Meredith, Colgan Advance to Big 12 Finals
TULSA – Seniors Bryce Meredit and Archie Colgan advanced to the finals of the Big 12 Wrestling Championshps on Sunday. Four other Cowboys are still alive in the consolation semifinals -- redshirt freshmen Montorie Bridges and Sam Turner, junior Branson Ashworth and senior Chaz Polso.
“There was good and bad today,” UW head coach Mark Branch said. “To have two guys in the finals is good. There were winnable matches that we’d like to have back, but this is a tough tournament. I thought a couple guys wrestled tight, but showed guts fighting back. It’s another day tomorrow, and we have to come out swinging and ready to go.”
ith a win in the finals, Colgan and Meredith could become the first Cowboys to win an individual conference championship since Shane Woods in 2015. Woods, a three-time individual conference champ, won the title at 197 pounds during his senior season.
Nine of the ten Pokes picked up a win in the morning session. Five of those wins came via bonus-points. Bridges led the way with a fall. Redshirt sophomore Drake Foster, Turner and Colgan each earned a major decision in their first bouts, while Polson cruised to victory in his opening match with a tech fall. After the second session, UW is just outside the top-three with 59 team points. Oklahoma State, which has nine wrestlers still alive, is leading the standings with 106.5 points. Northern Iowa (78) and South Dakota State (71.5) are second and third, respectively.
“We know we can’t hold anything back at this point,” Branch added. “I think everyone wrestles a little tighter here. There is a lot of pressure at this tournaments. Bryce (Meredith) had a couple of tough matches with guys that had nothing to lose. I liked how he kept his cool for the most part. He needs those tough matches as it’ll help him down the line. Archie (Colgan) going into overtime and coming out on top was great. He knows he season won’t end tomorrow. So he can just go out and wrestle tomorrow. There is something you can get out of every match. We’ll regroup and get ready for tomorrow.”.
Foster was the first official Cowboy to step on the mat on Saturday and was able to get the ball rolling early for the Brown and Gold. Behind two takedowns and a four-point nearfall, Foster jumped out to an 8-1 lead in the preliminary match at 125 pounds. He added one more takedown and an escape for a 12-1 major decision over Sinjin Briggs (ISU) to move on to face top seed Nick Piccininni of Oklahoma State.
Foster scored three escapes against the top-seed in Piccininni, but fell by a 10-3 decision in the quarterfinal round. Foster then saw Paul Bianchi of NDSU in the consolation bracket and dropped a 5-3 decision to close out his championship.
Bridges, making his Big 12 Championship debut, earned UW’s first fall of the Big 12 Championship. He pinned Utah Valley’s Durbin Lloren in the second period of his quarterfinal match and went on to face No. 3 seed Kaid Brock of Oklahoma State in the semifinals. In what was a rematch of Bridges’ upset in December, Brock jumped out to an early lead and held on for the 6-2 decision win. Bridges will face UNC’s Rico Montoya to start his day tomorrow.
In the 141 pound bracket, Meredith came out on top after the opening period of his quarterfinal match with Matt Findlay (UVU). He didn’t look back and picked up the offensive intensity during the middle period. The top seeded Meredith would total three takedowns and an escape for the 7-2 decision to begin his day.
Meredith awaited Henry Pohlmeyer (SDSU) in the semifinals on Saturday night. The two-time All-American was able to put points on the board first with a second-period reversal. Before moving onto tomorrow’s finals against Dean Heil, he added a takedown in the third for the 4-0 decision. The matchup with Heil will be the second-consecutive in the Big 12 finals.
Turner added another major for Wyoming in his preliminary round match at 149 pounds. He defeated Colten Carlson of South Dakota State by a solid 12-2 victory. Three takedowns and a four-point nearfall was more than enough for the redshirt freshman in his first postseason bout. Turner moved on to face fourth-seed Jarrett Degen of Iowa State. Degen edged Turner in the quarterfinal match with an 8-5 decision.
In the first round of consolations at 149 pounds, Turner took on Jimmy Fate of Northern Colorado. The bout went scoreless in the opening period, but Turner was able to score an escape and takedown in the second. He tacked on another takedown and riding time for the 6-0 decision. He was much on the offensive in the second round of consolations against Matthew Ontiveros (UVU) and would score a reversal to open the second period. He added nearfall points and riding time for the 5-1 decision. He will face Davion Jeffries (OU) in the consolation semifinals tomorrow afternoon.
