* University of Wyoming press release

LARAMIE -- The University of Wyoming wrestling team remains on the road this week. The Cowboys travel to Northern Colorado on Friday for a dual at 6 p.m. inside Bank of Colorado Arena.

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The Pokes have rebounded from their bumpy stretch. After dropping five straight duals, -- each of which was against a team that was ranked or receiving votes in the NWCA Coaches’ Poll -- Wyoming has won two in a row to move itself to 5-5 overall and 3-3 in the Big 12.

“Winning certainly motivates and makes you feel like you’re making gains,” head coach Mark Branch said. “Our team has made gains, but our four remaining duals will be challenging, and we are going to need our guys to believe and make special things happen. We have to get closer to perfection as a team if we want to continue this winning streak.”

The first of those four remaining duals features a Northern Colorado team that’s 8-4 overall and 1-3 in league. It’s the closest Division I wrestling program to Wyoming, and that proximity plus some other factors makes this a rivalry.

“They have made it (a rivalry) by not only building a great program, but they create some things with their fan atmosphere that make it personal,” Branch said. “Any time you can go down there and quiet them down, it’s a much better experience.”

Another element to a good rivalry is a competitive dual, and the last three have been just that. None of the three most recent matches have been decided by more than six points with the Bears winning last year in Laramie, 19-16.

The Cowboys won their last trip to Greeley, 21-15, during the 2021-22 season. However, with how youthful this year’s Wyoming team is, no one that won two years ago is on the roster this season.

All four ranked Cowboys are either a sophomore or younger. In fact, only three starters in Wyoming’s most recent dual at Utah Valley were a junior or older.

No. 4 Jore Volk (125) leads the way with an 18-4 record and a 7-4 mark against ranked grapplers. Gabe Willochell (149) checks in at No. 14 with a 14-6 record, while No. 19 Joey Novak (197) and No. 31 Cole Brooks (141) round out the ranked Pokes with records of 16-10 and 8-4, respectively.

Northern Colorado’s lineup mirrors Wyoming’s in a lot of ways. The Bears have four ranked guys in No. 13 Stevo Poulin (125), No. 14 Dominick Serrano (133), No. 3 Vinny Zerban (157) and No. 32 Travis Mastrogiovanni (174).

Following their trip to Greeley, the Pokes return home for the remainder of the regular season. They host No. 10 South Dakota State on Feb. 1, which kicks off a three-dual home stretch.

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