ThunderWolves clinch first winning dual season since 2000
Pack ends dual season with 9-8 record.
PUEBLO, Colo. (GoThunderWolves.com - Feb. 15, 2012) - Early on in CSU-Pueblo's dual finale with Chadron State Wednesday, the ThunderWolves seemed destined for a bad loss.
Two of the first four wrestlers got stuck as its opponent, Chadron State, jumped out to a 15-3 lead.
But six straight wins to close out the dual, including a pair of major decisions from Tim Urenda (Fr., Pueblo, Colo.) and Nick Mamalis (Jr., Green River, Wyo.) lifted the ThunderWolves to a 23-15 come-from-behind win over the Eagles, clinching the Pack's first winning dual season since 2000 in the process.
Trailing 15-3, the tide turned as Adam Carey (Jr., Phoenix, Ariz.) eked out a sudden victory win by a 3-1 score over Devan Foss to start the win parade at 184 pounds. Cody Johnson (Fr., Broken Arrow, Okla.) scored a mild upset of Chadron State's Chris Leak by keeping the Eagles' veteran to the floor, claiming an exciting 7-2 decision.
In the heavyweight match, Bill Gray (So., Ordway, Colo.) turned in perhaps the most exciting win of the night, overcoming a size disadvantage with R.J. Boylan to ride three takedowns to a 7-4 decision.
By the time the lineup turned over the ThunderWolves' three strongest weights, 125, 133 and 141, the match was all but over.
Urenda promptly recorded a 10-1 major decision over Connor Larson to give the Pack its first lead, 16-15, since going up 3-0 to start the dual.
The Pack's 133-pound sensation, Jesse Hillhouse (Jr., Casper, Wyo.), the second-ranked wrestler in the nation, improved to a stellar 28-5 in the most technically competive match of the night, besting Dustin Stodola 4-3 in a nail-biter that was decided by riding time.
Finally, a late flurry in Mamalis' 141-pound match with Perry McAfee turned a dual-clinching decision into a major decision, delivering the 23-15 win.
At 9-8 during the dual campaign, CSU-Pueblo finished its schedule with its first winning season since 2000, when it went 11-5 in duals. Now, the Pack's postseason officially begins as the ThunderWolves set their sights on the NCAA Division II West Regionals/RMAC Championships at Fort Hays State University on Feb. 25 and 26. Following the Pack's appearance at regionals, the cream of the crop will return home for the NCAA Division II National Championships, hosted at CSU-Pueblo's Massari Arena, on March 9 and 10.