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January 19, 2012

Cal Poly Wrestling to Visit Wyoming and Air Force for Dual Meets

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -- Cal Poly, which split two dual meets last week, hits the road for two more dual meets this weekend, visiting No. 6 Wyoming on Friday night and No. 28 Air Force on Saturday afternoon for non-conference matchups.

Coach Brendan Buckley's Mustangs (4-3, 2-2 Pac-12) competed in five tournaments in the first two months of the season before heading into the dual meet portion of its 2011-12 schedule. Cal Poly won its first two duals of the season in November, defeating CSU Bakersfield 28-10 and Menlo College 40-6, before dropping a 36-6 decision against Oregon State on Dec. 11 at Cuesta College.

Following a 25-13 non-conference decision against No. 10 American and a come-from-behind 22-20 Pac-12 victory over Boise State two weeks ago, the No. 19 Mustangs defeated Division II San Francisco State 25-13 last Friday night and fell 23-17 to No. 22 Stanford in a Pac-12 dual meet Sunday afternoon.

Wyoming is 2-2 on the year after a wild 23-22 victory at Oregon State on Sunday. The dual meet featured four falls and was tied at 22-22 following the final bout. Wyoming earned the victory on criteria, scoring 34 match points to Oregon State's 30. First criteria was falls (2-2), followed by technical falls (0-0), major decisions (1-1) and, finally, match points scored.

Wyoming has six nationally ranked wrestlers, led by top-ranked 184-pound senior Joe LeBlanc (18-1), a three-time NCAA All-American with finishes of sixth place in 2011, fourth in 2010 and fifth in 2009.

Other Cowboys in the national rankings include No. 3 Shane Onufer (18-1), fifth-place finisher in the NCAAs a year ago, at 165, No. 8 Alfonso Hernandez at 197, No. 17 Zach Zehner (20-8) at 133, No. 19 Michael Martinez (16-9) at 125 and No. 21 Pat Martinez (24-8) at 174.

Wyoming, coached by fourth-year head coach Mark Branch, a four-time NCAA finalist while wrestling at Oklahoma State, dropped an 18-16 decision at Cal Poly a year ago. The Mustangs are 4-0 all-time against the Cowboys.

Air Force sports a 3-3 overall dual meet record after a 2-2 performance in the Lone Star Duals over the weekend, defeating Brown and Central Baptist while falling to Chattanooga and Harvard.

One Falcon wrestler is ranked in the national polls. Junior Cole VonOhlen is No. 3 at 149 pounds with a 22-2 record after going 4-0 in the Lone Star Duals. The team captain posted a 44-9 mark as a sophomore and 31-9 as a freshman, qualifying for the NCAAs both seasons.

Cal Poly and Air Force have met only once before on the mat. The Falcons earned a 19-15 decision in the Oregon Duals at Portland, Ore., on Jan. 22, 2000.

Air Force is coached by Joel Sharratt, in his sixth season. Sharratt is a 1995 graduate of Iowa, where he earned three NCAA All-American certificates, including a national title in 1994, under the guidance of head coach Dan Gable.

Cal Poly will send three nationally ranked wrestlers into this weekend's dual meets.

Mustang 141-pounder Boris Novachkov, who won titles at the Cowboy Open and Reno Tournament of Champions while finishing fifth at the Las Vegas Invitational earlier this season, is ranked No. 2 in two polls and No. 4 in two other polls.

Now 21-2 this season and 108-21 in his Mustang career, the senior is a two-time NCAA All-American (second in 2011, seventh in 2010), two-time Pac-12 champion and three-time NCAA qualifier. He placed third in the Pac-12 finals as a freshman in 2008.

Cal Poly 174-pounder Ryan DesRoches (19-1) is ranked No. 3 by Amateur Wrestling News and No. 4 in the other three major polls this week. He suffered his first loss of the year against top-ranked Nick Amuchastegui of Stanford in an 8-0 major decision last Sunday.

DesRoches has earned first-place finishes in the Cowboy Open, Las Vegas Invitational and Reno Tournament of Champions this season. The Riverside High School (Deer Park, Wash.) graduate is 102-32 in his Mustang career, is a two-time NCAA qualifier and twice has placed third in the Pac-12 finals.

Cal Poly 197-pounder Ryan Smith, who dropped out of the national rankings in late December, has bounced back with four consecutive wins in dual meets.

Pinned by No. 14 Danny Mitchell of American in the Midlands, Smith avenged that loss with a 3-2 decision in a dual meet Jan. 6, earned a 10-6 decision against Brent Chriswell of Boise State on Jan. 8 and posted a pair of major decisions last week -- 16-5 over Thomas Martin of San Francisco State on Friday and 17-5 against Stanford's Alan Yen on Sunday.

Smith placed second in the Roadrunner Open, fourth in the Reno Tournament of Champions and posted a 3-2 mark in the Midlands. He is 16-8 on the year, 63-43 in his Mustang career, qualified for the NCAA finals a year ago and has placed second and fifth in the Pac-12 finals.

The Mustangs have competed in the Cowboy Open (non-scoring), Roadrunner Open (non-scoring), Las Vegas Invitational (11th), Reno Tournament of Champions (sixth) and Midlands Championships (33rd) this season.

Cal Poly's lineup for this weekend's duals will be Britain Longmire (8-5) or Michael Clemmensen (1-6) at 125, Christopher Calcagno (4-4) at 133, Boris Novachkov (21-2) at 141, Kyle Chene (2-2) at 149, Gianpier Yanez (1-5) at 157, Paul Woodman (1-6) at 165, Ryan DesRoches (19-1) or Dominic Kastl (6-3) at 174, Sean Dougherty (6-9) or Ian Daube (0-0) at 184, Ryan Smith (16-8) at 197 and Kelan Bragg (5-8) (pictured above) at 285.

Next week, Cal Poly wrestling, presented by Meathead Movers, closes out the home portion of its 2011-12 schedule on Friday, Jan. 27, against Arizona State at 7 p.m. inside Mott Gym.