GUNNISON, Colorado — The Cloud County Community College wrestling team wrapped up its grueling back-to-back against NCAA Division II powers on Friday, falling 50-3 to Western State Colorado University, currently ranked No. 9 in the NWCA Division II Coaches Poll.
The Mountaineers fielded a team that included just one true freshman and two nationally ranked wrestlers in Brandon Supernaw, ranked No. 1 at 174 pounds in NCAA Division II, and Konnor Schmidt (No. 2, 197).
"I don't think the final score is really indicative of what happened," said Cloud County head coach, Cody Cole. "I think our guys battled really well and at a different level than we were last night (against Colorado Mesa). We faced a lot better team overall and I thought we stood our ground."
Cloud County redshirt freshman Bryce Gfeller highlighted the evening for the T-Birds as he bounced back from a tough loss in Thursday's dual against Colorado Mesa University to earn a narrow 10-9 victory over Diego Calderon at 149-pounds.
Gfeller built a 4-3 lead after the first period and then built some cushion with four near fall points in the second period, giving him an 8-5 advantage heading into the third.
He was able to escape out of both Calderon takedowns in the third period to seal the 10-9 final.
"Bryce wrestled up a weight again for us and did a really good job," Cole said. "He opened up more, had better offense and did a good job finishing off that match against a tough NCAA Division II opponent."
Sophomore heavyweight Benny Hernandez, the No. 4 ranked 285-pounder at the NJCAA level, challenged for his second straight win against a NCAA Division II opponent, but was pinned in a fall time of 5:07.
Hernandez trailed just 1-0 at the time of the pin. His match was a microcosm of the evening for the T-Birds, who left Gunnison with respect from a Mountaineers program and fanbase Cole once represent from 2009-2013.
"It was nice at the end of the night that there were a lot of people in the stands — people I recognized who watched me wrestle here — that were pretty receptive of our team," said Cole, who was coaching against two of his former collegiate teammates in Charlie Pipher and Donovan McMahill. "I think their fanbase gave us a good welcoming and there were a number of people who had a lot of nice things to say about how hard we fought and battled."
The T-Birds will now turn their attention toward another dual against a NCAA Division II foe on Thursday when they take on Newman University. Action gets underway at 7 p.m. in Wichita.
"Newman will be a lot like Colorado Mesa. They have some really good transfers that have come in and a lot of tough kids," Cole said. "But overall, I think that'll be a dual where we should find ourselves right in the thick of things the whole time."
125 Trent Piatt (Western State) over Blayne Harris (Cloud County) (TF 17-2 4:08)
133 Cody Fatzinger (Western State) over Blake Leiszler (Cloud County) (Fall 6:15)
141 Jason Hanenberg (Western State) over Tyren Castonguay (Cloud County) (MD 12-0)
149 Bryce Gfeller (Cloud County) over Diego Calderon (Western State) (Dec 10-9)
157 Jason Slaughter (Western State) over Quentin Jiner (Cloud County) (Fall 6:42)
165 Hunter Mullin (Western State) over Noah Aziere (Cloud County) (TF 21-6 6:27)
174 Brandon Supernaw (Western State) over Kobryn Mann (Cloud County) (Fall 1:42)
184 Ruger Wyneken (Western State) over Matthew Cruickshank (Cloud County) (Fall 4:11)
197 Konnor Schmidt (Western State) over Zach Bowen (Cloud County) (Fall 3:44)
285 Sammy Deseriere (Western State) over Benny Hernandez (Cloud County) (Fall 5:07)