Bears would not go into the night quietly as they went on a three match winning streak of their own to tie the match up at 15-15.
The final two matches of the night increased the intensity of an already thrilling night. Wyoming's Cory VomBaur (133) scored an early takedown in the first period to lead Blayze Bahe 2-0. After a scoreless second period, VomBaur completed a reversal and earned riding time to beat Bahe 5-0 and give the Cowboys the 18-15 lead headed into the last match.
As only a storybook ending should go, Wyoming senior Carter Downing stepped onto the mat for his final match at home in front of a crowd that had been on the edge of their seat all night to face Richard Lohr. Downing, ranked 17 in the nation, would not be denied as he immediately scored two takedowns to gain the early 4-1 advantage. Downing never let up as he continued his dominance by scoring two more takedowns, a 2-point nearfall and earning riding time to bring to a close a stirring night by defeating Lohr by major decision 13-2.
"Everybody took care of their job tonight," Downing said. "No matter what you say, there is a little more desire on a night like this and guys stepped up. I had a lot to wrestle for tonight and I am glad we finished our regular season this way on such a special night."
"We had 10 guys that won this match for us tonight, not just one or two," Suder said. "It was special for our seniors, you fall in love with those guys throughout the years and you want them to leave with a good taste in their mouth. We haven't arrived yet, but this is a step in the right direction for the next two weeks."
Wyoming will look to utilize this momentum as they prepare for the Western Regional Tournament next Saturday, March 8 in Fargo, N.D. Each team from the WWC will compete for 20 spots and a trip to the NCAA National Tournament in St. Louis, Mo., March 20-22.
FINAL RESULTS: WYO 22, UNC 15
125 - Tony Mustari (UNC) maj. dec. Cody Grant (UW), 8-0