GREELEY, Colo. -- Pins from three Cowboys gave the University of Wyoming wrestling team a much-needed conference victory over Northern Colorado on Wednesday, 34-10.
Wyoming head coach Branch won his 25th conference dual on the strength of six bonus-point wins, and UW won its 20th dual in a row over the Bears, dating back to 1993. The Pokes improved to 2-1 on the road, 3-1 in Western Wrestling Conference action and 8-4 overall. The win came on the heels of a 22-15 loss to North Dakota State just three days prior.
"I like how they responded after a tough loss," Branch said of his wrestlers. "It was good to see that they came out with a little more attitude. It was a good win and we needed it. The thing with our guys is stepping out on the mat with confidence, and these matches are going to help."
Sophomore Andy McCulley set the tone for the evening with a pin less than a minute into the 157-pound match. He stuck Northern Colorado's Mitchell Polkowske just 48 seconds in for the early 6-0 lead for UW. He leads UW with 11 pins and won his 24th match of the season.
UW sophomore Dakota Friesth was dominant in a 16-1 technical fall over Iver Sandoval at 165, and senior L.J. Helbig followed up with a fall at 6:52 at 174 pounds to give UW a 17-0 lead.
Sophomore Shane Woods got a nice 11-1 major decision over Keith Johnson for a 21-0 lead after four matches. The first blemish of the evening came when senior Michael Poulos saw the first dual action of his career at 197 pounds. Poulos, who regularly wrestles 174, wrestled hard but lost a 9-1 major decision to UNC's Cody McAninch.
"Poulos was giving up a lot of weight, but he wrestled with a lot of heart," Branch said. "Even in a loss, he came out there and fought for us, so I was proud of him."
UNC followed that match up with a closely contested 8-6 decision win at heavyweight to make it 21-7. But sophomore Tyler Cox stopped the bleeding at 125 pounds when he pinned UNC's Abe Fox at the 4:22 mark, giving UW a 27-7 lead. Cox set a career high in single-season wins with 26, surpassing his redshirt freshman total of 25. Senior Kasey Garnhart followed Cox with a 6-1 decision at 133, but junior Kyle Komata lost a 3-0 decision at 141 pounds.
In the last bout of the evening, sophomore Brandon Richardson earned a 10-1 major decision to give the Pokes a 34-10 win.
UW gets a break from competition until Feb. 17, when the Cowboys head to the NWCA National Duals in Columbia, Mo.
157: No. 13 Andy McCulley fall (0:48) Mitchell Polkowske (UNC) / Wyoming 6, UNC 0
165: Dakota Friesth tech. fall Iver Sandoval (UNC), 17-1 / Wyoming 11, UNC 0
174: L.J. Helbig fall (6:52) Jesse Neilsen (UNC) / Wyoming 17, UNC 0
184: Shane Woods maj. dec. Keith Johnson (UNC), 11-0 / Wyoming 21, UNC 0
197: Cody McAninch (UNC) maj. dec. Michael Poulos, 10-1 / Wyoming 21, UNC 4
285: Henry Chirino (UNC) dec. Leland Pfeifer, 8-6 / Wyoming 21, UNC 7
125: Tyler Cox fall (4:22) Abe Fox (UNC) / Wyoming 27, UNC 7
133: Kasey Garnhart dec. Sam Bauer (UNC), 6-1 / Wyoming 30, UNC 7
141: Nick Adams (UNC) dec. Kyle Komata, 3-0 / Wyoming 30, UNC 10
149: Brandon Richardson maj. dec. Nick Alspaugh (UNC), 10-1 / Wyoming 34, UNC 10