Hernandez Shines For Pokes On Day One of NCAA Championships
March 21, 2013
DES MOINES, Iowa -
Senior Alfonso Hernandez made sure his national title hopes were alive and well Thursday night, as he went 2-0 on Day One of the NCAA Wrestling Championships.
In addition to Hernandez, four other Cowboys won at least one match Thursday and the University of Wyoming wrestling team was tied for 16th in the team standings after the first day.
Hernandez dominated Thursday, winning two matches via bonus points. The fourth-seeded senior began the tournament by defeating Caleb Kolb of Nebraska for the second time this season, outworking Kolb in a 15-5 major decision. In the next round, he dismantled Eastern Michigan's Nick Whitenburg in a 19-4 technical fall. He will face Oregon State's Taylor Meeks in the quarterfinals, an opponent he has beaten twice this season.
"I thought Fonz looked really good. I was proud of the way he was aggressive," UW head coach Mark Branch said. "Fonz has dreams, not only to be an All-American but to wrestle for a national title, and he's got two tough matches tomorrow."
Sophomore Tyler Cox had a good start to his day, but ended up with a disappointing result. Cox showed great scrambling ability in his first match versus Nick Soto of Chattanooga, turning several of Soto's attacks into his own offense in a 14-2 major decision. But he couldn't fight off Dominic Parisi of Appalachian State in the next round, dropping a 5-4 decision. With two seconds left, Cox appeared to have earned a winning takedown, but the mat official ruled the action occurred out of bounds. UW coaches challenged the call, but no points were awarded.
Cox now faces Nikko Triggas (Ohio State) in the consolation bracket on Friday morning.
Senior L.J. Helbig wrestled in the 174-pound preliminary match, and withstood an early barrage from Austin Gabel of Virginia Tech to grind out a gutty 5-3 decision in sudden victory. But he dropped his next two matches and was eliminated. Sophomores Andy McCulley (0-2 at 157) and Shane Woods (0-2 at 184) also were eliminated.
"I'm proud of those guys for fighting back," Branch said. "I'm not OK with going 0-2 here. We're not that kind of program. But I'm proud of the way these guys wrestled back. These are battles."
Four Cowboys are alive in their brackets, but it will take more solid efforts to keep it going Friday.
"We've got to come back with more attitude and more fight in us tomorrow," Branch said. "It's a complete marathon. This is where you see how bad you want it. There's no easy matches from here on out."
Action continues Friday on Day Two, beginning at 9 a.m. MT with Session III. Session IV begins at 5 p.m.
McCade Ford, 141 pounds (1-1)
Brandon Richardson, 149 pounds (1-1)
Andy McCulley, 157 pounds (0-2)
L.J. Helbig, 174 pounds (1-2)
Shane Woods, 184 pounds (0-2)
Fourth-seed Alfonso Hernandez, 197 pounds (2-0)