LARAMIE, Wyo. -- The 13th-ranked Wyoming wrestling team handled its business on Friday night, sweeping the Cowboy Shootout with wins over No. 15 North Carolina, Army and American inside the Arena-Auditorium.
"This is our third year (matching up with these teams)," head coach Mark Branch said. "These are tough matches against good competition. It's not your typical competition, but it's been a good experience for us. We have a lot of good friendships across these teams, although they get tested at times. It's good to have those guys around, seeing each other and learning from each other what we're doing with our programs.
"It was a good event. To be honest, I don't think we deserved to win (the dual against North Carolina). I thought we got outwrestled. I thought they set the pace on us…Some of those things are frustrating, but you also had guys fighting to get us back in there. You don't feel good about that performance at all, but I thought we came out in the second dual a lot better, and definitely wrestled a lot better those last two duals. That allowed us to throw some extra guys in there, which I enjoy because those guys work hard and they don't always get their chance to go out and shine."
The Cowboys will be back in action next Sunday afternoon when they return to the UniWyo Sports Complex to host Oregon State.
Cowboys Spark Late to Drop No. 15 Tar Heels
The Cowboys opened the night with a big come-from-behind win over North Carolina, in which the Pokes rattled off 12-straight points to defeat the Tar Heels, 20-15.
North Carolina opened with a 6-0 lead thanks to a win over Cowboy Jaron Jensen by No. 5 Austin O'Connor at 149 and a defeat of Wyoming's Dewey Krueger by Joshua McClure at 157.
The Cowboys, however, would win a couple-straight matches of their own, as Branson Ashworth picked up the first of three bonus-point victories on the night for the senior in an 18-0, second-period technical fall over Will MacDonald. Hayden Hastings would give the Cowboys a 7-6 lead at 174, dropping Devin Kane, 10-6.
North Carolina seized a 15-8 lead with four bouts to go, picking up a fall at 184 and a decision at 197. The Cowboys refused to lay down, going on a run that would clinch their seventh dual win of the season and third straight.
Heavyweight Brian Andrews picked up some much-needed momentum for the Pokes recording a takedown in the second sudden victory period to propel himself over No. 13 Cory Daniel in a 4-2 match. The win was Andrews' second ranked victory and fourth in overtime this season.
Cole Verner brought the Cowboys to within one at 125 pounds, taking a 4-2 decision over Joseph Heilmann thanks to a reversal in the second period that would be the final score of the match and kept the Cowboy junior on top.
At 133 pounds, Montorie Bridges withstood a late push from Gary Wayne Harding, as the Tar Heel fought back from a 4-1 deficit heading into the second period. Harding would come up short, tying the match at seven late, but it was the riding time point for Bridges that would prove to be the difference.
The Cowboys led, 17-15, heading into the final bout of the dual, with Sam Turner needing to upset No.12 A.C. Headlee to push the Cowboys over the top. After a scoreless first period, Turner was able to ride Headlee the entirety of the second to gain the upper hand with a couple of minutes of riding time going to the final frame. Turner was able to get out from bottom to get on the board before Headlee scored a takedown to take a 2-1 lead. With riding time in his favor, Turner was able to get out just in time to preserve his 3-2 decision and secure the win for the Pokes.
Cowboys Handle Army, 27-9
In their second dual of the night, Wyoming was able to take care of a tough Army team. The dual was complete with a handful of upsets by Cowboys, including a ranked win by Tate Samuelson in his first career start.
Jensen was able to bounce back from a tough go in his first match, pinning Beau Guffey in the first period to start things on a high note for the Cowboys. It was his second pin of the season.
After Army got on the board with a win at 157, the Cowboys ran off three consecutive victories to take a commanding 18-3 lead. The charge was led by Ashworth, who decked Cael McCormick in 4:02 to stretch the advantage to 12-3. It marked Ashworth's second-straight weekend with a fall.
Hastings posted an impressive victory at 174, defeating No. 12 Ben Harvey in a 3-1 decision. Hastings was clutch in picking up the third-period takedown to come away with his second career ranked win.
Samuelson got the call for the first start of his career, matching up with No. 18 Noah Stewart at 184 pounds. Trailing, 1-0, heading to the second, Samuelson escaped from bottom and followed it up with a takedown and nearfall in the final frame to come away with the 7-1 win.
After Cale Davidson came up just a few seconds short of an upset over Np. 4 Rocco Caywood, the Cowboys got back on track with wins by Brian Andrews and Cole Verner for those two to stay perfect on the night. Following those matches, Cowboy Mark McConnell got the call for the first start of his career, as he dropped Conner Ziegler, 6-2, at 133 pounds.
Cowboys Wrap Night with Win over American
The Cowboys wrapped up the night with a 25-14 win over American, in which they took seven of the 10 bouts.
Jensen earned his second-straight win with a 4-2 sudden victory decision over NCAA qualifier Michael Sprague at 149 to put the Cowboys up, 3-0, to start.
Following an Eagle win at 157, the Cowboys ran off five-straight wins, starting with a couple of bonus point wins from Ashworth and graduate transfer Anthony Lombardo.
Ashworth finished his night with a 12-3 major decision over Anthony Wokasch. The bout was never close, as Ashworth scored five takedowns and didn't allow Wokasch a single offensive point in the match.
In his first start as a Cowboy, Lombardo tallied a quick technical fall of Colin Shannon. Lombardo only needed 2:32 to rack up a takedown and five nearfalls to quickly wrap up the 16-0 tech -- his fifth in eight wins this season.
Samuelson kept rolling with a 4-2 decision over Tanner Harvey at 184, and Cale Davidson got back on track with a dominant, 15-1 major over Abraham Correa Medina in which the Cowboy redshirt freshman compiled two takedowns, two nearfalls and a reversal.
Andrews remained perfect with a 2-0 decision over Niko Camacho, and Bridges tallied a nice, 3-2 victory over No. 16 Josh Terao to wrap up a 3-0 night for him as well.