17 April, 2013
April 15, 2013
LARAMIE, Wyo. - A total of 29 individual honors were announced Saturday by the University of Wyoming wrestling coaching staff at the year-end team banquet.
Four annual awards, named for former UW head coaches, were distributed, along with academic awards and recognition for UW's NCAA qualifiers and seniors.
Senior Alfonso Hernandez was given the Everett Lantz Most Outstanding Wrestler Award. The senior leader had a stellar season, garnering All-America honors for the second time and finishing seventh in the nation at 197 pounds. He leaves UW as one of only six multiple All-America wrestlers in team history, and compiled 120 wins over four seasons, which ranks him No. 8 in school history for total wins.
Hernandez added another honor, the Steven Suder High-Point Award, for the second-straight season. The honor is bestowed to an individual for his total dual points and grade-point average.
The Joe McDaniel Most Improved Wrestler Award went to sophomore 125-pounder Tyler Cox. In his first career trip to nationals, Cox placed eighth to earn All-America status and finished the season with a 35-11 mark.
Sophomore Andy McCulley was honored for his toughness and resolve as he received the Joe Dowler Cowboy Up Award. McCulley led UW with 11 falls and made his first trip to NCAAs this season.
Seven 2013 NCAA qualifiers were given plaques for their accomplishment, including Cox, Hernandez and McCulley, along with seniors McCade Ford and L.J. Helbig. Other NCAA qualifiers were sophomores Brandon Richardson and Shane Woods. Cox and Hernandez were given watches for their All-America finishes.
26 March, 2013
March 22, 2013
DES MOINES, Iowa -
For the third-straight season, the University of Wyoming wrestling program can boast two All-Americans in its ranks. Two Cowboys, sophomore Tyler Cox and senior Alfonso Hernandez, secured top-eight finishes Friday with stellar performances on Day Two of the NCAA Wrestling Championships.
With one day remaining, the Cowboys sit in 23rd place with 19.5 points in the team standings. UW now has had eight All-American performances in head coach Mark Branch's five seasons, and a total of 31 in program history.
A two-time All-American, Hernandez had designs on a national title, but those plans were derailed in the quarterfinals. The senior had an early 5-2 lead over Oregon State's Taylor Meeks, but was put to his back by Meeks and suffered a pin. The loss moved him to the consolations. That's when he earned his second-straight All-America honor by defeating Iowa's Nathan Burak in a 6-3 decision. He wrestled Iowa State's Kyven Gadson later in the evening, and dropped a 12-4 major decision.
Hernandez will face Oklahoma State's Blake Rosholt in the seventh/eighth-place match Saturday morning.
"Fonz is in a lot of pain right now. He is physically pretty beat up and he has been for about the last two months," Branch said. "He just keeps going and giving us everything he's got and I'm proud of him. It's obviously not where he wanted to finish, but he wrestles with a lot of pride. He'll finish out his career as a two-time All-American, and that is quite an accomplishment."
UW's other honoree, Cox, had an efficient day, winning three matches in the consolation bracket en route to earning All-America status for the first time in his career.
Cox, seeded 12th, put together a solid performance to upset two higher seeds Friday. He began by beating 11th-seeded Nikko Triggas (Ohio State) in his first match in a 9-4 decision, then came right back with a 13-7 victory over Oklahoma State's Eddie Klimara. In the final match of the night, Cox was dominant in his effort versus seventh-seeded Nathan Krassier of North Carolina. Cox built up a 6-1 lead after the first period and kept pouring it on, winning a 19-7 major decision. The only blemish of his day was a 6-2 loss to ninth-seeded Trent Sprenkle of North Dakota State.
"I'm really proud of Tyler, battling back after a tough second-round loss (on Thursday) to go to the consolations," Wyoming coach Mark Branch said. "That's a tough way to come back to be an All-American. It was really impressive, the maturity he showed. This shows you how tough it is, and what level it takes to be an All-American."
He will face Minnesota's David Thorn in the seventh/eighth-place match at 9 a.m. MT.
UW's other two wrestlers who were alive in their bracket Friday went 0-1, including sophomore Brandon Richardson and senior McCade Ford. But there's still more to wrestle for Saturday for Wyoming, including higher placing and team points.
"It's always good to be weighing in guys on Saturday," Branch said. "There are a lot of programs not doing that. It shows our program is still doing well in a little bit of a down year."
The final rounds of the NCAA Championship will begin at 9 a.m. MT Saturday, with finals beginning at 6 p.m. MT. Morning medal rounds can be seen on ESPNU, while finals can be seen on ESPN.
McCade Ford, 141 pounds (1-2)
Brandon Richardson, 149 pounds (1-2)
Andy McCulley, 157 pounds (0-2)
L.J. Helbig, 174 pounds (1-2)
Shane Woods, 184 pounds (0-2)
Championship first round: Hernandez maj. dec. Caleb Kolb (Nebraska), 15-5
Championship second round: Hernandez tech. fall Nick Whitenburg (Eastern Michigan), 19-4
Championship quarterfinals: Fifth-seed Taylor Meeks (Oregon State) fall (4:54) Hernandez
Consolation fourth round: Hernandez dec. Nathan Burak (Iowa), 6-3
Consolation quarterfinals: Sixth-seed Kyven Gadson (Iowa State) maj. dec. Hernandez, 12-4
26 March, 2013
You just earned your first All-America honor over the weekend in Des Moines in your first trip to the national tournament. How are you feeling about your performance at NCAAs?
I'm super stoked! I trained hard all year and it was nice to get rewarded at the end.
Describe the environment at an NCAA Wrestling Championship. Is it easy to be distracted by the surroundings and how do you stay focused on your match?
It's crazy! There are signs everywhere with the national logo on it and tons of people. I used my coaches and music mainly to stay focused.
You also wrestled well at the NCAA West Regional a few weeks ago. What did you do to both mentally and physically prepare to build momentum toward the end of the season?
Just kept focusing on my goals and training hard!
From these recent successes at big-time tournaments, what have you learned you need to do to progress moving forward?
Just keep training hard and listen to my coaches; they know how to win and know what it takes.
Out of high school, you had a few offers from other programs. What ultimately led you to choose your native state of Wyoming?
Coach Branch! I believe in what he wants to do here and want to help him achieve it!
When did you start wrestling, and when did you realize it was a sport you could go somewhere with?
I started when I was four. I first realized it was my sport when I won my first kids state title. I think I was eight or nine.
What do you enjoy doing with any free time you have outside of wrestling and school?
I like to be outdoors, snowboarding, and spending time with my team and family
What did you enjoy most about growing up in the state of Wyoming?
I loved being so close to the mountains
Although it's a couple of years away, what are your career plans with a degree in criminal justice?
I want to become a police officer and see how that goes, but I want to eventually go into the FBI.
26 March, 2013
North Dakota State's Trent Sprenkle (125) placed fifth, while Wyoming's Alfonso Hernandez (197) finished seventh and Tyler Cox (125) eighth.
March 23, 2013
DES MOINES, Iowa -- Three Western Wrestling Conference grapplers earned All-America honors Saturday at the 2013 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships in Des Moines, Iowa. North Dakota State senior Trent Sprenkle led the way by placing fifth at 125 pounds while Wyoming senior Alfonso Hernandez finished seventh at 197 and his teammate sophomore Tyler Cox placed eighth at 125.
