* University of Wyoming press release

TULSA, Okla., – University of Wyoming’s Jore Volk (125) faced a sea of orange Sunday night inside the BOK Center. The No. 6-seeded Cowboy had to wrestle No. 2-seeded Troy Spratley of Oklahoma State just 70 miles from Stillwater, Oklahoma, with a Big 12 Championship at stake.

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Even with a groundswell of support from just down the road going against him, Volk remained poised, aggressive and title minded. The result was a 3-2 decision win for No. 13-ranked Volk over No. 10-ranked Spratley.

“It’s extremely, extremely difficult to win a Big 12 championship,” head coach Mark Branch said. “It’s a huge, huge feat. And I can already see on social media that our fans understand that and appreciate it. It’s something Jore needs to be really proud of. He found a way this tournament to push through, and he found ways to win, and that’s a championship quality you have to have.”

Volk’s championship – the first for Wyoming since 2022 – also vaulted the Pokes into a tie for seventh place as a team with 68.5 points. That marks the highest team finish at conference in three years.

Volk’s title was accomplished in come-from-behind fashion. Just like his semifinal match, Volk needed a late takedown in the final 30 seconds to rally for the victory.

It’s a quality Volk hasn’t needed to show much this season. And it’s one that Branch thinks will prove valuable going forward.

“It’s that grittiness that’s so important to have in the postseason,” Branch said. “At the NCAAs, that’s going to be a huge deal. So, learning how to win those really tight matches, learning how to win matches late when you’re behind, is important.”

Volk wasn’t the only Wyoming Cowboy to finish on the top half of the podium. No. 6-seeded Joey Novak (ranked No. 21) took fourth in the 197-pound bracket, and No. 7-seeded Gabe Willochell (ranked No. 26) also placed fourth in the 149-pound bracket.

Novak accomplished his placing by exacting some revenge. He defeated Northern Iowa’s No. 5-seeded Waytt Voekler (ranked No. 24) in the consolation semifinals via decision, 10-8. Voekler got the better of the Novak during a tri-dual in Nebraska in January.

Novak fell in the consolation championship to Oklahoma’s No. 2-seeded Stephen Buchanan (ranked No. 6) via decision, 6-4. In Willochell’s only match Sunday, he lost to Iowa State’s No. 1-seeded Casey Swiderski (ranked No. 6) via technical fall, 22-6.

The other four Pokes competing Sunday all took eighth in their respective brackets. No. 8-seeded Cole Brooks (ranked No. 30) did so in the 141-pound bracket. Sloan Swan outperformed his projection, going from unseeded to eighth in the 157-pound division. No. 8-seeded Cooper Voorhees (165) and Ethan Ducca (184) rounded out the podium finishers for Wyoming.

In total, Wyoming outperformed their pre-tournament projection. Four guys placed higher than their seed – Volk, Willochell, Swan and Novak.

“It’s very encouraging, especially with the youth we have,” Branch said. “There’s a lot to be excited about. It’s been such an enjoyable year because of the youth, and it has energized our entire coaching staff. The future is bright, and we had a pretty good tournament.”

Volk, Willochell and Novak all punched an automatic ticket to the NCAA Tournament with their performances at conference. At-large bids are announced Tuesday, and that will determine if anyone is joining those aforementioned three in Kansas City, Missouri, from March 21-23.

125 | No. 5 Jore Volk (Ranked No. 13) (3-0)

Quarterfinals: No. 5 Volk dec. No. 4 Tanner Jordan (South Dakota State) ranked No. 14, 1-0

Semifinals: No. 5 Volk dec. No. 1 Noah Surtin (Missouri), ranked No. 8, 6-5

Championships: No. 5 Volk dec. No. 2 Troy Spratley (Oklahoma Stat), ranked No. 10, 3-2

133 | No. 8 Garrett Ricks (Ranked No. 30) (0-2)

Quarterfinals: No. 1 Daton Fix (Oklahoma State) ranked No. 2, fall No. 8 Ricks, 2:03

Consolation Round 2: Jace Koelzer (Oklahoma) disqualification Ricks

141 | No. 8 Cole Brooks (Ranked No. 30) (1-3)

Quarterfinals: No. 1 Anthony Echemendia (Iowa State) ranked No. 7, tech. fall No. 8 Brooks, 21-5

