Photos by Claire Knerr
Cleveland, OH – Redshirt freshman Montorie Bridges (above right) and senior Bryce Meredith each posted a 2-0 record on Thursday to lead a group of six Cowboy wrestlers representing the University of Wyoming at the 2018 NCAA Championships in the Quicken Loans Arena. UW posted a 7-6 overall mark on the day with four wrestlers still alive. The Brown and Gold sit tied for 23rd with 7.5 points.
With Bridges and Meredith pacing UW, senior Archie Colgan and junior Branson Ashworth each split their matches on Thursday, going 1-1, as both senior Chaz Polson and redshirt freshman Sam Turner dropped two to complete their season.
“It’s not bad to have four guys still competing,” UW head coach Mark Branch said. “Two of them are in the quarterfinals. Our training should help us compete harder every day, and it’s going to have to because it gets harder from here on out. I thought Montorie (Bridges) had two tough matches today. I didn’t see the bonus-points coming in the first match, and in the second he wrestled smart. Tomorrow we’ll all have to be a little more aggressive. He is inching closer to his goals and now has the No. 1 seed in Seth Gross. I was happy with what Bryce (Meredith) did today. It’s what he needed to do. He is like everyone else in having a tough way tomorrow, but I know he is looking forward to it.”
Bridges will get his shot at No. 1 Seth Gross (SDSU) on Friday morning. The NCAA first-timer took down No. 9 Dennis Gustafson at ease on Thursday night. Bridges was able to advance thanks to an escape and takedown in the second period. Despite an escape from Gustafson, he was awarded a penalty point for the 4-1 decision. With the win, Bridges now owns the most wins for any Cowboy 133-pounder at Nationals.
Meredith, the favorite at 141 pounds, came out in top in his opening act on Thursday morning. The two-time All-American dropped Colton Schilling (Cal Poly) for his first win of the tournament. Meredith scored a swift reversal in the second period before a takedown in the third. A riding time point moved it to a 5-1 decision.
133 pounds: No. 8 Montorie Bridges- 2-0
Champ. Round 1: Bridges major Ben Thornton (Purdue), 16-3
Champ. Round 2: Bridges No. 9 Dennis Gustafson (VaTech)
141 pounds: No. 1 Bryce Meredith- 2-0
Champ. Round 1: Meredith dec. Colton Schilling (Cal Poly), 5-1
Champ. Round 2: Meredith dec. Vincent Turk (Iowa), 5-2
149 pounds: Sam Turner – 0-2
Champ. Round 1: No. 16 Alfred Bannister (Maryland) dec. Turner, 4-3 TB2
Conso. Round 1: Eleazar Deluca (Rutgers) dec. Turner, 5-3
157 pounds: No. 9 Archie Colgan- 1-1
Champ. Round 1: Colgan dec. Hunter Willits (Oregon State), 3-1 SV1
Champ. Round 2: No. 8 Tyler Berger (Nebraska) dec. Colgan, 2-1 TB2
165 pounds: No. 14 Branson Ashworth – 1-1
Champ. Round 1: Ashworth dec. Connor Flynn (Mizzou), 5-2
Champ. Round 2: No. 3 Vincenzo Jospeh (Penn State) dec. 3-1
184 pounds: Chaz Polson- 1-2
Champ. Round 1: No. 7 Taylor Venz (Nebraska) tech Polson, 19-1
Conso. Round 1: Polson dec. Alan Clothier (Appalachian State), 8-5
Conso. Round 2: Emory Parker (Illinois) major Polson 17-3