The 2016 collegiate wrestling season is approaching quickly for the Wyoming Cowboys. They will debut Nov. 5.

Mark Branch begins his eighth season at the helm of the program. Wyoming returns eight starters and a pair of NCAA qualifiers from last season in senior Drew Templeman and junior Bryce Meredith.

Meredith was an All-American last season after he finished second at the NCAA Championships last March. He realizes there’s still a lot of room for improvement, as he sets his sights on the big prize.

The Cowboys have gone 80-38 in duals under Branch, and that includes a 38-8 mark in conference action. UW wrestles in the Big 12 for a second season in 2016-17. Last season Wyoming was 6-6 in duals, including a 4-4 record in the conference.

UW will begin the new season by hosting the annual Cowboy Open Nov. 5 in War Memorial Fieldhouse. They will also have home duals against Nebraska and Iowa State in November. South Dakota State, Oregon State and Boise State visit in January 2017. There’s also two home duals next February against Air Force and North Dakota State.

The Big 12 Championships are March 4-5, 2017 in Tulsa, OK. The NCAA’s are back in St. Louis next year March 16-18.

NWCA All-Star Classic

On a separate note, Meredith will open his season at the 51st NWCA All-Star Classic in Cleveland, OH on Nov. 5. He’ll wrestle Rutgers’ two-time All-American Anthony Ashnault. It’ll be the first meeting between the two.

Meredith is the seventh participant and first since 2011 from Wyoming to appear in the NWCA All-Star Classic. The last two were Joe LeBlanc and Shane Onufer. The Cowboys are 2-4 in the event, and only LeBlanc has ever won a bout in the All-Star Classic.