LARAMIE – Wyoming will head to Orem, Utah, on Saturday afternoon to face Big 12 foe Utah Valley, before squaring off against Pac -12 member Boise State in Afton, Wyo., on Monday. The dual on Saturday will begin at 4 p.m. MT while Monday’s contest will start at 6 p.m. at Star Valley high school.
Live video and results will be provided for both duals. Trackwrestling will have live results while Utah Valley will feature live video on Saturday at wolverinegreen.com. Monday’s dual will be streamed in cooperation with SVI Media and will be available for free on GoWyo.com.
Wyoming in the Rankings
The Pokes once again have five wrestlers within the national rankings. UW is led by junior All-American Bryce Meredith, who is ranked No. 8 by several organizations. Drew Templeman (No. 16) at 125-pounds, Branson Ashworth (No. 16) at 165 and Archie Colgan (No. 19) at 157 are all ranked in the top-20 of their respective weights in the InterMat Individual rankings. Cole Mendenhall finds himself ranked as high as 23rd by Trackwrestling.
Five Pokes appeared on the first NCAA Coaches’ Panel rankings, which were released last Friday morning. Meredith led UW as the eighth ranked wrestler (141 pounds) followed by Ashworth ranked 13th at 165 pounds. Templeman is 14th at 125, while Colgan is ranked 17th (157 pounds). Mendenhall rounds out the Pokes as the 20th-ranked wrestler at 149 pounds.
The first National Wrestling Coaches Association and the National Duals Selection Committee Mid-Major Top-20 poll was announced on Thursday morning. It will concentrate on programs outside the traditional Power 5 conferences. Wyoming was one of four Big 12 schools in the poll. South Dakota State ranked fifth, with North Dakota State following behind at No. 7. The Pokes are ranked No. 19, as Utah Valley is the 20th-ranked team in the NWCA/NDS Mid-Major Top-20.
The Series with Utah Valley
The Pokes are 10-1 all-time against Utah Valley in a series that dates back to 2005. The Cowboys have won eight straight duals against the Wolverines with head coach Mark Branch sporting an impressive 8-0 record against UVU. Last season in Laramie, UW won 29-10 behind a pair of early pins from Meredith and Chaz Polson.
Utah Valley is 4-2 overall and 1-0 in the Big 12 conference. The Wolverines are recently coming off a 21-17 win over CSU Bakersfield and have won three straight duals.
The Series with Boise State
Wyoming and the Boise State have met 27 times with each squad holding 13 wins, in addition to a tie during the 1997-98 season. In what was UW’s last outreach event, the Pokes also defeated Boise State in Rock Springs, Wyo., during the 2014-15 season by a score of 37-3. Just a year ago, the Cowboy wrestlers used a major decision and pin in the first two matches on their way to a 33-6 win over the Broncos in Boise, Idaho.
Boise State is 1-5 overall with a 1-1 mark in the Pac-12. The Broncos will host Stanford on Saturday before making the trip to Star Valley. Boise State was lost four-consecutive duals with the most recent being a 21-17 defeat from CSU Bakersfield.
Last Time Out
Three bonus point wins helped the University of Wyoming wrestling team to a convincing 32-3 win over Cal Poly last Friday night. The dominating performance proved to be the sixth-straight win for UW over the Mustangs.
He Said It
“These Big 12 matches are always critical,” UW head coach Mark Branch said. “We don’t necessarily look at them any different but it being against a conference opponent we know there are implications for seeding in the Big 12 tournament. Boise State has made a coaching change and they are already improved from last year. Coach Mendoza is stepping into a program that has a lot of success and I expect them to be very much ready for a fight as they will be a big challenge for us.”
“We may have an advantage in crowd size but at the same time it really is on neutral ground,” Branch added regarding the dual in Afton, Wyo. “There will be more than one challenge for that dual. Typically when we do these outreach events, we have a tremendous crowd. I think that area is excited for Cowboy Wrestling to make the trip that way and like they always are, I am sure it will be a great environment.”
“We are going to bring a few more extra guys for this trip,” Branch mentioned. “I think we are getting closer to figuring out what our best lineup is, but some guys still need to solidify themselves by going out and wrestling cowboy tough. We are looking for the guys that will be tough as nails and put up a fight. We only have a handful of duals left but we are getting better chemistry and improving each day.”
After this weekend, Wyoming will welcome Air Force for a Feb. 4 dual. The contest is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. MT.
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