Colgan gave Wyoming another bonus-point victory with a major decision over Alex Mossing (AF) in his quarterfinal bout at 157 pounds. Colgan ignited for three takedowns in the first period, and ultimately added two more, nearfall points and riding time for the significant 14-2 major.
He earned the 3-1 sudden victory over third-seeded Luke Silverberg (SDSU) in the semifinal bout at 157 pounds to advance to the finals. Colgan and Silverberg each added an escape to take it to sudden victory. Colgan made the move first to get the takedown and victory. Tomorrow’s Big 12 final will be the first for the senior.
Ashworth moved onto the semifinals at 165 pounds after a 6-5 decision over Nick Kiussis of West Virginia in his first match of the day. He earned the come from behind victory with the help of a third-period reversal and then a riding time point.
He would then wrestle NDSU’s Andrew Fogarty in the semifinals. The two met in the quarterfinals of last year’s Big 12 Championship where Fogarty came away with a 5-3 decision. Ashworth took a 2-0 decision in their lone matchup earlier this year. He scored an escape in the second period to take a 1-0 lead, and it wasn’t until the third that Fogarty was able to even the score. Fogarty scored the takedown in sudden victory to seal it, 3-1.
Senior Kyle Pope began his day against Dominic Kincaid of Fresno State. He fell behind after the first period, but evened the score at two with an escape to start the second. With a majority of the points coming in the final period, Pope brought home a 12-7 decision to advance to face third-seeded David Kocer of South Dakota State. Kocer would pick up the 19-0 tech fall in the quarterfinals to push Pope to the first round of the consolation bracket.
In the first round of consolations at 174 pounds, Pope quickly jumped out to a 6-0 lead over Danny Bush of Iowa State. Pope held the advantage throughout the match with a takedown and a four-point nearfall in the first period. A stalling point and escape would further his lead. He ultimately took the 10-4 decision to advance. In his second consolation matchup, Pope was able to hold an early 3-2 lead in the first period before Parker VonEgidy of West Virginia used his offense to regain the lead. He wouldn’t go down easy but VonEgidy took the 12-8 decision to end Pope’s tournament.
Polson had no issue with Matthew Waddell of Oklahoma in his first match of the day, as he won with an 18-2 tech fall at 184 pounds. Polson used four total takedowns plus nearfall points on way to the victory. The only points Polson gave up were escapes in the third period. He moved on to face OSU’s Keegan Moore in the quarterfinal round. Despite back and forth scoring early in the bout, Moore would take an 11-8 decision over Polson. The senior proved to have short memory, as he earned a pin in the first round of consolations. Polson’s first-period pin over Fresno State’s Richie Brandt was the second fall for the Brown and Gold on Saturday. In a tough and hard fought match, Polson defeated Air Force’s Zen Ikehara with a 3-1 decision to keep his season alive. He’ll take on No. 2 seed Martin Mueller of SDSU tomorrow afternoon.
In the first postseason action of his career, junior Sam Eagan fell behind but fought his way back for the victory in his preliminary round match at 285 pounds. A last second takedown from the junior moved it to overtime. Eagan shined in the extra time and in the second tiebreaker period he picked up the reversal for the 6-4 win. He moved on to wrestle top seeded Derek White of OSU in the quarterfinal bout. Eagan was able to score a couple escapes, but White ran away with a 17-2 tech fall in the quarterfinal round.
Luke Paine closed out his career wearing the Brown and Gold with two matches on Saturday. Paine fell to fifth-seed Sam Colbray (ISU) before dropping the first round consolation match to Tanner Orndorff of Utah Valley.
Eagan picked up his second win of the day with a 2-1 decision over Robert Winters of UNC. The junior was first on the board with an escape to take a 1-0 lead. It was until a second stall in the final period warning from Winters that gave Eagan the advantage and ultimately the win. Eagan fell to Dan Stribal in the second round of consolations. After holding his own throughout the first three periods and sudden victory, Eagan was unable to score an escape point in the second tiebreaker.
The second day of the 2018 Big 12 Championship will begin with the third session tomorrow at 11 a.m. MT. The finals are set to begin at 5 p.m. from the BOK Center in Tulsa, Okla.