By CARLON SCOTT
The BYU wrestling team finished third in the Western Athletic Conference Championships Saturday. Fresno State retained the WAC title with a team score of 85, while Wyoming edged BYU out of second place by a half point, 81-80.5.
However, three BYU wrestlers did take the top spots in their weight classes.
BYU senior John Kelly won his second straight WAC title at 126 pounds. Kelly first went against Corey Hamrick in the semifinals. It was the third time the two wrestlers had faced off this season. Kelly won in a convincing 12-2 major decision.
Next up for Kelly was Stan Greene of Fresno State. Greene had previously beaten Kelly 9-6 in a match earlier this season. But when it counted most Saturday at WAC championships, Kelly was the one to walk away victorious by an 8-2 mark.
This time against Greene, Kelly had him figured out.
“I knew how he wrestled this time. All he is is a defensive wrestler. I just made sure I wrestled my style. I wasn’t going to take any bad shots like I did against him the first time,” Kelly said.
For BYU sophomore Brett Gappmayer, it was a day of firsts. It was Gappmayer’s first trip to the championships and he took home his first title.
Wrestling in the 158-pound weight class as the number- one seed, Gappmayer first beat Sheroyd Brown of Air Force 4-1 in the semifinals. In the finals, Gappmayer handled Jeremy Sell, beating him 6-2 to win the title.
In a press release given after the match on Saturday Gappmayer summed up his feelings.
“I felt relief after winning. I’m excited to go to the national tournament to participate and see what I can do,” said Gappmayer.
BYU freshman Chris Miller was a number one seed going in to the heavyweight class bracket of the tournament. Because there were only three wrestlers at heavyweight, Miller only had to wrestle one match to win the title. Fresno State’s Demtrist Huff wrestled Miller tough. Miller started off down two early in the first.
“When he took me down in the first period, I was a little nervous,” Miller said.
But Miller recovered well, scoring a reversal and then racking up some advantage time that would prove to be a factor. Huff came out and scored an escape beginning the second but was unable to get any more points. Miller was down to begin the third period.
“I knew if I could get my escape in the third and then finish off the match, I could win with riding time,” Miller said.
Miller scored the escape and withstood Huff the rest of the way, to get the win from the advantage time, 4-3.
Kelly and Miller will also be going to the NCAA tournament along with Gappmayer and Cougar sophomore Jose Enriquez.
In the awards given after the tournament, BYU wrestling coach Mark Schultz was presented with WAC Coach of the Year honors. Air Force Coach Wayne Baughman also received the same award.