GREELEY -- The Northern Colorado wrestling team began its season in dramatic fashion Thursday in a come-from-behind victory against Chadron State at Butler-Hancock Sports Pavilion.
The Bears trailed the Eagles 17-9 with the 184-, 197- and 285-pound classes still to wrestle, but Northern Colorado swept all three to win 18-17.
At 184 pounds, Nick Bayer (Maple Valley, Wash.) defeated Jordan DeBus 4-1, with 2:24 of riding time, to start the comeback to cut the score to 12-17. Brian Macchione (Granby, Colo.) then defeated Devan Fors 5-1 in the 197-pound contest, and heavyweight Henry Chirino (Brandon, Fla.) used 2:10 of riding time and four takedowns to earn a 9-2 decision against Michael Hill to give the Bears the victory.
"After Bayer got his win, I felt pretty comfortable with Macchione's match and having Henry be the last guy out there — knowing if he wins, we win the dual — I was pretty confident at that point," head coach Ben Cherrington said.
Redshirt freshman Trey Andrews (Safford, Ariz.) got the Bears off to the start they wanted, posting a 6-0 decision at 125 pounds against Taylor Summers of Chadron State. Dustin Stodola got four points back for the Eagles after registering a 13-4 major decision against Sonny Espinoza (Pueblo, Colo).
The Bears then suffered losses at the 141 and 149 classes by Sam Bauer (Enumclaw, Wash.) and newcomer Beau Roberts (Boise, Idaho) — who fell in 4-3 and 13-7 decisions, respectively — allowing the Eagles to build a 10-3 lead.
"Beau Roberts is a much better wrestler than he showed tonight. We're not sure what happened. He's a junior college national runner-up, he's a fantastic wrestler and he's got something to figure out right now. He's a guy who should be winning matches for us."
At 157 pounds, Mitchell Polkowske (LaJara, Colo.) stopped the bleeding for the Bears with a pin in 2:28 of Chadron State's C.J. Clark to get six points back for the Bears. Caleb Copeland then scored a 16-7 major decision of Don Maes (Denver, Colo.) at 165, and Dylan Fors recorded a 3-2 decision over Northern Colorado's Dylan Rutledge (Auburn, Wash.) at 174, building the Eagles' lead to 17-9 and setting up the Bears' comeback.
"Chadron was tougher than I thought they'd be, honestly," Cherrington said. "They're young, but they have a bunch of tough kids and they showed that tonight. We had to scrap."
The Bears have a quick turnaround as they face Northwestern University at Legacy High School in Broomfield. Northwestern is technically the host team and faces Air Force prior to facing the Bears at 7 p.m. Cherrington said the ability to watch Northwestern wrestle in person before taking the mat, as well as wrestling the Wildcats when they might be a little gassed from facing Air Force, could be advantageous for the Bears.
"There's a lot of things that play in our favor to perform well," Cherrington said. "I told the guys, going into (Friday) night, we're in the same position Chadron was in tonight. We're going in there the underdogs, and we have nothing to lose, and we should go in there and have fun, compete and wrestle relaxed."
Wt. Winning Wrestler Type Losing Wrestler Score Tm Sco
125 Trey Andrews (NC) dec. Taylor Summers (CS) 6-0 3-0
133 Dustin Stodola (CS) major Sonny Espinoza (NC) 13-4 3-4
141 Jay Stine (CS) dec. Sam Bauer (NC) 4-3 3-7
149 Jacob Anderson (CS) dec. Beau Roberts (NC) 13-7 3-10
157 Mitchell Polkowske (NC) fall C.J. Clark (CS) 2:28 9-10
165 Caleb Copeland (CS) major Don Maes (NC) 16-7 9-14
174 Dylan Fors (CS) dec. Dylan Rutledge (NC) 3-2 9-17
184 Nick Bayer (NC) dec. Jordan DeBus (CS) 4-1 12-17
197 Brian Macchione (NC) dec. Devan Fors (CS) 5-1 15-17
285 Henry Chirino (NC) dec. Michael Hill (CS) 9-2 18-17