Posted 12-2-18, Wyoming Athletics (LAS VEGAS, Nev.) – The Wyoming wrestling team wrapped up action at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational on Saturday afternoon at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
The Cowboys finished the weekend in a tie for 11th with 64.5 team points. The Brown and Gold tied with No. 11 Virginia Tech and finished ahead of No. 15 Northwestern, No. 16 Cornell and No. 18 Illinois. Wyoming picked up nearly 30 points and five spots on the leaderboard on Saturday after finishing Sunday in 16th with 36.5 points.
Four Pokes in Montorie Bridges (6th), Sam Turner (8th), Branson Ashworth (5th) and Brian Andrews (7th) ended up on the podium with top-eight finishes at the tournament. Bridges was one of four wrestlers in the field to drop his first match and battle back to finish the weekend on the podium. It marks the third-straight year that the Cowboys have placed multiple wrestlers at the event.
“I thought it was a great opportunity for me facing all of these ranked guys,” Andrews said of his first big Division I tournament. “I just went out there and wrestled and did the best I could. I came out a little short of what I wanted, but I did what I did. I thought it went really well. I had a couple of losses to some ranked guys, but I just have to come back and keep going.”
Along with his fifth-place finish, Ashworth also earned win No. 100 this weekend in Vegas. With 102 career wins to his credit following the tournament, the Cowboy senior sits in 17th on the all-time program career wins list, just a couple of wins behind 16th-place Andy McCulley’s 104.
“It means a lot,” Ashworth said. “It’s a pretty good accomplishment and it takes a lot of hard work and dedication. It isn’t just me. I’m thankful for the rest of the university, everyone who has supported me and everyone who’s gotten me to this point. It wasn’t just me that got those wins, it took hard work by my coaching staff, my parents, and my support system. It’s an awesome accomplishment and I’m obviously really proud of it but took everyone that helped me out along the way.”
Wyoming opened the morning by going four of five in blood rounds to land four Pokes on the podium at the event. Bridges dropped No. 12 Korbin Myers for a takedown in the first period of sudden victory to advance through to the consolation round of four. At 141, Sam Turner handled American’s Jake Mutchnik, 3-2, to advance on as well.
Ashworth became the third Cowboy to clinch a podium spot, shutting out Carson Brolsma of Minnesota, 3-0. Andrews wrapped up the round with a nice, 4-2, sudden victory decision over Northern Iowa’s Carter Isley. At 197, Cale Davidson came up just short in overtime to No. 9 Tom Sleigh of Virginia Tech, 1-0, to end his tournament.
In the following round, Bridges was victorious again with a 6-5 win over No. 15 Cam Sykora of North Dakota State to advance to the consolation semifinals. Ashworth followed suit with an impressive, 11-3 major decision over No. 13 Connor Flynn of Missouri.
Turner fell short in his consolation round of four bout with No. 15 Kanen Storr of Michigan, 4-3. Andrews also dropped his consolation round of four match, giving up a late fall to No. 18 Demetrius Thomas of Pittsburgh.
Bridges went toe to toe with No. 4 Luke Pletcher of Ohio State in his consolation semifinal match, pushing the Buckeye All-American—and defending CKLV champion—to sudden victory after being tied at one after regulation. Pletcher, however, would score the decisive takedown in the first sudden victory period to take the win and send Bridges to the fifth-place match.
Ashworth also faced a tough test in his consolation semifinal match, going up against top-seeded and fifth-ranked Logan Massa of Michigan. It was a first-period takedown for Massa that ended up being the difference in the bout, as Ashworth took the riding time point but ultimately came up short, 3-2.
In the placing matches, Andrews and Ashworth picked up medical forfeits in their respective bouts to take seventh and fifth, respectively. Bridges dropped a tough, 10-4 decision to No. 8 No. 8 John Erneste of Missouri in his match to finish sixth, while Turner lost in a 5-3 decision to Samuel Krivus of Virginia to take seventh.
The Cowboys will return home next weekend to host No. 19 North Dakota State on Saturday at 5 p.m. in the Arena-Auditorium.