March 7, 2022 — Stephen Buchanan etched his name into the UW wrestling record books on Sunday night as he became only the fifth Cowboy in program history to win a Big 12 title. The last Poke to do so was Brian Andrews at heavyweight in 2020.
“It’s a huge deal, I think it’s safe to say that was the toughest weight here too, and he went out and wrestled great. What an accomplishment for him, and it’s not by accident,” said Wyoming Head Wrestling Coach Mark Branch. “He is consistently driven, and it shows in his commitment and his confidence. The great thing is he knows this isn’t what it’s all about, and he’s already thinking about Detroit. It was a great win, but he’s not done yet.”
In the finals, top-seeded Buchanan faced off against No. 2 seeded Tanner Sloan of South Dakota State. After a scoreless first period, Buchanan went to work rattling off three straight points and taking control of the match. From there, he never looked back, shutting down all of Sloan’s shot attempts clinching the 3-2 win and a Big 12 Title.
With the historic win, Buchanan moved to 23-2 on the season and improved his winning streak to 10 straight matches. He will now take that momentum in the NCAA Championships, March 17-19, in Detriot. He will also be looking to become a two-time All-American.
At 157 pounds, Wyoming’s Jacob Wright took third place with a 6-5 win over Justin Thomas of Oklahoma. The third-place finish is Wright’s best finish at the Big 12 championships. He went 5-1 over the two days of competition. Wright will be making his third straight appearance at the NCAA tournament.
Wyoming’s Hayden Hastings, wrestling at 174 pounds, took fifth place, securing himself a spot at his fourth straight NCAA Championships.
Also, Sunday, 184 pounder Tate Samuelson took seventh place and will now await an at-large invitation to the NCAA Championships.