Hernandez stepped on the podium for his second consecutive season after he finished sixth a year ago while both Sprenkle and Cox earned their first All-America honors first. Sprenkle also became North Dakota State's first All-American since the school jumped to the Division I level and the seventh in its school history.
The ninth-seeded Sprenkle secured his All-American finish with one of the biggest upsets of the tournament as he pulled out a 3-1 sudden victory win over the former two-time national champion and three-time national finalist Matt McDonough of Iowa on Friday night. Sprenkle then capped his tournament run with a 7-2 decision over No. 5 Jarrod Garnett of Virginia Tech in the fifth-place bout on Saturday. Sprenkle went an impressive 6-2 at the tournament.
Hernandez became an All-American for the second time in his career by placing seventh on Saturday. The fourth-seeded Wyoming senior finished seventh after he defeated No. 11 Blake Rosholt, 7-4, in the seventh-place bout on Saturday. Hernandez went 4-2 at his final NCAA Championships.
Cox placed eighth at 125 pounds after he dropped the seventh-place bout to Minnesota's David Thorn by fall on Saturday. The 12th-seeded Cowboy went 4-3 to earn his first All-American finish.
In all 19 wrestlers competed for the WWC at the NCAA Championships this weekend, and 12 of them made it to day two of the three-day event.
In the team race, Wyoming led the conference as it finished 23rd with 20.5 points. North Dakota State was next by coming in 30th place with 15.5 points. Overall there were 72 teams that competed at this year's championships.
The Western Wrestling Conference is comprised of six schools including the Air Force Academy, North Dakota State, Northern Colorado, South Dakota State, Utah Valley and Wyoming.
By Casper Star-Tribune
30 December, 2012
After he had reviewed the phases of motor development in kinesiology, simplified complex problems drawn on a dusty chalkboard in algebra and calculated genotypes using the Hardy Weinberg equilibrium model in genetics, Alfonso Hernandez had 30 minutes to relax before starting a 2-hour wrestling practice that would leave him drenched in sweat. It was 12:30 p.m. on a Tuesday.
“There are times when I don’t want to do it,” Hernandez said from a couch in the Wyoming wrestling locker room. “I don’t want to go write this term paper, or something. I just want to stay home and watch a movie or do something else. But then I tell myself that’s what most people would do. And I’m not most people."
Hernandez is many things. He is one of the nation’s best 197-pound collegiate wrestlers, a senior who has won 20 matches so far this season and only lost one — a one-point decision to the defending national champion. He is a husband, and a father of two. He is a kinesiology major with a 3.65 GPA who is preparing for his second round of MCATs and determined to go to medical school.
In short, Hernandez is a 23-year-old who seems much older than he is, a young man who seems to succeed in every aspect of his life.
He says he made a decision to change his life. He said he now enjoys the process of working tirelessly toward his goals even though he never lets himself be satisfied with his success. It's an approach to life he has developed over the years — one that he hopes will continue to inspire those around him.
“Wherever your life is right now, if you’re going down the wrong road, you can easily turn it around and succeed," he said.
Things weren't always this way. Before Hernandez was a wrestler, he was a fighter.
After his parents divorced when he was in second grade, he often got into trouble for beating up his elementary school classmates in Idaho.
“I was a big bully,” he said.
The misbehavior continued in junior high. When he skipped class and stole fireworks from a friend's stepfather's house, he received three months of probation for petty larceny. That mistake made a boy ask himself an adult question.
“What path am I going on right now?" Hernandez remembers thinking. "Right now, it’s petty theft. In the future, what is it going to be? Am I going to be doing drugs? Am I going to be stealing cars? This is definitely not the way I want to go.”
He says that's when the fights and trouble with the law ended. Hernandez worked harder in school and excelled at football — the sport he believed he would play in college. But wrestling offered something unexpected. It made his worries go away. It made stress, anxiety and anger dissolve.
“It’s just my moment,” he said.
Blackfoot High (Idaho) wrestling coach Brian Barlow, who has since retired, watched an inexperienced wrestler win based on sheer will. He watched Hernandez beat better opponents by forcing them to quit. He outworked them until he won.
And he did win. Hernandez placed fifth at state as a sophomore. The following seasons, he won back-to-back state championships at 189 then 215 pounds.
"He's just got such indomitable spirit," Barlow said. "I've never been associated with anything so strong in my whole life."
Barlow watched the same spirit show in other ways. He saw Hernandez graduate high school as a National Honor Society Member with a 3.7 GPA. He knew Herndandez proposed to his high school sweetheart, Stephanie, at the age of 18, before the two had their first son, Aiden.
In situations where others might pull away or panic, Barlow saw Hernandez thrive.
"He came from a disadvantaged youth, with split parents in poor economic conditions,” Barlow said. “He didn't have stability. That's where Fonz is probably special. He realized all of this. He realized he controls his destiny. He controls his pride and how he is perceived. He has always had a vision, a wisdom beyond his age ... His pride always elevates him to the upper level, whether it be in social situations or athletics. He has just always seemed to take control of his destiny."
Spend time with Hernandez and it shows. His approach to life rubs off on those around him.
Wyoming wrestling coach Mark Branch asks his team to follow Hernandez's example. He wishes others would find the drive that led Hernandez to a sixth-place finish at the NCAA tournament last year — a feat that came after Hernandez had missed the previous season do to a back injury that required surgery.
Wyoming wrestlers, like 125-pound sophomore Tyler Cox, say Hernandez makes every wrestler in every weight class better. When the best wrestler in the room works the hardest, no one else has an excuse to take it easy.
Wyoming professors feel it, too. They smile when Hernandez raises his hand to ask or answer questions, or scribbles notes into one of the 3-inch black binders he keeps for every class.
“He’s inspiring,” Barlow said. “People gain strength from him.”
Hernandez knows it’s true. He wants to be an example. It's part of what fuels him to win a national championship this year, to become a doctor and support his family, to give others who have struggled a reason to believe they can succeed.
“I see myself as a huge role model for Hispanic kids, especially ones living with single parents,” Hernandez said. “I’ve been there. I’ve done that … The statistics aren’t high for us to go out and conquer the world. That’s what I’m trying to do.”
Shortly after 1 p.m., Hernadez's half-hour rest on a recent Tuesday came to an end.
Another lecture for another class was waiting in the afternoon. For that reason, Hernandez would practice without his team today. He and a partner, senior 174-pounder Michael Poulos, would be the only two in the wrestling room. No coaches would be present.
No one would yell, or even know, if Hernandez took it easy. No one other than himself.
For that reason, he would tie his shoes and run laps. He would wrestle, shoot takedown after takedown. He would leave Poulos twisted and crumpled on the mat, help him up and take him down again. When Hernandez's shirt was stained through with sweat and his legs were wobbly, he would stop. He would change shoes, put on more clothes, then go run stairs. After class, he would go home, talk to his wife and his boys (a second son, Madden, has since joined the family) and study.
And in the morning, the man who says he wants to conquer the world, would get up and start all over again.
