Cowboy wrestling struggles on senior day

Redshirt senior Cole Mendenhall wrestles opponent Mitch Friedman and wins by major decison, 13-4. The Cowoys will next wrestle at the Big XII championships in Tulsa, Oklahoma on March 4-5. (Photo by Katy Grogan)

The University of Wyoming wrestling team dropped their last regular season dual to No. 25 North Dakota State this past Sunday. The Bison took the hard fought dual 24-16 on the Cowboys Senior Day, but not without a few tough UW victories.

Kyle Pope got the Cowboys off to a nice start with a 10-5 win over NDSU’s Dylan Urbach.

“I liked how we started the dual this afternoon, it was a good feeling with how Kyle (Pope) started for us,” head coach Mark Branch said. “I think there was a couple of our guys that continued fighting and worked hard out there, but it just wasn’t enough. Win or lose, I want our guys to be an inspiration. I have said it for a while now, I have no doubt that we have a dual team that can make noise looking ahead.”

Bryce Meredith, Cole Mendenhall and Branson Ashworth also picked up victories for the Cowboys on Sunday.

No. 8 Meredith earned a fall with a pin against NDSU’s Taylor Nein. The 141-pound match only lasted 1:52.

Mendenhall defeated Mitch Friedman by major decision 13-4. The win included three takedowns and a reversal that sealed the deal for the Cowboy. This was Mendenhall’s fourth major of the season and the only win for a UW senior on Senior Day.

“I just wanted to put on a show,” Mendenhall said. “I just had to put my head down and battle. The crowd was awesome.”

Coach Branch added to Mendenhall’s comments saying, “Cole (Mendenhall) wrestled really well. He wrestled really hard and at a fast pace and was able to pick up the major for us.”

No. 16 Ashworth followed this with a 6-2 win over Brandon Fogarty in the 165-pound match.

In the end, NDSU defeated the Cowboys with wins over Chaz Polson, Nate Shaw, Drew Templeton, Gunnar Woodburn, Archie Colgan and Brandon Tribble.

Even with the loss that puts the Cowboy wrestling team at 7-8 overall and 4-4 in the Big 12.

“We are still in it,” Branch said. “We can still have a good showing at the Big XII tournament and NCAAs. We got guys that believe in themselves and if they continue to get better over the 3-5 weeks, they can end up on the podium and score some points for us.”

The Cowboys next challenge will be the Big XII championships in Tulsa, Oklahoma on March 4-5.

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