Posted 12-30-18, Wyoming Athletics (FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.) –The 18th-ranked Wyoming wrestling team split matches against top-10 foes Saturday at the South Beach Duals, defeating No. 4 NC State by criteria before falling to No. 6 Cornell to wrap up the day.

“Obviously, we had a huge win this morning,” head coach Mark Branch said. “We’re probably a little short on talent against that team, but I definitely think we outworked them. Bonus points on both ends at 125 and heavyweight were the difference and it was huge. There were some opportunities for points at a couple of different weights, so we could have been in a little better position going into heavyweight, but Brian (Andrews) scored a huge fall for us.

“We came out a little flat in our match against Cornell. We had our work cut out for us in those two duals today. We just didn’t wrestle sharp against Cornell. At 149 and 157, we were in position to win those matches and lost them late which deflated our team and swung momentum to them. When you have two top-10 teams on your schedule and you come away with a win, you’ve got to feel pretty good about that. We’ve seen some inconsistency with such a young team, but we’re getting into the part of the year where we need those guys to start being consistent.”

In their first dual of the day the Cowboys upset No. 4 NC State on criteria, despite the Wolfpack owning one of the strongest lineups top-to-bottom in the country with nine top-16 wrestlers and five in the top 10. The team would come up short to No. 6 Cornell, 23-9.

The Cowboys will match up with Michigan State and SIUE on Sunday to wrap up their South Beach trip. They’ll face the Spartans at 9 a.m. MT and the Cougars at 11 a.m. MT. Fans can watch live on Trackwrestling.

Cowboys Post Historic Upset over No. 4 NC State

The Cowboys opened the day with a 22-21 criteria win over No. 4 NC State. The victory marked the highest-ranked win for the Pokes on record in the program’s history, as well as the first top 10 win since 2012, when the Cowboys dropped No. 10 Oklahoma. It was also the third top-10 win of the Branch era.

The Cowboys started the first dual of the day on a high note as Cowboy junior Cole Verner pinned No. 7 Sean Fausz of NC State in the first period to take a 6-0 lead. Verner got the takedown over Fausz just 40 seconds into the bout, before getting the pin in 2:20.

The Wolfpack got on the board in the second bout of the dual as Montorie Bridges came up just short to No. 4 Tariq Wilson at 133. Bridges took a 3-2 lead into the second period after the two traded takedowns in the opening frame. Wilson scored a second takedown in the second period, but a couple of escapes from Bridges, maintained his 5-4 lead heading into the third. In the final period, Wilson was awarded a penalty point and another for escaping from bottom to come out with the 6-5 decision and cut Wyoming’s lead to 6-3.

Coming off a strong day in Reno last week, Sam Turner kept rolling with a win over No. 15 Jamal Morris. Turner racked up a takedown and four-point nearfall in the match, nearly riding out the full third period for a would-be major decision. The Cowboy sophomore still dominated the match for an 8-1 win.

NC State would take a 14-9 lead in the following two matches with a fall over Cowboy Jed Loveless by fourth-ranked Justin Oliver and a 21-6 technical fall over Dewey Krueger by No. 5 Hayden Hidlay.

At 165 pounds, Branson Ashworth moved to 16-3 on the year and 7-3 against ranked opponents with an 8-1 decision over No. 16 Thomas Bullard to pull the Pokes back to within two at 14-12. Ashworth dominated the match, picking up a couple of takedowns and not allowing Bullard a single offensive point on the way to a convincing triumph.

NC State added a couple more wins at 174 and 184, stretching the deficit to 21-12 with just two matches to go.

Cale Davidson picked up a big upset for the Pokes at 197 pounds, dropping No. 16 Malik McDonald, 8-6, to pull Wyoming within six from the Wolfpack. After a scoreless first period, Davidson picked up a reversal and nearfall in the second to take a 6-0 lead into the third. The lead would be too much for McDonald to fight back from as Davidson snagged the victory to give the Cowboys a chance.