“I used to be afraid to fail,” Hernandez said before lifting himself from the couch. “Now I’m not afraid of failure. I know if I go out and perform to the best of my abilities, even if I did fail, I'll be satisfied — satisfied with my performance alone."
Contact sports reporter Ben Frederickson at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Ben_Fred.
By Shane Stinson
29 December, 2012
106 Trent Olson CCHS 9
HM Cole Verner GRHS 10
113 Nic Urbach Powell 9
HM Devon Mauch CCHS 12
120 Evan Smith CCHS 11
HM Ty Alexander Lander 12
126 Justin Lewton Worland 11
HM Brody Cress East 11
132 Bryce Meredith Cent 11
HM Arhen Wempen Riverton 12
138 Tannar Galey KWHS 11
HM Blaze Cress East 12
145 Dani Fischer CCHS 12
HM Russ Wilde Cody 12
152 Jordan Fischer CCHS 10
HM Matt Pounds Worland 12
160 Lukas Poloncic CCSH 12
HM Brayton Sanders Evanston 12
170 Dalton Burgener Douglas 10
HM TJ Galey Riverton 12
182 Dino Collins Lovell 12
HM Drake Menck MVHS 12
195 Tevis Bartlett East 10
HM Jordan Semadeni SVHS 12
220 Cody Delk Sheridan 11
HM Casey Hernandez Worland 11
285 Colter Bentley NCHS 12
HM CJ Allen Douglas 12
29 December, 2012
To: Wrestling Club, Middle School and Junior High Wrestling Coaches
From: Jim Verplancke, Kids Director, Wyoming Amateur Wrestling Association
This tournament is a qualifying tournament for middle school age wrestlers who would like to participate with the Wyoming Kids Team in the National Folkstyle Middle School Duals. The AAU National Middle School Duals will take place April 12-14, 2013 in Iowa and the Yellowstone National Middle School (USAW) Duals will be held in Cody, WY April 26-28. The top two placers in each weight class will qualify for the dual team. This tournament is for Wyoming Middle School wrestlers to qualifying to participate in the national dual tournaments.
The qualifying tournament will be held at Douglas, WY on March 2, 2013. Weigh-ins will begin at 7:00 AM and end at 8:30 AM. The tournament will be a double elimination tournament with the wrestlers placing 1st and 2nd being selected to make the trip. A true 2nd will be wrestled in case the # 3 wrestler has not wrestled the #2 wrestler previously. Awards will be presented to the top four wrestlers.
Wrestlers participating in the middle school qualifier will not be separated into age groups. A middle school wrestler must be in grades 6, 7, or 8 and the wrestler must be 15 years old or younger during the year 2013; If you turn 16 in 2013 your are ineligible.
WEIGHT CLASSES: 75, 80, 85, 90, 95, 100, 105, 110, 115, 120, 125, 130, 135, 140, 145, 152, 160, 171, 189, 250.
PREREGISTRATION: In order to prepare for this tournament we strongly encourage wrestlers to pre-register by Thursday, February 28, 2013 however, wresters may register at the tournament also. Preregister at www.trackwrestling.com
ENTRY FEE: Preregistration - $15; At the Door - $25
A current USA Wrestling card is mandatory to wrestle in the tournament. Contact your local USA club for the card; go to the WAWA website to look up a club in your area. If the club is unknown contact Vicki Tolin at 307-258-7569 or email email@example.com. Coaches and officials must also have a current USA card to officiate or coach at this event.
The wrestlers that qualify for the national tournament must pay $800 (over a period of 5 weeks) to make the trip. A raffle will be held to defray the cost of each wrestler. A bus is scheduled to pick up participants at Buffalo, Casper, Douglas, and Cheyenne. A $300 non-refundable deposit is required at the conclusion of the tournament. Each wrestler will be given $800 worth of raffle tickets and if the wrestler sells all the tickets it will cover the cost of the trip. Transportation, lodging, meals, uniform, and entry fees are all included in the cost of the trip. The first $300 of raffle tickets will cover the $300 deposit.
Please hand out the enclosed (attached) information to your wrestlers in the event they would like to compete in the qualifying tournament.
See you in Douglas,
Jim Verplancke, WAWA Kids Director
231 Birch Street
Buffalo, WY 82834
Phone: 307-217-1681; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
By Wyoming Athletics
21 December, 2012
Laramie, Wyo. -
One of the greatest Wyoming high school wrestlers in history, Ray Sanchez came to the University of Wyoming after compiling an amazing record of 98-0 and winning four state championships at Cheyenne Central High School. He was a two-time senior men's National AAU champion in 1965 and 1966 and a two-time Great Plains National Champion representing Wyoming in 1966 and 1967. Sanchez was undefeated competing for the Cowboys' freshman team in 1966. As a Cowboy sophomore on the varsity in 1967, despite battling an elbow injury, Sanchez finished fourth in the nation at 115 pounds and earned All-America honors. Unfortunately, he suffered a back injury the following year and was forced to give up wrestling. He went on to a successful career as a teacher, coach and high school administrator.
Where has life taken you since you finished at UW?
My first job out of UW was as an English teacher and head wrestling coach in Lander, Wyo.; I was there for two years. My second job was in Rawlins, Wyo., as an English teacher and head wrestling coach; I was there for four years. I also got drafted to be an assistant football coach for four years. Next, I moved to Greeley, Colo., where I was an English teacher and head wrestling coach at Greeley West High School; I was there for four years.
I then got out of coaching, and retained a job at George Washington High School in Denver as the English AP and Honors class teacher; I also served as the yearbook advisor and English Department chair. I then served as Diversity Coordinator for the Boulder Valley School district where I developed the District's first diversity program and provided staff development on the program for the entire district.
I then went to work with the Jefferson County Public School District in Golden, Colo. I first served as a classroom English teacher and forensics coach at Chatfield Senior High School. I then assumed the position of Educational Equity Director and went on to create and develop an equity program entitled "Culturally Responsive Teaching to Diverse Student Populations". I provided staff development on this program for 133 schools in the district, which is the largest school district in Colorado with 83,000 students.
It was at Stein that I fell on some ice while helping a student get up from her fall. This fall caused a re-injury to my back which required the fourth but final back surgery in 2007. I retired in 2007. Currently, my back and the rest of me are doing great!
Where are you living now and tell us about your family?
For the past 13 years, my wife Lynn and I have lived in Longmont, Colo. We have been together for 18 years. Lynn and I are both in our second (and final) marriages. I have six children from my first marriage: Raymond, Katrina, Britt, Scott, Megan, and Amy; Lynn has two daughters from her first marriage: Nikki and Leah.
Together Lynn and I have very talented children: Raymond-chemical engineer; Leah-OBGYN/critical care physician; Katrina-HR administrator; Nikki-small business manager; Britt-IT Specialist; Scott-math teacher and head wrestling coach; Megan-dental hygienist; Amy-head accountant at a Denver business.
Like myself, Lynn is a retired elementary school principal with the Boulder Valley School District. She was honored as Bilingual Principal of the Year in Colorado in 2005.
We also have a total of 23 grandchildren and are expecting one more; Leah and Ryan will welcome Nora in February, 2013.
