No. 24 UW Takes On Nation's Best At NCAA Championships
March 19, 2013
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
For seven University of Wyoming wrestlers, the months of training and hard work come down to this. They will hit the mats for the NCAA Championships in the Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa, starting Thursday.
Thursday: Session I, 10 a.m. MT on ESPN3.com; session II, 5:30 p.m. MT on ESPN3.com
Friday: Session III, 9 a.m. MT, ESPNU/ESPN3.com; session IV, 5 p.m. MT, ESPNU
Saturday: Session V, 9 a.m. MT, ESPNU; session VI, 6 p.m. MT, ESPN
Branch at the NCAAs
Tyler Cox: The sophomore had a breakout season at 125 pounds, qualifying for NCAAs by finishing third in a tough field at the West Regional. Making his first trip to nationals, he is 31-8 this season with 16 bonus-point wins. He will be the 12th seed in the bracket and takes on Nick Soto of Chattanooga in the first round.
McCade Ford: The winner of four-straight matches, Ford has momentum going into the championships at 141 pounds. The senior makes his first foray into NCAAs and brings a 14-12 mark with him. He will face ninth-seeded Richard Durso of Franklin and Marshall in his first match.
Brandon Richardson: After a rough start to the season, Richardson found his stride late. The sophomore earned the third-place trophy and automatic NCAA bid at the West Regional at 149 after going 2-1. Richardson takes a 13-19 mark into his first NCAAs, and his first-round opponent is eighth-seeded Nick Brascetta of Virginia Tech.
Andy McCulley: He finished third at 157 in the West Regional, and was given an at-large bid by the selection committee. At 28-8 with a team-leading 11 pins, McCulley has the ability to beat ranked wrestlers. The sophomore will battle Scott Winston of Rutgers in his first-ever match at nationals.
L.J. Helbig: One of the team's senior leaders, Helbig qualified for NCAAs at 174 and won the West Regional. In 2011, he qualified at 197 pounds. Helbig is 22-10 this season and faces Virginia Tech's Austin Gable in the wrestle-in match of his bracket.
Shane Woods: This season marks five-straight seasons UW has had a 184-pounder at nationals. Woods, a sophomore, follows in the footsteps of Joe LeBlanc (2008-12). Woods went 24-13 and won the West Regional. In his first trip to the championships, he takes on seventh-seeded Jimmy Sheptock of Maryland in his first match.
Alfonso Hernandez: A returning All-American, Hernandez will be the fourth seed at 197. With 31 wins and just one loss, the senior has his sights set on a top finish and another All-America honor. He and Nebraska's Caleb Kolb will mix it up in the first bout.
A new twist