Wyoming's Turner takes OW honors at Reno TOC

LARAMIE, Wyo. -- It marked back-to-back seasons with an Outstanding Wrestler at the Reno Tournament of Champions for the Wyoming wrestling team, as 141-pounder Sam Turner claimed top honors at the tournament on Thursday. It marked the first such honor for Turner and served as a repeat at 141 for the Pokes as Bryce Meredith earned the accolade last season.

Sam Turner (right) was named Outstanding Wrestler
"It was a pretty good day," Turner said. "I started out feeling a little bit of the weight cut this morning, but as I got deeper into the tournament I stared to put things together and feel good, feel hydrated. Going into that semifinals match, I decided I was going to wrestle my match and not look at Kaid Brock any differently (than anyone else). I think that really paid off and it's good this time of year to build confidence because what matters is March. These wins are good to get, but I think the biggest takeaway is confidence."

As a team, Wyoming placed six wrestlers at the tournament. Aside from Turner, Cale Davidson (197) and Brian Andrews (HWT) both took second after advancing to the finals in their respective weight classes. Junior Dewey Krueger took fourth at 157, Cole Verner took fifth at 125 and Casey Randles took sixth at 174. In all, five Cowboy grapplers finished higher than their pre-tournament seeding.

Wyoming finished third at the event behind Oklahoma State and Michigan State, despite only bringing 12 wrestlers compared to Oklahoma State's 20 and Michigan State's 18.

Wrestling unattached, true freshman Tate Samuelson placed as well coming in third at 184 pounds. He was one of only nine unattached wrestlers in the field to finish on the podium.

The Cowboys got off to a strong start to the day, with 11 of 12 attached wrestlers advancing to the round of 16. Dewey Krueger and Casey Randles each recorded falls in their round of 64 pigtail matches to start the event off on a high note for the Pokes. In the following round, the team combined for three falls, two tech falls and a pair of major decisions as just short of a dozen Cowboys moved on.

Six Cowboys advanced into the Reno quarterfinals with wins in the following round. Cole Verner earned his second fall of the day with a second-period pin of Fresno State's Jeremy Trinh at 125 pounds. Sam Turner followed it up with an 8-4 decision over Durbin Lloren of Utah Valley to advance. Krueger routed Stanford's Tyler Eischens in a 20-9 major decision at 157, followed by an 11-2 major for Hayden Hastings over MSU-Northern's Chris Nile. At 197, Cale Davidson took a 6-4 win over Nick May of Michigan State, and heavyweight Brian Andrews finished off the round with a dominant, 18-2 technical fall over Southern Oregon's Max Hane.

Wyoming pushed four attached wrestlers, along with true freshman Tate Samuelson into the tournament semifinals. After Turner advanced on a medical forfeit, Krueger kept rolling at 157 with a 10-8 decision over Grandview's Steven Lawrence. Competing unattached, Samuelson earned his third win of the day at 184, defeating Tanner Harvey of American, 8-5. At 197 pounds, Davidson earned his second victory of the season over Oklahoma State's Andrew Marsden, knocking off Marsden, 9-5. Finally, Andrews turned in another dominant performance at heavyweight with a shutout, 6-0 win over Chase Trussell.

Three Cowboys grabbed wins in the semis, highlighted by a 5-4 upset of two-time All-American and ninth-ranked Kaid Brock of Oklahoma State by Cowboy Sam Turner. Davidson and Andrews also picked up wins, with Davidson dropping No. 2 seed Sawyer Root of The Citadel, 6-4, and Andrews dispatching of Grandview's Cooper Thomas, 5-1, in sudden victory.

In the finals, Davidson and Andrews came up short to strong foes from Oklahoma State, but Turner tallied a dominant shutout of Michigan State's Austin Eicher with a couple of takedowns and plenty of riding time on the way to a 6-0 decision.

The Cowboys will be back in action on Dec. 29-30 when they travel to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., for the South Beach Duals. While in the Sunshine State, the Pokes will face No. 6 Cornell, No. 4 NC State, Michigan State and SIUE.


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