Cowboy Wrestling Holds Off Beavers

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by staff–14 Jan ’19

The 11th-ranked Wyoming wrestling team earned its sixth-straight win on Sunday afternoon, fighting off Oregon State in a thrilling, 22-16 win inside the UniWyo Sports Complex. The win marks the Pokes’ third-straight win in the series with the Beavers.

The Cowboys (10-3) won six of the ten bouts, including a fall from senior Branson Ashworth at 165 pounds and a major decision from Montorie Bridges at 133. Wyoming was able to win the dual outright and avoid the result being decided by criteria thanks to a win by Cowboy redshirt sophomore Jaron Jensen in the final bout of the night.

“It was a nail-biter and a hard-earned win,” head coach Mark Branch said. “We had some guys that got a chance to be the hero. That was good for Jaron. It’s difficult being in that situation, having to carry the balance of everything that had happened previous to that.

“You go back and look at how every point matters. We were trying to figure out if they tied it whether we’d win on criteria. You go back to the guys and emphasize that every point matters. Montorie picking up the major and Branson getting the pin, those were huge because who knows what happens in that last match?”

The two teams traded blows for the opening four matches. Oregon State took an early, 4-0 lead in the dual after No. 18 Hunter Willits defeated Cowboy Dewey Krueger by 10-0 major decision. The Pokes took their first lead of the dual at 6-4 as Ashworth recorded a quick, first-period fall over Colton Beisley in 2:10. Ashworth has now recorded nine-straight wins with six-straight coming with bonus points.

The Beavers took a 7-6 lead at 174 pounds with a Colt Doyle 4-2 decision over redshirt freshman Hayden Hastings; however, Wyoming answered right back as freshman Tate Samuelson recorded an 8-2 decision over Bob Coleman to move to 3-0 in duals for his season. The Castle Rock, Colo., native recorded a takedown in all three periods and took the riding time point to put Coleman away and allow Wyoming to take a 9-7 lead.

The Cowboys led, 12-7, at the halfway point after redshirt freshman Cale Davidson took a 6-2 victory over Jamarcus Grant. Grant tallied the first takedown of the bout, but following a quick Davidson escape after the takedown and another to open the second period, the Cowboy got to the third frame tied up at two apiece with a stall warning already on Grant. Davidson put together a full-period ride in the final period to lock up riding time, paired with three more stalling calls on Grant before the final buzzer.

Oregon State wouldn’t roll over, getting wins from No. 4 heavyweight Amar Dhesi and No. 3 Ronnie Bresser at 125 pounds to regain a 16-12 lead with only three bouts to go in the dual.

The Cowboys tied the match in the next bout, with All-American Montorie Bridges picking up a crucial major decision over Kegan Calkins. Bridges was in command of the match from wire to wire, racking up five takedowns and a minute and a half of riding time on the way to the 13-5 major. It marked the fifth major of the season for Bridges, which leads all starters.

Sam Turner came up big in the 141-pound match, compiling a trio of takedowns and nearly three minutes of riding time to notch a 9-3 win over Grant Willits and give the Pokes the 19-16 advantage heading into the final bout.

With one match remaining, Wyoming needed a win from 149-pounder Jaron Jensen over the Beavers’ Josh Reyes to secure the outright dual victory.

“You get into your own head if you sit there and put so much pressure on yourself,” Jensen said. “At the end of the day it’s something I’ve been doing since I was four, so I just needed to go out there and win.”

Reyes struck first with a takedown in the opening minute of the match. Jensen was able to escape within 40 seconds, and tie the match in the following period with a quick escape from the bottom position to begin the frame.

Following a Reyes escape to open the third, the Cowboy needed to put a score and rideout together in order to clinch the match. After over a minute of trading shots on their feet, Jensen was able to get in on a shot and convert on a takedown on the edge of the mat with 31 seconds to go. When Reyes couldn’t get out from bottom before the final buzzer, Jensen was crowned the winner in a 4-3 decision.

“I walked back to the center of the mat for the final 20-second ride and everyone was pounding their feet on the stands,” Jensen said. “It was awesome. It was super cool to hear it so loud in there.”

The Cowboys will be back in action in the UniWyo on Friday night at 7 p.m. against Big 12 foe Air Force.