Wyoming 31, North Dakota State 6

No. 11 Wyoming defeats NDSU, 31-6, to win WWC title

FARGO, N.D. – No. 11 Wyoming clinched the Western Wrestling Conference title with a 31-6 win over North Dakota State on Friday, Feb. 17 in front of 418 fans on Senior Night at the Bison Sports Arena. Steven Monk was the lone Bison to claim a victory.

The Bison finished the regular season 6-9 overall and 3-3 in the WWC. Wyoming improved to 10-3 overall and 6-0 in conference action.

Wyoming won the first four bouts in a row to jump out to a 12-0 lead. In the battle of ranked wrestlers at 125 pounds, No. 18 Michael Martinez won a 5-2 decision over No. 19 Trent Sprenkle. Martinez scored an early takedown before Sprenkle came back to tie the bout at 2-2 early in the second period. A stalling point and an escape in the third period helped put the match away in favor of Martinez.

At 133 pounds, No. 16 Zach Zehner defeated Justin Solberg, 8-5. Zehner jumped out to a 4-1 lead, but Solberg kept it close with a late second period escape. Zehner scored a takedown midway through the third to take a 7-3 lead. Solberg battled back with a reversal with 18 seconds remaining, but ran out of time to complete the comeback.

Chase Smith defeated Tyler Diamond, 7-0, at 141 pounds. Smith took a 5-0 lead in the first after a takedown and a three-point near fall. He cemented the win with a reversal in the third. At 149 pounds, McCade Ford won a 5-2 decision over Mark Erickson. Ford took a 3-2 lead into the third period and put the match away with a takedown with eight seconds remaining.

No. 11 Steven Monk stopped the Wyoming run at 157 pounds with a pin of Andy McCulley in 6:04. Monk dominated the first two periods before he was able to put Andy McCulley on his back and pin him with 56 seconds remaining. It was Monk’s third pin in a row.

Wyoming got back in the win column at 165 pounds as No. 3 Shane Onufer claimed a 10-2 major decision over Joe Garner. Onufer tallied four takedowns in the win. At 174 pounds, Pat Martinez defeated Tyler Johnson, 7-2, on the strength of two takedowns and a reversal.

No. 1 Joe LeBlanc won an 18-3 technical fall over Mac Stoll at 184 pounds. LeBlanc led 8-3 after two periods, but turned it up a notch in the third, scoring a takedown and three near falls. At 197 pounds, No. 9 Alfonso Hernandez won a 16-4 major decision over John Gusewelle. Gusewelle scored an early takedown, but Hernandez bounced back with four takedowns and two near falls. LJ Helbig won a 14-8 decision over Evan Knutson at heavyweight. Helbig took an 8-3 lead into the third period, where Knutson battled back with two takedowns and an escape, but he was unable to close the gap.

The Bison now have a week off before traveling to Cedar Falls, Iowa for the NCAA West Regional Saturday, March 3.

#11 Wyoming 31, North Dakota State 6
125 – #18 Michael Martinez (WYO) dec. #19 Trent Sprenkle (NDSU), 5-2
133 – #16 Zach Zehner (WYO) dec. Justin Solberg (NDSU), 8-5
141 – Chase Smith (WYO) dec. Tyler Diamond (NDSU), 7-0
149 – McCade Ford (WYO) dec. Mark Erickson (NDSU), 5-2
157 – #11 Steven Monk (NDSU) fall Andy McCulley (WYO), 6:04
165 – #3 Shane Onufer (WYO) maj. dec. Joe Garner (NDSU), 10-2
174 – Pat Martinez (WYO) dec. Tyler Johnson (NDSU), 7-2
184 – #1 Joe LeBlanc (WYO) tech. fall Mac Stoll (NDSU), 18-3 (7:00)
197 – #9 Alfonso Hernandez (WYO) maj. dec. John Gusewelle (NDSU), 16-4
Hwt – LJ Helbig (WYO) dec. Evan Knutson (NDSU), 14-8