Every summer we hold a Grandpa's/Grandma's Camp. All our grandchildren who are five years and older come to our house in Longmont for a four day/night adventure, which is usually 12-15 children. Activities include ice cream for breakfast, make your own pizza, horseback riding, rock climbing, meals prepared by each other, water fights, Grandpa's scary stories, egg drop, watching the Jim Thorpe story (a mandatory viewing), etc. We've been holding camp since 2004.
You were part of a Cowboy program that went 17-4 in duals in 1966-67, the most dual wins in a single season in school history. Have you kept in touch with former coaches and teammates through the years?
I don't think people remember what a great team we had that year. We beat a lot teams and we didn't wrestle "wimp" teams. We beat UCLA, Colorado, Air Force, Nebraska, Oregon, Colorado State, etc.
Joe McDaniel (who just recently passed away) was my coach when I came to UW in 1965. Joe was a great wrestling tactician and very committed to the UW wrestling program. During those years, we had a fortuitous combination of strength in the lower weights and higher weights; myself at 23's, Ron Horning at 32's; Dale Kujath at 54's; Don Miller at 57's, Leon Mickelson at 67's and Tommy Thompson at heavyweight and others, I'm sure.
We knew we were a tough team. Although I personally didn't realize what we were accomplishing record-wise, as a sophomore I just wrestled.
I have kept in touch with Ted Adams, Ron Horning, Paul Soriano, Joe Dowler (my high school wrestling coach and future UW wrestling coach) and somewhat with Charlie Sanchez. I see and talk with Gordy Cramer once in a while. He lives here in Longmont. Of course, I see my brother Art a lot, as he lives here in Colorado.
Who was the most influential figure in your life when it came to wrestling?
Joe Dowler! Joe came to Cheyenne Central when I was a junior in high school. Joe was the greatest motivator, coach and teacher I ever had in my life. As a two-time state champion when he arrived, Joe sharpened my wrestling. I got rid of a lot of "junk wrestling," tactics that would not work on good wrestlers. Joe was with me for two more state championships (for a total of four), for my two regional AAU championships and for my first Senior Men's National AAU Championship in San Francisco. We have followed each other for more than 40 years.
How has collegiate wrestling changed since you were a Cowboy?
For me, the tactics and maneuvers have not changed in any significant way. The biggest change I've seen as a fan, are the rules for takedowns. If you have your toes inside the circle, you get two points. I miss "supporting" parts like a knee or butt. I don't see a lot of "going for the pin" and after all that is the whole purpose. I see wrestlers scoring enough points to win and then letting the clock run out for the win.
Noting the number of wrestling programs that have been cut over the past 15-20 years, what do you believe collegiate sports administrators must do to keep it going?
Wrestling will never be a revenue generating sport. It is incumbent upon administrators to set a specific amount of support for wrestling and stay with the commitment. Make cuts at other places. Communicating and celebrating with the fans and other supporters about the wrestling program's success. Get the word out in a consistent and timely manner like they do for football and basketball. I don't see this happening to the degree that other "top-level sports" do. Spread the good news.
How do you feel about being named to the Wyoming Hall of Fame last September?
It was a great honor to be included with some of the greatest athletes UW has ever produced. To be remembered after all these years was especially rewarding. I am humbled and sometimes don't feel adequate. The induction ceremonies were outstanding. Given the opportunity to talk about my induction was very special. I only gave UW two years of my wrestling ability. I should have/could have produced so much more for me to feel warranted to receive this honor. My back injury was a terrible event for my wrestling career.
What does it mean for a Wyoming native to don the Brown and Gold, from your experience?
I had over 18 full ride offers from major Division I schools, but coming from Cheyenne and committing to UW was a natural move. Representing UW Brown and Gold was always an honor. UW is a small Division I school, so it was with great pride to show those bigger schools that the Brown and Gold colors were more than capable to compete and win. Brown and Gold runs thru my veins, thru my being. Sports are the great equalizers. As a native, and a Hispanic, I never felt slighted or diminished by the UW community because of my ethnicity, which I did see in other parts of Laramie. As a native, I am more than proud to call UW my university. Living in Colorado can sometimes be a challenge.
What did you like the most about Laramie when you were a student here? What do you like to do here when you come back to visit?
I loved the dorm life, the roommates and friends and the cafeteria food was great. I know many people who hated it. Classes were small enough to feel supported. The athletic department, coaches and Athletic Director Glenn Jacoby were the greatest supporters. I didn't do much in Laramie proper; the campus life provided most of what I needed.
When I visit Laramie I like to go to the Student Union and the book store. Invariably, I will run into former classmates and other friends, especially for any home game. I attend as many UW wrestling matches as I can, where I visit with many former and current student-athletes of all sports. As a former wrestling coach in Wyoming, I meet many former students and coaches who attended UW.
Where Are They Now Archives
18 December, 2012
Wyoming's Tyler Cox Named WWC Wrestler of the Week
The 125-pound sophomore won a title at the Reno Tournament of Champions.
Dec. 18, 2012
OREM, Utah -- University of Wyoming 125-pound sophomore Tyler Cox (Gillette, Wyo./Campbell County HS) has been named the Western Wrestling Conference Wrestler of the Week after an outstanding performance on the mat last week. The conference honor was announced Tuesday by the league.
Cox won his first tournament of the season Sunday at the Reno Tournament of Champions.
Seeded third in the 36-man field, the Wyoming sophomore earned three bonus-point wins over Adam Ludwin (Fort Hays State), Joaquin Marquez (Citadel) and Joey Palmer (Oregon State) to advance to the semifinals. Cox then defeated Miguel Comparan of CSU Bakersfield, who had knocked off 20th-ranked Dominic Parisi of Appalachian State in the quarters, in an 11-5 decision to head to the finals. In the title bout, Cox met CSU Bakersfield's Tyler Iwamura, who had been in the national rankings earlier in the season. Cox bested Iwamura in a 6-5 decision to win the RTOC crown for the first time in his career.
The Wyoming grappler now has 19 wins this season, including nine bonus-points victories.
The conference honor is the Cox's first of the season and first of his career.
The Western Wrestling Conference, which is in its seventh year of competition, is comprised of six schools including the Air Force Academy, North Dakota State, Northern Colorado, South Dakota State, Utah Valley and Wyoming.
North Dakota State: Steven Monk, 165 pounds, Jr., (Wausau, Wis./Wausau West HS)
2012-13 WWC Wrestlers of the Week
Nov. 6 - Alfonso Hernandez (Wyoming)
Nov. 13 - Josh Wilson (Utah Valley)
Nov. 20 - Cole VonOhlen (Air Force)
Nov. 27 - Trent Sprenkle (North Dakota State)
Dec. 4 - Steven Monk (North Dakota State)
Dec. 11 - Brandon Richardson (Wyoming)
Dec. 18 - Tyler Cox (Wyoming)
14 December, 2012
LARAMIE, Wyo. - The last tournament of 2012 for the Wyoming Cowboy wrestling team will be a big test, when UW competes in the Reno Tournament of Champions in Reno, Nev., on Sunday. The details Wyoming returns to the state of Nevada for an event just two weeks after competing in the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational. The RTOC is the last event in which the Cowboys will compete in the calendar year. Repeat champs? UW is among 24 teams in the collegiate field of what organizers say is the "Toughest Tournament in the U.S.A." Wyoming hopes to outperform the likes of Boise State, Cal Poly, Michigan State and Oregon State, each of which is in the top 50 of the latest InterMat polls. Past success Probable lineup with season record
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The last tournament of 2012 for the Wyoming Cowboy wrestling team will be a big test, when UW competes in the Reno Tournament of Champions in Reno, Nev., on Sunday.
