The Cowboys picked up exciting victories in the 125 and 133-pound bouts, giving Wyoming a 17-15 lead and making the final match of the dual a must win for both teams.
In the 141-pound bout UNC would see its redshirt junior A.C. Headlee take on Wyoming’s Sam Turner. In yet another dual that came down to the wire, Turner escaped the grasp of Headlee in the final seconds of the match to give the Cowboys the win.
No. 15 UNC 31, American 3
The Tar Heels responded quickly by handily defeating American (0-3). This dual was the Eagles’ second of the season.
UNC won every match of the dual except for one. In the 165-pound bout, redshirt sophomore Sawyer Davidson filled in for his classmate No. 14 Kennedy Monday and lost by a 7-5 decision. The absence of Monday was very noticeable at the Cowboy Shootout. Along with Davidson’s loss, redshirt sophomore Will MacDonald lost via tech fall in the dual against Wyoming.
The most anticipated match of the dual came in the 133-pound bout. Redshirt senior Gary Wayne Harding took on the Eagles’ only ranked wrestler, No. 17 Josh Terao. Harding trailed after the first period but didn’t allow Terao to score the rest of the match and picked up a 5-2 upset win.
No. 15 UNC 22, Army West Point 18
North Carolina started their third dual of the night against Army West Point (2-2) with two important wins. No. 5 Austin O’Connor set the tone with a pin in the 149-pound bout and he was followed by redshirt sophomore Josh McClure in the 157-pound bout. McClure faced a tough test against Army West Point’s No. 16 Lucas Weiland but squeezed out a 3-1 win to give UNC an early 9-0 lead.
The Tar Heels’ again showed that they miss Monday as MacDonald was pinned in the 165-pound bout. The Black Knights used that momentum to tie the match at 9-9 before the only ranked matchup of the dual in the 184-pound bout.
No. 11 Chip Ness dominated No. 19 Noah Stewart of Army West Point and won via a 17-1 tech fall. That win gave North Carolina a 14-9 lead but it quickly vanished as Army West Point took six points from the 197-pound bout after Blair picked up for four stalling calls. UNC also lost a point from that match because they were called for unsportsmanlike conduct.
The Tar Heels eventually secured the win after cruising in the final two bouts of the dual. Harding picked up a 10-5 victory in the 133-pound bout and Headlee won 8-4 in the 141-pound bout.
North Carolina did not capitalize on its opportunity to pick up a ranked win but the team did add two wins to its record and many wrestlers defeated ranked opponents. The Tar Heels have one more dual at Princeton on Jan. 11 before they begin ACC competition.
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