Consolation Round 2: No. 8 Brooks major dec. Gavin Drexler (North Dakota State), ranked No. 32, 14-4

Consolation Round 3: No. 5 Clay Carlson (South Dakota State), ranked No. 23, dec. No. 8 Brooks, 8-4

Seventh-Place Match: No. 7 Haiden Drury (Utah Valley), ranked No. 29, dec. No. 8 Brooks, 6-1

149 | No. 7 Gabe Willochell (Ranked No. 26) (2-2)

Quarterfinals: No. 7 Willochell fall No. 2 Willie McDougald (Oklahoma), ranked No. 17, 2:11

Semifinals: No. 3 Ty Watters (West Virginia), ranked No. 7, tech. fall No. 7 Willochell, 19-2

Consolation Round 3: No. 7 Willochell medical forfeit No. 8 Logan Gioffre (Missouri), ranked No. 23

Third-Place Match: No. 1 Casey Swiderski, ranked No. 6, tech. fall No. 7 Willochell, 22-6

157 | Sloan Swan (1-3)

First Round: No. 1 Vinny Zerban (Northern Colorado), ranked No. 2, dec. Swan, 9-3

Consolation Round 2: Swan major dec. No. 7 Landen Johnson (North Dakota State), 11-0

Consolation Round 3: Teague Travis (Oklahoma State), ranked No. 10, major dec. Swan, 9-1

Seventh-Place Match: No. 1 Zerban major dec. Swan, 14-3

165 | No. 8 Cooper Voorhees (2-3)

First Round: No. 8 Voorhees dec. Jaxon Garoutte (Utah Valley), 11-7

Quarterfinals: No. 1 Keegan O’Toole (Missouri), ranked No. 1, fall No. 8 Voorhees, 2:15

Consolation Round 2: No. 8 Voorhees dec. Mateo De La Pena (Cal Baptist), 7-2

Consolation Round 3: No. 5 Giano Petrucelli (Air Force), ranked No. 13, major dec. No. 8 Voorhees, 8-0

Seventh-Place Match: No. 6 Cael Carlson (Oklahoma), ranked No. 29, dec. Voorhees, 2-1

174 | Quayin Short (0-2)

First Round: No. 7 Gaven Sax (North Dakota State), ranked No. 21, tech. fall Short, 15-0

Consolation Round 2: No. 8 Brody Conley (West Virginia), ranked No. 25, dec. Short, 7-1

184 | No. 8 Ethan Ducca (2-3)

First Round: No. 8 Ducca dec. Branson Britten (Northern Colorado), 4-3

Quarterfinals: No. 1 Parker Keckeisen (Northern Iowa), ranked No. 1, tech. fall Ducca, 21-4

Consolation Round 2: No. 8 Ducca sudden victory Guiseppe Hoose (Oklahoma), 4-1

Consolation Round 3: No. 5 Will Feldkamp (Iowa State), ranked No. 10, tech. fall No. 8 Ducca, 16-1

Seventh-Place Match: No. 7 Dennis Robin (West Virginia), ranked No. 30, fall No. 8 Ducca, 2:32

197 | No. 6 Joey Novak (Ranked No. 21) (4-2)

First Round: No. 6 Novak fall Calvin Sund (Air Force), 3:39

Quarterfinals: No. 3 Rocky Elam (Missouri), ranked No. 9, dec. No. 6 Novak, 5-1

Consolation Round 2: No. 6 Novak major dec. Eli Sheeran (Cal Baptist), 12-4

Consolation Round 3: No. 6 Novak fall Xavier Vasquez (Northern Colorado), 5:18

Consolation Semifinals: No. 6 Novak dec. No. 5 Wyatt Voelker (Northern Iowa), ranked No. 24, 10-8

Consolation Championship: No. 2 Stephen Buchanan (Oklahoma), ranked No. 6, dec. No. 6 Novak, 6-4

HWT | No. 8 Kevin Zimmer (0-2)

First Round: Luke Rasmussen (South Dakota State), ranked No. 31, dec. No. 8 Zimmer, 7-5

Consolation Round 2: No. 7 Michael Wolfgram (West Virginia) dec. Zimmer, 6-4

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