In perhaps its most publicized dual this season, South Dakota State battled Western Wrestling Conference leader Wyoming in Spearfish, S.D.
On the campus of Black Hills State, SDSU wrestled Wyoming tough, but was unable to hold off the Cowboys in the late matches and lost 21-13.
Aaron Pickrel opened the dual versus Tyler Cox at 125 pounds. Pickrel wrestled tough, but was unable to keep pace as Cox pulled away for a 15-4 major decision to put Wyoming on top early.
In the 133-pound match, Brance Simms faced Kasey Garnhart. Simms wrestled with control and poise in a low-scoring match. In the third period, Simms scored a late takedown, notching a 3-1 decision to put the Jacks on the board.
Ben Gillette squared off versus Kyle Komata at 141. The match was similar to the dual opener, as Gillette competed hard but was unable to keep pace and Komata pushed the Pokes lead back to four with a 13-8 decision.
At 149, SDSU-wins leader Dustin Walraven took on Brandon Richardson. As if a pattern was forming, the match had similar characteristics to that of 133. Walraven bought his time and made his moves count, posting a 7-2 decision and pulling SDSU within one, once again.
In the 157-pound match, Cody Pack lined up versus one of two ranked Cowboys, No. 13 Andy McCulley (InterMat). Pack pushed McCulley to the limit, but was unable to score enough, as Wyoming scored a 7-3 decision to push its lead back to four.
The Pokes led 10-6 at the intermission.
After the break, Joe Brewster faced Jace Jensen, who was not in Wyoming's probable starters, at 165 pounds. Brewster made his match count, tying the team score at 10-10 with an 11-3 major decision. Four matches remained to decide the winner of the dual.
At 174, John Nething II took on LJ Helbig, who wrestled in the 285-pound slot for Wyoming last season. Nething II took an early lead, but was unable to hold on. Once again, the Cowboys forged ahead with a narrow, 6-4 decision and a three-point team score lead.
Shea Nolan lined up versus Shane Woods at 184. Nolan was unable to get on the scoreboard, but kept it within seven in a decision loss.
The decision pushed the Wyoming lead to 16-10 with two matches remaining, both must-wins for the Jacks.
In the 197-pound match, Joe Skow wrestled third-ranked Alfonso Hernandez. Hernandez scored quickly and often and eventually scored a 19-3 technical fall early in the third period. The win put the Wyoming lead out of reach.
J.J. Everard closed the dual against Leland Pfeifer at 285. Everard was able to set the pace early and score a 12-9 decision, but it was not enough as the Cowboys won by eight points.
"I am extremely proud of how the guys wrestled, fought and hustled," head coach Chris Bono said. "We still have a long way to go, but we are improving every day. The guys did well, both the guys that won and the guys that were in a lot of matches with the possibility to win. The team is improving every day. We are looking forward to our duals next weekend and facing another tough conference team."
Next SDSU takes to the road for two duals on Sunday, Jan. 27. The Jacks face host and conference foe Air Force and Western State in Colorado Springs. Dual times are to be announced.
Wyoming 21 - SDSU 13
125 - Tyler Cox (Wyoming) major decision Aaron Pickrel, 15-4 (WYO 4-0)
133 - Brance Simms decision Kasey Garnhart (Wyoming), 3-1 (WYO 4-3)
141 - Kyle Komata (Wyoming) decision Ben Gillette, 13-8 (WYO 7-3)
149 - Dustin Walraven decision Brandon Richardson, 7-2 (WYO 7-6)
157 - Andy McCulley (Wyoming) decision Cody Pack, 7-3 (WYO 10-6)
165 - Joe Brewster major decision Jace Jensen (Wyoming), 11-3 (10-10)
174 - L.J. Helbig (Wyoming) decision John Nething II, 6-4 (WYO 13-10)
184 - Shane Woods (Wyoming) decision Shea Nolan, 7-0 (WYO 16-10)
197 - Alfonso Hernandez (Wyoming) tech fall Joe Skow, 19-3 (WYO 21-10)
285 - J.J. Everard decision Leland Pfeifer (Wyoming), 12-9 (WYO wins 21-13)