Wyoming returns to the state of Nevada for an event just two weeks after competing in the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational. The RTOC is the last event in which the Cowboys will compete in the calendar year.
UW is among 24 teams in the collegiate field of what organizers say is the "Toughest Tournament in the U.S.A." Wyoming hopes to outperform the likes of Boise State, Cal Poly, Michigan State and Oregon State, each of which is in the top 50 of the latest InterMat polls.
Probable lineup with season record
By Cody Tucker- Douglas Budget
12 December, 2012
Surprises don’t come that often any more for head wrestling coach Bob Bath. After 32 years at Douglas High School, it’s safe to say he has seen it all. That is, until this week.
Bath has been nominated for National Coach of the Year, along with 11 other finalist from Wyoming. According to Bath it was a “shock”.
“Last week is when I knew I was nominated,” Bath said. “It’s a great honor, but there are a lot of great coaches out there. To be even nominated was an honor.”
Bath has been a coach at Douglas High School for 32 years, including 28 as the head coach of the Bearcat wrestling team. A former wrestler at the University of Wyoming, Bath has been involved with kids and the sport nearly all of his life. But, according to Bath, there is a first for everything. Even if it is an honor that he said he has never shot for.
“I just think it’s something that I haven’t really worked toward,” he said. “But after all these years, it’s nice to be selected. It was definitely a surprise.”
The longtime Bearcat, who is originally from Rock Springs, said Tyson Shatto, nominated him for the award.
Bath will head to Des Moines, Iowa to attend coaching clinics for “three or four days,” where the national winners will be announced.
Bath is the only wrestling coach in the state that received the honor of attending the national ceremony.
By By JACK NOWLIN Star-Tribune staff writer
05 December, 2012
SATURDAY: Kelly Walsh at Cheyenne East Charlie Lake Invite, all day.
NUMBERS GAME: After dealing with low turnout the past few years, KW has 50 wrestlers competing for 14 varsity spots.
HE SAID IT: “When you’ve got decent numbers you can generate competition in the wrestling room.” -- KW coach Todd Lattimer.
When the door opened to the Kelly Walsh wrestling room Tuesday, about 50 wrestlers made their way into the practice room.
That number was a marked improvement from previous years, in which the Trojans competed with about half that number.
“We have decent numbers this year,” KW coach Todd Lattimer said. “We’re probably holding steady at 50 [wrestlers], so I’m excited about that.
“When you’ve got decent numbers, then you can generate competition in the wrestling room. That makes us better on the weekends because the kids learn how to be competitive all the time.”
KW finished 10th at the Class 4A state meet last season, but returns four juniors that placed in the top five.
Tannar Galey was the Trojans’ top finisher, winning the 126-pound weight class. Carlos Salazar was third at 120, Conner Hendry fourth at 182 and Kaleb Clark fifth at 285.
Galey took some time off from wrestling this summer to play American Legion baseball for the Casper Oilers.
“It helped to get away from [wrestling] a little bit because it’s such a demanding sport,” he said. “But now I’m ready to go. And I’m excited about our team this year.”
Galey and Salazar got their junior seasons started in style as both won individual titles at last week’s Powell Invitational; Galey at 138 and Salazar at 132.
“Carlos and Tannar looked really, really good at Powell,” Lattimer said. “And they competed against some tough kids, so that was good to see.”
Five other Trojans also placed in the top five at Powell, but the Trojans had just three wrestlers compete in the upper-weight classes.
“We’ve got a lot of learning [in the upper-weight classes],” Lattimer said. “We do have four kids in each of the weight classes, but they’re not ready yet. They’re developing so we’ll see how it goes.
“It’s always exciting when you’ve got a young roster and you’re seeing improvement.”
The Trojans are back on the mat Saturday when they travel to Cheyenne East to compete in the Charlie Lake Invite.
By By BEN FREDERICKSON Star-Tribune staff writer
05 December, 2012
Andy McCulley used to bounce between wrestling styles.“He was inconsistent,” Wyoming wrestling coach Mark Branch said Monday. “He didn’t know what kind of wrestler he wanted to be. He didn’t know if he wanted to stand tall and go upper-body with guys. He didn’t know if he wanted to be on the outside, attacking. He didn’t know if he wanted to go and tie up and look for his attacks from there."
But lately, McCulley, UW's starting 157-pound wrestler, has found a technique that suits him.
"Now he is falling into something he feels comfortable with," Branch said. "He is wrestling from a low level.”
So low, in fact, McCulley has been keeping one knee on the mat in his matches.
“I started wrestling from a knee,” the sophomore from Rock Springs said Monday. “It’s helped guys not get in on my legs.”
McCulley had struggled to defend opponents' shots. His long legs made him more vulnerable. The problem made him timid, less likely to attack on offense due to his propensity for surrendering takedowns. It’s an issue Branch experienced himself when he wrestled at Oklahoma State. To solve things, Branch began wrestling from a knee.
"When you drop down and wrestle in that position, you really shut off all your opponents' shots," Branch said. "For me, it helped my offense, because when I was on my feet worrying about giving up my legs, I couldn't focus on my offense. Once I solved that problem, my offense came together. It's the same for Andy."
The technique made McCulley the highlight of Wyoming’s trip to the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational last weekend. The unranked wrestler went 5-1 during the weekend, beat three ranked wrestlers and finished third in the tournament.
"He is starting to figure that out," Branch said. "And you're seeing it. You're seeing a level of comfort. What's making him comfortable is that the way he is wrestling is making his opponents uncomfortable. And that's big."
An example occurred this weekend when McCulley was wrestling 15th-ranked Josh Demas of Ohio State. Demas didn't like that McCulley was coming after him on his knee. He took a step back and waived McCulley up, demanding that he stand. McCulley followed orders, and Branch screamed from the side of the mat.
"We were like, "No!'" Branch said. "If you're frustrating him and he's asking you to change, that's good. ... It's not stalling if you're wrestling from there. It's just another technique we can utilize."
McCulley, who won the match, went back down to one knee. And he plans on staying there no matter how much it frustrates opponents and their coaches.
“Branch always talks about wrestling our style," McCulley said. "I’m finally finding that style that works for me. I’m going to stick with that one.”
WHO: Wyoming sophomore 157-pound wrestler Andy McCulley
GO LOW: McCulley was the star of the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational last weekend. He credits his success to a lowered stance that leaves one knee on the mat.
HE SAID IT: "I'm finally finding that style that works for me." - McCulley
NEXT: Wyoming vs. Oklahoma in Arkansas City Kan, 6 p.m. Friday
MORE ONLINE: Follow Star-Tribune reporter Ben Frederickson on Twitter (@Ben_Fred) for news and updates on Wyoming wrestling.
