Cow­boys of Still­wa­ter too much for men of Laramie

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, don’t go to your butt.’ I think if you don’t get sucked back to your back and give up those back points, then you feel pret­ty good about your chances to win, if you don’t 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 didn’t 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 takedown’s 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 don’t know if he looked at the clock and flip-flopped it like I did, but that’s not an excuse. You don’t give up. Joe didn’t 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.

Wyoming’s’ 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 I’d be real hap­py, but I’m 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. That’s 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.