Nov. 21, 2013
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
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Bolstered by a season-opening dual win, the University of Wyoming wrestling program faces a tall task Sunday as the Cowboys visit the No. 2 Minnesota Golden Gophers.
Wrestling begins at noon MT on Sunday from Minnesota's Sports Pavilion. Fans can access live video and live results by clicking the links above.
The teams have not met since 1996, and UW owns an all-time 1-4 mark against the Gophers. Wyoming is 1-0 this season, and while Minnesota has yet to compete in a dual, the team takes on Big Ten foe Purdue on Friday night.
The Cowboys came away with a 17-15 victory over Boise State last weekend, with a win in the last match of the evening. Now 1-0 for the year but unranked in dual polls, the Pokes hope to keep it rolling with a major upset. UW has never beaten a top-five opponent in the modern-ranking era, which began in 1974. The Pokes hope to start a season 2-0 for the second time under head coach Mark Branch.
Three Cowboys are featured in the latest InterMat polls, including junior Tyler Cox (sixth at 125 pounds), junior Andy McCulley (14th at 157) and redshirt freshman Benjamin Stroh, ranked 16th at 184.
Ranked second in the nation in dual polls, Minnesota is one of the most talented squads that Wyoming will see all season. A lineup featuring ranked wrestlers at eight of the 10 weights, the Gophers are a popular pick among pundits for the NCAA team title this season.
Ranked wrestlers include David Thorn (No. 8 at 133), Chris Dardanes (No. 5 at 141), Nick Dardanes (No. 4 at 149), Dylan Ness (No. 3 at 157), Danny Zilverberg (No. 16 at 165), Logan Storley (No. 5 at 174), Scott Schiller (No. 2 at 197) and the nation's top-ranked and two-time defending national champion at heavyweight, Tony Nelson.
He said it
"This is an extremely big challenge for our young kids to go against a team of this caliber on the road," Branch said. "This is one of the best teams in the nation. It's a challenge to go in there and not give them too much respect. When you go against teams like this, it's an opportunity to go in there and fight for seven minutes and see what happens and not draw any conclusions before you step out there.
"As individuals and as a coach, you can't think, `We're not supposed to win. We can't win.' If you do that, you've written your destiny. Our kids need to keep an open mind and go out there and keep it simple and fight for seven minutes. It's a great opportunity and they need to look at it like that."
125 pounds: No. 6 Tyler Cox (UW) vs. Sam Brancale (UM)
133: Drew Templeman (UW) vs. No. 8 David Thorn (UM)
141: Cole Mendenhall (UW) vs. No. 5 Chris Dardanes (UM)
149: Brandon Richardson (UW) vs. No. 4 Nick Dardanes (UM)
157: No. 14 Andy McCulley (UW) vs. No. 3 Dylan Ness OR Brandon Kingsley (UM)
165: Dakota Friesth (UW) vs. No. 16 Danny Zilverberg (UM)
174: Brent Havlik (UW) vs. No. 5 Logan Storley (UM)
184: No. 16 Benjamin Stroh (UW) vs. Brett Pfarr (UM)
197: Shane Woods (UW) vs. No. 2 Scott Schiller (UM)
Hwt: Leland Pfeifer (UW) vs. No. 1 Tony Nelson (UM)