Some of the top wrestlers in the country took the mat in front of a record crowd at the Arena-Auditorium Friday night in Laramie and the 4th ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys were too much for the Cowboys of Wyoming winning a decisive dual 31–3.
The attendance of 2,566 people is a new record to see a Wyoming wrestling match, which offsets the former record of 2,015 against Oregon State in 1996.
Wyoming (6−3, 1–0 Western Wrestling Conference), will step back into conference play Saturday with duals against Utah Valley and Northern Iowa. Oklahoma State (10−2−1) will also face Northern Iowa on Thursday.
The evening started off with a bang at the 125 pound match that pitted No. 10-ranked Chris Notte of OSU against No. 11 Michael Martinez of UW. Trailing 3–1 with just over a minute in the 3rd period, Martinez scored an escape point to pull within one, but he could get no closer and Notte hung on for a 3–2 decision.
Michael Martinez wrestled a good hard solid match, UW head coach Mark Branch said. But he went to his butt. I went out there during an injury timeout and said, get to your feet, dont go to your butt. I think if you dont get sucked back to your back and give up those back points, then you feel pretty good about your chances to win, if you dont go to your back.
The second match was between No. 5 Jordan Oliver of OSU battling Cory VomBaur of UW at 133 pounds. Oliver took an early 2–0 lead, but VomBaur came back to tie things up. Oliver held a 4–3 lead in the final period and Vombaur could not break through and score and narrowly missed pulling off the upset.
No. 8 Jamal Parks of OSU dominated the 141 pound match with Chase Smith of UW scoring an 8–1 victory upping his teams lead to 9–0.
Next was the 149 pound match that saw UW finally get on the board, as Cole Dallaserra shutout Luke Silver of OSU 3–0 and the A-A crowd went wild.
It was awesome to have that support from the fans, Dallaserra said. The crowd was great, the cheerleaders were great, and everybody was great. The atmosphere was great. It was awesome having the band in there and to be able to wrestle in the A-A in front of that many fans was a thrill.
Dallaserras win pulled the score to 9–3, but that would be as close at Wyoming would get and the Cowboys of Stillwater pulled away for a big road win.
We didnt give them (the crowd) a reason to stay fired up, Branch said. When we had the opportunity to really gain some momentum and get the crowd really jacked up, it seemed like at the end of every match Oklahoma State really sucked the life out of our team a little bit. We missed an opportunity to really rock this place by letting those matches slip away.
One of those matches that slipped away was at 165 pounds between No. 9 Alex Meade of OSU and No. 10 Shane Onufer of UW. Meade scored two early takedowns that gave him a 5–1 lead heading into the final period, before Onufer stormed back to pull within 7–6, but Meade would add an escape point and take an 8–6 decision.
The 184 pound match of the night was All-American and No. 6-ranked Joe LeBlanc of UW against No. 10 Clayton Foster of OSU. The match went back and forth and LeBlanc held a 5–3 lead with 11 seconds remaining. Then a bizarre sequence took place with what appeared to be LeBlanc letting Foster escape thinking he scored a 5–4 win and then the official had a conference with the scores table and awarded a riding time point to Foster sending the match into overtime.
I was a little confused, Branch said. It was a wild match and I lost track a little bit. I looked up and looked at the riding time and the match time and I thought we were going to run the riding time off, but I must have had it flip-flopped. I knew it was going to be close, but when we gave up that escape, I was confused a little bit. I know he (LeBlanc) was confused. I dont know if he looked at the clock and flip-flopped it like I did, but thats not an excuse. You dont give up. Joe didnt put the effort in to finish that match.
In the overtime period it was all Foster, as he wore down a depleted LeBlanc to steal the match 10–5.
Wyomings Alfonso Hernandez fought No. 7 Alan Gelogaev of OSU at 197 pounds to a 2–2 tie heading into the 3rd period, but a final escape point was the difference in a hard fought 3–2 win for Gelogaev.
If I was okay with close losses then Id be real happy, but Im not okay with close losses, Branch said. I thought we battled hard, but we found a way to lose matches. We were in three or four matches where we found a way to lose instead of finding a way to win. Thats the difference right now in us being a top level team and us just being one of the others.
Wyoming will quickly have a chance to get back on track against WWC foes Utah Valley and Northern Iowa at 4 and 5:30 p.m., in the UniWyo Sports Complex on Saturday.
The last time Wyoming hosted a wrestling meet in the A-A was the 2006 NCAA West Regional Tournament.