Cowboys Take Team Title and Crown Three at Reno Tournament of Champions

By  | 

RENO, Nev. (RELEASE)- It was a banner day for the Wyoming wrestling team Sunday at the Reno Tournament of Champions as the Cowboys took first place as a team with 155.5 points and crowned three individual champions on the day.

Montorie Bridges at 133 pounds, Dewey Krueger at 157 and Tate Samuelson at 184 were the three champions for the Pokes. Krueger was named the Most Outstanding Wrestler of the Tournament, becoming the third consecutive Cowboy to receive the honor at Reno. It also marks UW's fifth-straight season with a top-four team finish at the Tournament of Champions.

"I was about to leave, honestly, I didn't know what was going on" said Krueger afterwards.

"They called my name over, and I was like 'dang.' I had a good tournament and had fun. This was probably the most fun I had wrestling, I enjoy wrestling and it feels good to have it pay off a little bit."

UW also got three second-place finishes at the event as Jaron Jensen (149), Cole Moody (165) and Hayden Hastings (174) all came up just short in the finals. Casey Randles took third at 165 pounds while Stephen Buchanan was fourth at 197 and Chase Zollmann took fifth at 141 pounds to round-out the podium finishes for the Cowboys.

Bridges opened up his tournament with back-to-back falls as he defeated Blaysen Terukina of Menlo late in his opening match of the day and then pinned Colorado Mes'as Dylan Keeney with a minute left in the first period. In the quarters, Bridges escaped with a 1-0 win over Warner Pacific's Austin Wallace-Lister before winning 4-2 in the semifinals over Oregon State's Devan Turner. In the championship match, Bridges controlled Campbell's Noah Gonser, 4-1 to take home the title.

"Reno is a good tournament and a good tournament for our team," said Bridges.

"We won as a team, so that was a big part to finish our semester out strong. It was good for us to put ourselves into position to be better, wrestle better and get better."

Krueger opened his day with back-to-back bonus-point victories as well as he began with a 15-1 major decision over Cal Poly's Max Anderson. In the next round, Kruger tech-falled Highline's John Sowers, 20-2. In the quarterfinals, Krueger defeated Matthew Olguin of Fresno State, 4-2 before surviving a 4-3 contest against Grand View's Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer. In the finals, Krueger defeated Oregon State's Hunter Willits, 3-1 in thrilling fashion, getting a Sudden Victory takedown to take the title.

At 184, Samuelson opened his tournament with a first period fall of Western Wyoming's Jace Anderson. Samuelson then blanked Campbell's Calib Hopkins, 3-0 before advancing past Grand View's Kenderick Jones, 3-2. In the semis, Samuelson defeated Anthony Orozco of Menlo, 6-1 before taking out Oregon State's Colt Doyle in the finals, 3-1 to earn Wyoming's third individual title. Samuelson's win over Doyle came in the final seconds of Sudden Victory, much like Krueger's win early in the night.

"I came out a little timid, but still got the first place finish. I've still got some room to improve but still happy about tonight." Said Samuelson.

Jaron Jensen, who competed for the first time as a ranked wrestler Sunday, had a solid day as he recorded a pair of tech fall wins, defeating Campbell's Zachary Barnes, 15-0 and Warner Pacific's Zach Sias, 16-1. Jensen also got a pin at 3:42 in his second round match over Umpqua's Titus Mejia. After picking up back-to-back decisions, 6-4 and 10-4, Jensen was defeated in the finals by Stanford's Jaden Abas, 10-6.

At 165 pounds, Moody began the T.O.C. with three consecutive bonus-point victories as he pinned Utah Valley's Corbin Smith early in the second period. In the round of 16, Moody got a 14-2 major decision over Cal Poly's Dylan Miracle and then dispatched of Northern Colorado's Austin Matthews in the quarterfinals in just 2:21. In the semifinals, Moody earned an 8-2 decision over Fresno State's Ricky Padilla before coming up short in the championship bout, 10-5 against Campbell's Quentin Perez.

Hastings rolled along to five wins at 174 as he opened the day with a 9-0 major over UNC's Xavier Vasquez. Hastings then pinned Menlo's Jordan Bernal in just 1:33 before winning 6-1 over CSU Bakersfield's Albert Urias, 6-1. In the quarters, Hastings pinned Cal Baptist's Jacob Cooper in just 54 seconds before getting a 9-4 win in the semis over Abner Romero. Hastings had to bow-out before the finals match due to an injury as Baker's Lucas Lovvorn took the 174-pound title.

The Pokes will now be off for two weeks before returning to action Dec. 29 for the South Beach Duals down in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The Cowboys will face Cornell and Old Dominion Sunday at the event and will face Michigan State and North Carolina State Monday, Dec. 30.