FIRST LOSS FOR HERNANDEZ: Wyoming senior Alfonso Hernandez, who placed sixth at the NCAA Championships last season, lost his first match of the year in Las Vegas.
Hernandez fell 5-4 to the nation's top ranked 197-pound wrestler, Kent State's Dustin Kilgore. Kilgore won the National Championship last year.
"I thought he [Hernandez] wrestled about as bad as he could have," Branch said. "I think nerves and anxiety got to him. He never looked like he got comfortable in his match.But he was actually able to put together a solid finish. He was a takedown away from winning the match, against what is hands down considered the best guy at that weight ... The great thing about that is he walks away motivated and hungry. Now he believes in himself a little more than he did before."
Hernandez's record is now 13-1.
TOUGH STRETCH: Wyoming has its hands full this weekend. The Pokes wrestle Oklahoma on Friday and Oklahoma State on Saturday. Oklahoma State beat No. 1 Minnesota in a dual earlier this week.
"It will be very challenging," Branch said. "We are going to see some of the top kids in the country. It's going to be a tough road trip. Hopefully, the schedule we have had so far has prepared our kids. This will make our kids tougher. It will prepare them for the best competition. That's why we are doing it. If you don't ever wrestle the best, then how are you going to know how to react, wrestle and maintain your composure when you get to the NCAA Championships?"
HOMETOWN FEEL: Wyoming's dual against Oklahoma on Friday will take place in Arkansas City, Kan., a city just 13 miles from Branch's hometown of Newkirk, Okla.
"I'm going to take our guys to my old high school to work out," Branch said. "It will be fun. We will have a lot of hometown people there. I'm looking forward to that aspect of it."
02 December, 2012
LAS VEGAS -
Senior Alfonso Hernandez led the charge Saturday as he and the Cowboys capped off a successful tournament at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational, as UW finished with three placewinners.
"Overall, it was a very tough tournament," Wyoming coach Mark Branch said. "The great thing about it is we're probably not going to see those other teams again until nationals, so those matches we had will carry us a long way, especially the ones in which we performed well. As a team, it was not a great performance, but had great individual efforts and had some kids establish themselves as top-level competitors."
Hernandez, who finished second, lost his first match of the season to the nation's top-ranked wrestler, Kent State's Dustin Kilgore, in the title tilt at 197 pounds. After going down 4-1 to start the match, fourth-ranked Hernandez battled back to tie it at 4-all, only to see Kilgore earn an escape for the final 5-4 margin. Hernandez now is 13-1.
McCulley, an unranked sophomore, had the best tournament of his young career, toppling two ranked wrestlers en route to finishing third at 157 pounds. He went 5-1 with two pins and a technical fall. McCulley got to the semifinals with an upset of 15th-ranked Josh Demas of Ohio State, but fell to the eventual champ, Oregon State's Roger Pena (18th), to head to the consolation bracket. From there, McCulley beat Northern Iowa's David Bonin, ranked 14th, to head to the third-place match. He then pinned Navy's Bobby Barnhisel at the 6-minute mark for the win, and now owns a 13-2 mark.
Sophomore Cox went 4-3 in the event and advanced to the consolation semifinals at 125 pounds, but couldn't hold off American's David Terao in the fifth-place match, as Terao secured the fall in 4:40. Cox was sixth, placing for the third time this season in a tournament.
"Cox did himself a lot of good," Branch said. "But his style was very inconsistent, so we've got some work to do there. What separated Andy was the fact he found the kind of style he wants to wrestle with and stuck with it. To lose to the eventual champ in a loaded weight class was a great opportunity and he took advantage.
"Fonz had an outstanding tournament, but (in the title match) went out there early and you could tell he had some nerves and a lack of confidence. It was Fonz trying to figure Kilgore out instead of wrestling his match and imposing his will. After that, he had him on the run and scored a big takedown to make it a match. One thing I'm proud of is the team wrestled hard, but some guys don't have confidence in their ability and don't know what kind of style they want to wrestle with."
The Pokes will return to dual action as they hit the road to face Oklahoma on Friday and Oklahoma State on Saturday
30 November, 2012
Nov. 29, 2012
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
Las Vegas is the destination for the University of Wyoming varsity wrestlers this weekend as the Cowboys will compete in the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational, starting Friday.
Three of InterMat's top-10 teams on the slate include No. 5 Ohio State, No. 7 Missouri and No. 8 Cornell, along with six other top-25 teams.
A look at these Cowboys
UW is 19th in the WIN Magazine and NWCA/USA Today/Amateur Wrestling News team polls, both dual-based rankings.
Probable lineup (season record):
28 November, 2012
LARAMIE, Wyo. - The efforts of the Wyoming Wrestling coaching staff have paid off as head coach Mark Branch announced Tuesday that three student-athletes had signed a National Letter of Intent to compete for the Cowboys, starting in the fall of 2013.
Zach Beard, Finn Higgins and Kyle Pope each will join the program after they decided to attend UW over several other nationally prominent programs.
"We feel good about where our team is, but we needed some strength and depth in our upper weights," Branch said. "We need some people challenging each other for competition in the wrestling room. We feel great about the three guys we are signing."
Zach Beard, Tuttle, Okla. (Tuttle HS) - 165/174 pounds
"Beard is a great pickup for us. He is one of the top recruits in the nation, regardless of weight," Branch said. "He really exemplifies the breakthroughs we're getting in recruiting. He was a highly sought after kid and we stayed persistent. It's been hard to recruit in Oklahoma with the competition we have there so it is rewarding to be able to snag two in one signing period. Zach has succeeded at the highest levels at several national tournaments."
Finn Higgins, Heritage Hall, Okla. (Heritage Hall HS) - 197 pounds
"He's a kid with a big frame, and a great kid with great values and great academics," Branch said. "He hadn't proven himself on the national scene, but I feel like he is just hitting his stride and starting to develop. He's a kid who has a huge upside, in my opinion."
"We got in late on him, so it happened really fast," Branch said. "He was a kid who we knew was going to fit in here and he knows firsthand what it takes to succeed at the Division I level. His father has passed on some outstanding genes, but more importantly, the mindset of what it takes to win. Kyle has competed in one of the toughest states in the nation and against the best opposition so I think he will be seasoned to make an impact for our team."
Branch said he and the UW coaching staff likely will stay on the recruiting trail and sign more student-athletes in the spring.
"We will re-evaluate our needs and be looking for talent to add to this outstanding trio," Branch said.
By CSC Sports Information
23 November, 2012
KEARNEY – Senior Dustin Stodola of Clarkson and sophomore Michael Hill of Fort Laramie, Wyo., each placed third in his weight class to lead the Chadron State College wrestling team at the University of Nebraska-Kearney Holiday Inn Wrestling Tournament on Saturday.
23 November, 2012
The Wyoming wrestlers walked away with several weight-class titles Saturday in the Nebraska-Kearney Holiday Inn Open, as UW boasted seven tournament champions.
Winners in the Elite brackets included sophomore Zach Zehner at 133 pounds, sophomore Andy McCulley at 157, senior Alfonso Hernandez at 197 and redshirt freshman Tanner Harms at heavyweight. The Cowboys also excelled in the Amateur brackets, as true freshmen Drew Templeman (125), Cole Mendenhall (141) and Benjamin Stroh (184) all came away with tournament crowns.
