Wyoming Brings Home Four Titles At Cowboy Open
Nov. 12, 2011
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The War Memorial Fieldhouse served as the friendly confines to the Wyoming wrestling program Saturday, as four Cowboys took home tournament titles at the Cowboy Open.
The event culminated quite a weekend for Wyoming wrestling, as the Pokes also wrestled in the Brown vs. Gold ranking matches Friday.
On Saturday, seniors Michael Martinez (125 pounds), Chase Smith (149), Shane Onufer (165) and Joe LeBlanc (184) each won their respective weight class, finishing a combined 14-0 in the Elite brackets.
Martinez began with a 12-2 major decision over Marco Tamayo of Colby Community College, and followed it up with a 3-2 decision over Boise State's Isaac Romero. Sophomore Tyler Cox, competing unattached, would have wrestled Martinez in the 125-pound title match, but the UW coaches chose not to wrestle the match, giving the championship win to Martinez.
Smith started the day with a 10-0 major decision over Mikie Burgess (Colorado School of Mines), and went on to win two more matches to make it to the title bout with teammate Brandon Richardson. Smith and Richardson battled into two overtimes, and Smith secured a 4-2 decision with a late takedown.
Onufer began his tournament by pinning Jorge Benitez of Western State at the 6:30 mark, and went on to win two more matches before beating Steve Vasquez of Cal Poly in the championship bout in a 5-1 decision. Onufer has won the Cowboy Open in his weight class every year since 2008.
LeBlanc got the Open started off right, winning by technical fall 17-2 over Nick Petersen of Colorado Mesa, then pinning Ryan Swanson (Colorado School of Mines) at the 6:38 mark. He took a tough 3-2 decision over Jake Schwartz of Boise State in the final for the tournament crown.
Other notable performances for the Pokes included Cox, who went 3-0 (not counting the final-match forfeit) with one major decision and two falls. Redshirt freshman Zach Zehner was second in the 133-pound bracket (Elite) and finished 3-1. Redshirt freshman Brandon Richardson was second in the Elite 149-pound bracket, going 3-1. Redshirt freshmen Dakota Friesth and Robert Stroh were third and fourth, respectively, at 157. Redshirt freshman Shane Woods was second in the 174-pound bracket, going 3-1, while senior Dallas Hintz was third at 174 pounds, going 6-1.
"I'll have to look at it a little better to reflect, but with 10 mats going, there were a lot of good things I saw and there was stuff I was pulling my hair out about," Wyoming coach Mark Branch said regarding his team's overall performance. "Technically, I thought we saw a lot of clean stuff. ... We really improved in some of those areas that we were sloppy in last week but my biggest concern is immaturity and letting matches get away from us that we should've won. I did see a lot of positives, but some of these kids showed their immaturity and their lack of experience and that's not OK."
The Pokes will head to the Kearney Open in Nebraska on Saturday for their third event of the season. "Hopefully we can see more improvement and grow up a little," Branch said. "We have to make sure when we have a match within our grasp, we take care of it. I'm not hitting the panic button by any means, though. We've got time."