TULSA, Okla. -- The Wyoming wrestling squad had a solid first day of competition at the Big 12 Championships in Tulsa, Okla inside the BOK Center. Cole Moody (165), Tate Samuelson (184), Stephen Buchanan (197) and Brian Andrews (285) advanced to the Big 12 finals Saturday night and earned automatic qualification to the NCAA Championships.
"It was a fun day, our guys wrestled tough and we had a lot of tight matches and most of them we won and that makes a big difference. Those guys fought back hard in the consolation matches and kept us in the conversation" Head Coach Mark Branch said "It's been a fun day of competing and watching our guys grow and fight hard"
At 165 pounds Moody earned his first trip to the Big 12 finals in exciting fashion. In the Quarterfinals, he outlasted Jordan Robison (UNC) in a barn burner, 17-10. In the semifinals Moody would have a rematch against Peyton Hall (WVU) who bested Moody earlier this season. This time around however it would be Moody getting his hand raised gutting out a 5-4 decision. This is also the first time in his career that Moody has qualified for the NCAA Championships.
Samuelson went 3-0 on the day outscoring his opponents 25-7 in those the victories. In the quarterfinals Samuelson would be tested going to overtime against Darrien Roberts (OU). Samuelson opened things up in overtime, throwing Roberts to his back and sealing the 9-3 victory. In the semifinals Samuelson kept the momentum going knocking off Dakota Geer (OSU) 6-2. This will be the first Big 12 finals appearance of Samuelson's career and his third straight NCAA qualification.
Buchanan would also go 3-0, highlighting his day with a semifinal win over Noah Adams (WVU). It is the third time this season that Buchanan and Adams have met and the third time that Buchanan has won. This time Buchanan used a late takedown and a ride out to get his hand raised. For Buchanan, it is his first time making the Big 12 finals and second time qualifying for the NCAA tournament.
At heavyweight Andrews returned to action after being out for a month and he didn't miss a beat. Andrews cruised past Dalton Robertson (UNC) in the quaterfinals, 12-1 and then battled his way to a 4-3 semifinal victory over Branden Metz (NDSU). This is the second straight Big 12 finals appearance for Andrews.
Hayden Hastings (174) and Jaron Jensen (149) both picked up quarterfinal victories before falling in the semifinals. Jacob Wright (157) and Chase Zollmann (149) are also both still alive in the tournament with each wrestler picking up two wins on the consolation side of the bracket.
As a team, the Cowboys are in second place after the first day of competition with 97 team points. Oklahoma sits in first with 107 points while Oklahoma State is in a tight third with 96 points. With each time having at least three finalists it will be a very tight team race for the Big 12 title.
The Cowboys will be back in action tomorrow at 9 a.m. MT for the medal rounds which will be streamed on Big 12 Now on ESPN+. Tomorrow night's finals are set to begin at 4 p.m. MT and will be live on ESPN2.