Zehner and Templeman each won their third tournaments of the year, while McCulley, Hernandez, Mendenhall and Stroh each came out on top for the second time this season.
Zehner, who has competed unattached in each event this year, is unbeaten this season (11-0), along with Templeman, who now is 13-0. Hernandez also has an unblemished record, racking up a 10-0 mark, including nine bonus-point victories.
Other highlights included top-six finishes from sophomore Tyler Cox (125), redshirt freshman Alex Baca (125), senior McCade Ford (141), redshirt freshman Austin Breckenridge (141), sophomore Brandon Richardson (149), sophomore Dakota Friesth (157), senior L.J. Helbig (174), sophomore Shane Woods (184), along with true freshmen Dylan Schumacher (133) and Brent Havlik (165).
Next up, the Pokes will head to the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational on Nov. 30-Dec. 1.
Nebraska-Kearney Holiday Inn Open
12 November, 2012
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. – Chadron State College's Mike Hill, Leandro Arias and Jordan Debus had solid performances at the Colorado Mesa Wrestling Invitational Saturday in Grand Junction, Colo.
11 November, 2012
Nov. 11, 2012
Despite a spirited comeback effort in which Wyoming stormed back from 16 points down, the Cowboy wresters suffered their first dual defeat of the season Sunday to No. 9 Nebraska, 22-15.
UW (1-1 overall) fell in a 16-0 hole to begin the dual, but three decisions and one pin brought the 19th-ranked Pokes to within one point, only to see the Huskers (2-0) earn narrow wins in the last two matches.
"From a team standpoint, I was very disappointed. The score reflected that. We had some kids who wrestled well enough to put us into position to be competitive and have an opportunity to win. Which, with the way it started out, surprised me," Wyoming coach Mark Branch said.
"We buried ourselves into a hole with some very uninspiring performances. You feel for the kids following those because it's not very uplifting. It was very frustrating, but I saw guys claw back and give us an opportunity."
Action began at 157 pounds with UW sophomore Dakota Friesth and fifth-ranked James Green of Nebraska. Green was on the attack early and earned the 14-1 major decision. Nebraska followed that same script over the next three matches, earning major decisions to build a 16-0 lead.
But Wyoming leaned on its senior leader, Alfonso Hernandez, and the 197-pound All-America honoree didn't disappoint. He grinded out a 3-0 decision, beating Nebraska's Caleb Kolb to put the Pokes on the scoreboard. Hernandez now is 6-0 for the season.
Cowboy redshirt freshman Tanner Harms then improved his dual record to 2-0 with a gritty 11-5 decision over Donny Longendyke at heavyweight and Wyoming cut the lead to 16-6.
"That was a big win for Tanner. He sucked it up and wrestled hard," Branch said of Harms' efforts.
Sophomore Tyler Cox provided the fireworks at 125 pounds, when he overcame an early 2-0 deficit to pin Nebraska's Eric Coufal at the 6:16 mark. That got the Wyoming crowd on its feet, and the score moved to 16-12.
"That was huge," Branch said of Cox's performance. "You got the crowd involved and closed the gap on the score."
Senior 133-pounder Kasey Garnhart added three more team points with a nice 5-2 decision over Shawn Nagel, and UW cut the deficit to 16-15. But Nebraska was too much down the stretch as the Huskers earned decisions at 141 and 149 pounds to end the dual.
Up next, Wyoming will hit the road for the Nebraska-Kearney Open on Saturday.
By RANDAL HOROBIK
08 November, 2012
No. 11 Northwest Hammers No. 14 Western Wyoming In Dual
A highly anticipated meeting of nationally-ranked Wyoming junior college wrestling programs turned into a rout as No. 11 Northwest College hammered No. 14 Western Wyoming 36-16 in a head-to-head dual between the schools on Thursday.
The in-state match raised the curtain on the 2012-13 wrestling season for Northwest.
“We came out with three straight pins in the first three weights and really took a lot out of them early,” said Trapper wrestling coach Jim Zeigler. “They were really looking forward to the dual and thought they could give us a run, so to open like that really sucked a lot of life out of them.”
Cody Vichi (125) got the Trappers off to a fast start with a second- period win by fall to open the dual. Ben Jorgensen (133) followed by pressing his opponent to the mat before the first period expired. Zach Loveless (141) followed with another second-period win by fall.
Northwest left the 149-pound slot vacant for the dual, giving Western its first points. The Mustangs weren’t able to get any momentum, however, as Colton Thornton won by decision at 157.
Arizona freshman Diorian Coleman followed with a decision win over a nationally-ranked wrestler from Western Wyoming, all but clinching the dual victory for Northwest in the process.
Cole McArther dropped a major decision at 174, subbing in at the weight as the Trappers juggled their lineup to account for some early-season weight certification issues. Powell’s Randy Andrews secured the dual victory officially for the Trappers at 184 with a win. Caleb Cotter gave Northwest more points with a win over a nationally ranked opponent at 197 and Western Wyoming struck last with a win by fall over Jade Parsons in the heavyweight division.
“It was a really good win for us,” said Zeigler. “I was excited. We’re a young crew with only one sophomore wrestling at Western, so for most of those guys that was their first official college match. I’m really pleased with how they came out of the gate. We’re still really green, but we showed that we’re also really talented.”
That talent continued to be on display on Saturday as the Trappers took part in the Cowboy Open at the University of Wyoming.
Zach Loveless also advanced to the championship match of the 141-pound division, but was medically defaulted prior to the start of that match, finishing his day 5-0. Medical defaults do not count against wrestlers’ individual records.
“Zach got hit in the head in a really hard semifinal match and he just seemed really dopey and groggy to me,” said Zeigler. “I didn’t want to fool with that, especially this early in the season.”
Colton Thornton went 4-1 at 157 pounds to also place for the Trappers. The team had several others who narrowly missed a place on the podium in Laramie.
“Vichi went 2-2 for us at 125,” said Zeigler. “T.J. Guild wrestled up a weight at 141 and finished 3-2 despite giving up several pounds. Ben Jorgensen was 2-2 at 133. Diorian Coleman went 4-2 at 165. Randy Andrews went 3-2 and missed by a match at his regular weight of 174. Cole McArther was also 3-2 in that 174-pound bracket. Overall, it was a great tournament for us.”
The Trappers host their own tournament this Saturday. Wyoming, Air Force, Colorado State-Pueblo, the University of Great Falls, Montana State-Northern and North Idaho will be in attendance. Other schools and club teams may also send wrestlers to the meet.
“We’ll start wrestling on four mats at 9 a.m. and go straight through until we’re finished,” said Zeigler.
06 November, 2012
Nov. 6, 2012
OREM, Utah - University of Wyoming 197-pound senior Alfonso Hernandez (Blackfoot, Idaho/Blackfoot HS) has been named the first Western Wrestling Conference Wrestler of the Week for the 2012-13 season. The conference honor was announced Tuesday by the league.
Hernandez (ranked fourth by InterMat) had a dominant opening weekend, starting off the season 5-0 in two events - a dual versus No. 24 Boise State and at the Cowboy Open.