Heavyweight Brian Andrews matched up with Deonte Wilson, needing a fall to tie the dual and send it to criteria. Andrews picked up a takedown in the opening minute of the bout before turning Wilson for the fall to get the tie for the Pokes. With two pins to NC State’s one, Wyoming took the dual on criteria.

No. 18 Wyoming 22, No. 4 NC State 21
Dec. 29, 2018  |  Fort Lauderdale, Fla. | South Beach Duals
125: Cole Verner (WYO) fall No. 7 Sean Fausz (NCST) 2:20
133: No. 4 Tariq Wilson (NCST) dec. No. 12 Montorie Bridges (WYO) 6-5
141: No. 15 Sam Turner (WYO) dec. No. 15 Jamal Morris (NCST) 8-1
149: No. 4 Justin Oliver (NCST) fall Jed Loveless (WYO) 2:20
157: No. 5 Hayden Hidlay (NCST) MD Dewey Krueger (WYO) 20-6
165: No. 7 Branson Ashworth (WYO) dec. No. 16 Thomas Bullard (NCST) 8-1
174: No. 14 Daniel Bullard (NCST) MD Hayden Hastings (WYO) 15-3
184: No. 3 Nick Reenan (NCST) dec. Carless Looney (WYO) 8-5
197: Cale Davidson (WYO) dec. No. 16 Malik McDonald (NCST) 8-6
HWT: No. 19 Brian Andrews (WYO) fall Deonte Wilson (NCST) 2:43

Cowboys Fall to Cornell

Cornell drew the first punch of the dual, coming up with a 7-4 decision over Verner by No. 13 Vitali Arujau at 125 pounds.

Bridges would tie the match at 133 pounds, coming up with a 2-1 tiebreaker win over No. 13 Charles Tucker of Cornell. Tied at 1-all at the end of regulation, the two grapplers headed to sudden victory, where neither could score in the opening minute of overtime. Bridges, however, was able to ride out the first 30 seconds of the tiebreaker period and escape from bottom early in the final 30 seconds to come away with tie 2-1 win. It marked the fourth ranked win of the season for Bridges.

After the Big Red rattled off three-straight wins at 141, 149 and 157, Ashworth got the Cowboys back on the board with a 6-0 decision over Milik Dawkins. Ashworth was dominant in the match, racking up a takedown and several minutes of riding time for his second win of the day.

The Big Red picked up a couple more wins in the following two matches, with No. 14 Brandon Womack earning a 6-0 win over Casey Randles at 174 and No. 6 Max Dean recording a technical fall over Carless Looney at 184.

The Cowboys would respond at 197, as Cale Davidson earned a 5-3 win over Jacob Taylor at 197 to break the Big Red run. Trailing, 2-1, heading into the final frame, Davidson was able to escape from bottom and record a takedown in the third to essentially clinch the win over Taylor.

No. 6 Cornell 23, No. 18 Wyoming 9
Dec. 29, 2018  |  Fort Lauderdale, Fla. | South Beach Duals
125: Vitali Arujau (COR) dec Cole Verner (WYO) 7-4
133: No. 12 Montorie Bridges (WYO) dec. No. 13 Charles Tucker (COR) 2-1, TB1
141: No. 1 Yianni Diakomihalis (COR) MD No. 15 Sam Turner (WYO) 14-6
149: Chris Schoenherr (COR) dec. Jaron Jensen (WYO) 8-7
157: No. 18 Fredy Stroker (COR) dec. Dewey Krueger (WYO) 7-6
165: No. 7 Branson Ashworth (WYO) dec. Milik Dawkins (COR) 6-0
174: No. 14 Brandon Womack (COR) dec. Casey Randles (WYO) 6-0
184: No. 6 Max Dean (COR) TF Carless Looney (WYO) 17-2
197: Cale Davidson (WYO) dec. Jacob Taylor (COR) 5-3
HWT: Jeramy Sweany (COR) dec. No. 19 Brian Andrews (WYO) 6-5