Cowboys Ready to Make Run at Big 12 Championship

UW Photo by Troy Babbitt

LARAMIE– The University of Wyoming wrestling team will venture to Tulsa, Oklahoma, for the 2018 Big 12 Championship this weekend.

The tournament opens on Saturday morning and will once again be held at the BOK Center. The preliminary matches will begin at 10 am MT on Saturday, followed by semifinals and first round of consolations at 4 pm.

The first three sessions of the championship will be streamed exclusively on FloWrestling, as Sunday’s championship finals, which are scheduled to begin at 5 pm, will be televised live on AT&T SportsNet.

Pre-seeds for the event were announced on Monday and the brackets will be finalized on Friday evening.

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Big 12 Championship Rundown

The Cowboys will send a stacked lineup to the Big 12 Championship this weekend. Seven Cowboys have experience wrestling in a Big 12 Conference Championship.

Meredith, Colgan are the only two that were a part of both the 2016 and 2017 events, while Foster competed at 133 pounds as a true freshman and Polson wrestled at 165 in 2016. Ashworth, Pope and Paine were first timers a year ago.

Bridges, Turner and Eagan will compete in postseason for the first time this weekend.

125 Pounds

After redshirting a year ago, sophomore Drake Foster will return to the Big 12 Championship at 125 pounds. He competed 133 pounds as a true freshman in 2016.

He is ranked 31st in RPI heading into postseason and is 2-4 against the field, with wins over Sean Williams of Fresno State and Sean Cannon of Northern Colorado. He owns an 18-10 overall record and will battle for one of seven spots for Nationals this weekend.

Foster will take on Iowa State’s Sinjin Briggs in the preliminary round on Saturday morning.

133 Pounds

Redshirt freshman Montorie Bridges will look to take one of five spots for the NCAA Championship this weekend. The Altus, Okla, native holds a 29-3 overall record, with a 6-1 mark against this year’s championship field.

Bridges is ranked sixth in the NCAA Coaches’ Panel Rankings and is eighth in RPI heading to postseason. Bridges was awarded a No. 2 seed for the championship and will wait to wrestle either Jake Rubio (Oklahoma) or Durbin Lloren (Utah Valley) on Saturday.

141 Pounds

Two-time All-American Bryce Meredith will look to shine once again during postseason competition. The Cheyenne native enters the Big 12 Championship with a 26-1 overall record and 8-0 mark against the field.

With a No. 1 seed for the championship, he is also at the top of the Coaches’ Panel Rankings and sixth in RPI. Meredith will challenge for one of three spots for Nationals. He will face either Utah Valley’s Matt Findlay or UNC’s Ben Polkowske in the quarterfinal round.

149 Pounds

Redshirt freshman Sam Turner will make his first postseason trip this weekend. He owns a 22-13 record and is 4-2 against the Big 12 championship field. There will be five bids to Nationals at the 149-pound weight class.

Turner is ranked 26th in the Coaches Panel Rankings. On Saturday morning, Turner will get things going against Colten Carlson of SDSU in the preliminary round.

157 Pounds

Senior Archie Colgan will look to take one of three spots to the NCAA Championship this weekend. He will enter his second Big 12 Championship with 29-7 record and 7-2 mark against the Big 12 field. Colgan sits tenth in the Coaches Panel Rankings and 23rd in RPI.

He finihed fifth at last year’s conference tournament, and as the No. 2 seed will take on the winner between Justin Thomas of Oklahoma and Fresno State’s Greg Gaxiola in the quaterfinals on Saturday.

165 Pounds

After a fifth-place finish last season, junior Branson Ashworth will return to the Big 12 Championship with the No. 1 seed. Ashworth leads UW with 31 wins this season. He is also 6-0 against those in the Big 12 field.

There will be six automatic bids up for grabs this weekend in Tulsa at the 165-pound weight class and Ashworth will wait to wrestle the winner between Nick Kiussis (Utah Valley) or Skyler St. John (Iowa State) on Saturday.

174 Pounds

Senior Kyle Pope has been the Pokes go-to guy at 174 this season and will battle for one of the five spots to move on to Nationals. He has compiled a 21-10 overall record, including 3-3 against those competing at 174 this weekend.

He placed sixth a year ago and will enter the tournament with the No. 6 seed. Pope will take on Dominic Kincaid of Fresno State in the preliminary matches on Saturday morning.

184 Pounds

After making his Big 12 Championship debut in 2016 at 165 pounds, senior Chaz Polson will be the man at 184 for the Pokes. Polson is the No. 5 seed for this weekend and has an overall record of 26-9 this season.

He is also 5-2 against the field and will face Oklahoma’s Matthew Waddell in Saturday’s preliminary matches.

197 Pounds

Senior Luke Paine will make his second appearance at the Big 12 Championship at 197 pounds for the Brown and Gold. Injury concerns held him back most of the season, but he will enter the tournament with a 4-1 overall mark.

He is 2-1 against this year’s field and will compete with Sam Colbray of Iowa State on Saturday morning.

285 Pounds

Junior Sam Eagan will make his postseason debut this weekend as the No. 8 seed at 285 pounds. Eagan is 4-4 against the heavyweight field and has a 12-11 overall mark this season. In the preliminary round, he will face Matt Wagner of Air Force.

45 Automatic Bids

The Big 12 will have 45 automatic bids to the NCAA Championships. Those 45 bids will be up for grabs at the Big 12 Championship next weekend at the BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

The Big 12 were behind the Big Ten Conference with 80 bids and Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association, which had 47 bids.

After all of the qualifying events have concluded, the NCAA Division I Wrestling Committee will meet in-person to select the remaining 47 at-large qualifiers, which will be announced on March 6.

Automatic Big 12 Conference Bids

  • 125: 7
  • 133: 5
  • 141: 3
  • 149: 5
  • 157: 3
  • 165: 6
  • 174: 5
  • 184: 4
  • 197: 4
  • 285: 3

2016 Big 12 Championship

Led by Meredith’s runner-up finish at 141 pounds, Wyoming finished in fifth-place at last season’s Big 12 Championship.

Meredith, Drew Templeman, Cole Mendenhall and Ashworth all secured their spots for the NCAA Championship, as Colgan joined them with an At-Large Bid. Oklahoma State had eight total individual champions and took home first place with 176.5 points.

UW earned 71.5 points during the two-day tournament.

For Your Entertainment

Live results can be found using the following links: Notes, ($) Live Video, Big 12 Championship Page, Brackets.

Fans are also encouraged to follow @WyoWrestle on Twitter for updates throughout the weekend.