The Cowboys, ranked 19th, beat the Broncos 26-12, thanks in part to Hernandez and his effort. He started the year off by beating Boise State's Cody Dixon with a pin at 5:51 for six team points. Two days later, he followed that up with four straight wins and the 197-pound title in the Cowboy Open, compiling two pins, one technical fall, and one major decision.
The 2012 All-American grappler is the reigning conference wrestler of the year and since the beginning of the 2011 he has won 45 out of 53 matches. The weekly honor is Hernandez's first of his career.
The Western Wrestling Conference, which is in its seventh year of competition, is comprised of six schools including the Air Force Academy, North Dakota State, Northern Colorado, South Dakota State, Utah Valley and Wyoming.
2012-13 WWC Wrestlers of the Week
01 November, 2012
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The regular season starts off with a bang Thursday for the University of Wyoming wrestling team as the Cowboys welcome Boise State for a dual, and two days after that, UW hosts the 35th annual Cowboy Open tournament.
On Saturday, nearly 450 wrestlers from 19 schools from around the region visit Laramie for the Cowboy Open, which takes place on 10 mats in the War Memorial Fieldhouse. Action begins at 9 a.m. and continues all day.
About Boise State
About the Cowboy Open
25 October, 2012
OREM, Utah – Coming off of one of its best seasons of competition, the Western Wrestling Conference, an NCAA Division I wrestling-only alliance, will begin its seventh year of competition in 2012-13.
Current members of the Western Wrestling Conference include: the United States Air Force Academy, North Dakota State University, the University of Northern Colorado, South Dakota State University, Utah Valley University and the University of Wyoming.
The WWC had another solid year in 2011-12, with two league wrestlers earning All-America honors and Wyoming placing 19th at the NCAA Championships. The conference has now had 11 All-Americans in its first sixyears of existence. In 2012, Wyoming’s Alfonso Hernandez (197) and Joe LeBlanc (184) placed sixth and seventh respectively at the NCAA Championships. For Hernandez it was his first All-America award but for LeBlanc it was his fourth, as he became the league’s first four-time All-American.
Along with his seventh-place showing in 2012, LeBlanc finished fourth at the NCAA Tournament in 2010, fifth in 2009, and sixth in2011. The University of Northern Iowa’s Moza Fay was a two-time placer during his tenure by finishing sixth at 165 pounds in 2009 and fifth at that same weight in 2008. Northern Colorado’s Justin Gaethje (157) finished seventh in 2010 and UNI’s Jarion Beets (174) placed eighth that same year. In 2011, Utah Valley’s Ben Kjar became the Wolverines’ first-ever wrestling All-American by placing fourth (125) and Wyoming’s Shane Onufer finished fifth (165).
In all, 18 wrestlers from the WWC qualified for the 2012 NCAA Division I Wrestling National Championships, 17 via automatic slots and one at-large selection. The WWC had seven competitors who were seeded in the top-12 of their brackets. At 133 pounds, UNI’s Joe Colon was the fifth-seed, while Air Force’s Cole VonOhlen earned the No. 3 seed at 149 pounds. NDSU’s Steven Monk was the No. 12 seed at 157 pounds, Wyoming’s Onufer was the No. 2 seed at 165 pounds, UW’s LeBlanc was the No. 1 seed at 184, UNI’s Ryan Loder was the No. 8 seed at 184 and UW’s Hernandez was the No. 9 seed at 197.
The 2012 NCAA West Regional served as the conference tournament for the sixth straight season. The tournament was held at UNI’s McLeod Center in Cedar Falls, Iowa. In the team race, Wyoming won its third consecutive tournament title as it finished with 93.5 points, 17.5 ahead of UNI who came in second. The Cowboys also won the league’s regular season dual title with an unblemished 6-0 record. In years past UNI won the regular season in 2011, Wyoming won it in 2010, UW and UNItied for the title in 2009, and the Panthers were tops in the league after both the 2008 and 2007 seasons.
The league’s three major postseason awards in 2012 were given to three individuals from the University of Wyoming. Wyoming’s Hernandez was named Wrestler of the Year, the Cowboys’ Zach Zehner was tabbed as Freshman of the Year and UW’s Mark Branch was chosen as Coach of the Year. The honor for Branch was his third coach of the year award in the past four seasons after he led his Cowboys to a top-20 finish at the NCAA Championships in 2012 and a No. 11 ranking in the final NWCA/USA Today Division I Team Coaches Poll.
In the near future, the goal of the league is to replace the West Regional with the conference tournament, which would then serve as theNCAA qualifier.
The 2013 NCAA West Regional/WWC Championships will be held on Saturday, March 9 at the Arena Auditorium on the campus of the University of Wyoming in Laramie, Wyo.
The WWC recognizes student-athletes on both a weekly and full-season basis. Individual awards include Wrestler of the Week; All-Conference teams; an Academic All-Conference team; and Wrestler, Newcomer and Coach of the Year awards. The league also crowns a team champion following the conclusion of the regular season conference competition and the postseason tournament.
The governance of the Western Wrestling Conference remains primarily with the member institutions. Scheduling of contests, assignment of officials and certain media relations functions remain with member institutions.
A major benefit of having a league that is geographically spread out over five states and two time zones is the added exposure - both in terms of media and recruiting - in new destinations. The conference affiliation also generates much interest within the six schools’ substantial alumni base, which numbers nearly 800,000 combined.
North Dakota State, Northern Colorado and South Dakota State have all made the move from Division II to Division I since joining the WWC. UVU moved directly from Junior College (NJCAA) Athletics to NCAA Division I and completed its reclassification prior to the 2009-10 season.
25 October, 2012
CHADRON – The Chadron State College wrestling team will be joining in the homecoming festivities this weekend when it hosts a public practice Saturday at 8:30 a.m. in the Nelson Physical Activity Center.
21 October, 2012
CHADRON - Chadron State's Chris Leak has been named to the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Preseason Wrestling All-Conference team at 197 pounds.
12 October, 2012
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
After one of the most successful seasons in history, the Wyoming Cowboy wrestling program will take to the mat Wednesday for the first day of regular-season practice for the 2012-13 campaign.
Top returners for the Cowboys include sophomore Zach Zehner, junior Patrick Martinez and senior Alfonso Hernandez, all of whom qualified for the NCAA Championships last year. Senior L.J. Helbig was a 2011 NCAA qualifier as well. Hernandez earned All-America honors at 197 pounds last season, finishing sixth.
"We have been anticipating the first practice for quite some time now," Branch said. "Our team is anxious and hungry and they know we have a short timetable to get prepared for some of our toughest competition.
"We will have less than a month to get ready for a very strong Boise State team so we have to get right to work. I think the most exciting thing is we have some guys who have stood in the shadows of some Wyoming Wrestling greats and now they see an opportunity to shine and stand out. We expect to continue to improve each week and each year until we climb to the top. It will be very fun to watch this team develop over the season."
Get ready, here it comes
Keep the momentum
Changes in conference
The Cowboys are ranked No. 25 in the WIN Magazine preseason team poll and several Cowboys are ranked in the top 25 in the individual rankings. Zehner is 14th at 133, Martinez is 17th at 174 and Hernandez is fourth at 197.