by staff–28 Jan ’19
– The No. 8/11 Wyoming wrestling team earned its eighth-straight win on Sunday afternoon, handling West Virginia in a 33-15 battle in the UniWyo Sports Complex.
Along with taking the 125-pound match by forfeit, the Cowboys (12-3, 3-1 Big 12) racked up three falls in the win, putting the Mountaineers away quickly with under hour between the dual’s first and last whistles. Wyoming picked up wins in the only two ranked-versus-ranked bouts, and won six of the nine contested bouts on the day.
“They were important wins, especially with Big 12 seeding around the corner,” head coach Mark Branch said. “Those are going to help put us in the right place in the bracket…I still want to see our guys be more aggressive. There was some frustration there with our guys not opening up as much as they’re capable of, but they got important wins. It was frustrating to see a couple of our guys on the wrong side of a couple of pins, but we needed them on the other side and we got them from Tony (Lombardo), Tate (Samuelson) and Sam (Turner), so that was gratifying to see,”
With their eighth-straight win, the Pokes tie the fourth-longest win streak in program history and longest since the 2012 season. The team also moved to 2-0 all-time against the Mountaineers.
West Virginia started the dual with a 6-0 lead, as Zach Moore earned the first-period fall over Cowboy redshirt freshman Jed Loveless at 157; however, the Pokes ran off 15-straight points over the next three bouts.
Branson Ashworth got the Cowboys on the board at 165 pounds, dropping No. 19 Nick Kiussis in a 2-0 win. Ashworth earned his 11th-straight victory dating back to December and also picked up his eighth ranked win of the season. The Cowboy senior has earned more ranked wins this season than his previous three combined.
At 174, graduate transfer Anthony Lombardo got the start for the Pokes, racking up a takedown and a couple of nearfalls before dropping James Wujek for the fall about 10 seconds before the conclusion of the first period. The win, which would end up giving Wyoming the lead for good, moved Lombardo to 9-3 overall on the year and 2-0 in duals.
Freshman Tate Samuelson extended his dual record to 5-0 and earned the first dual pin of his career at 184 pounds. Matched up with Jackson Moomau, Samuelson scored on a takedown less than a minute into the first period before decking Moomau for the pin in 1:50 to put the Pokes up, 15-6.
The Mountaineers got back to within three after a Noah Adams pin over Cowboy Cale Davidson, but heavyweight Brian Andrews responded with a 4-0 shutout win over Brandon Ngati to stretch the Wyoming advantage to 18-12. Andrews led, 1-0, heading to the final period, and was able to secure riding time with a full-period ride following a two-point nearfall with five seconds to go. Andrews moved to 25-7 overall and an impressive 12-3 in duals with the victory.
Circling back to the top of the lineup, Brock George got his hand raised at 125 pounds, as West Virginia was forced to forfeit the bout.
Montorie Bridges earned a big win at 133, dropping No. 14 Matthew Schmitt in a 3-2 win. Bridges led nearly wire to wire, getting a takedown midway through the opening period and not allowing Schmitt an offensive point in the match. Bridges has now won eight-straight matches, and 12 of his 15 dual starts on the year. The win was his sixth over a ranked opponent this season.
Redshirt sophomore Sam Turner put an exclamation point on the win for the Pokes, pinning Luke Martin in just over a minute and a half to push Wyoming over the 30-point mark for the dual. The win was Turner’s 20th of the season and the fall marked his third of the year.
West Virginia closed out the dual with a 16th-ranked Christian Monserrat 8-4 decision over Cowboy Jaron Jensen in the 149-pound bout.
The Cowboys will head West next weekend for a pair of Super Bowl Sunday duals in California. The Pokes will open the day at 1 p.m. MT in Fresno with a matchup against the Big 12 rival Bulldogs of Fresno State. The team will then make the trip about an hour and a half south to do battle with CSU-Bakersfield at 7 p.m. MT.