UVU Opens Season Sunday at the Clarion Open
OREM, Utah – After sending a program high four wrestlers to the NCAA Championships a year ago and finishing fourth in the Western Wrestling Conference standings, head coach Greg Williams is expecting big things from his 2014-15 Utah Valley University wrestling team.
The Wolverines will welcome back six of their 10 starters from last year's team that went 6-9 overall and 2-3 in WWC duals. Two of the four grapplers that competed at the 2014 NCAA Championships will also be back for UVU in senior Adam Fager and junior Jade Rauser. Both Fager and Rauser have competed at the last two NCAA's for Utah Valley and Fager will return to the heavyweight division, where he is ranked 12th nationally on the pre-season polls by InterMat, while Rauser will bump up a weight class and wrestle at 133 pounds for UVU this season.
With six starters coming back, Williams will look to his upperclassmen to lead the way for the Wolverines this season. UVU have three seniors and five juniors on the roster this year. Fager, Ethan Smith (174 pounds) and Derek Malan (141) will make up the trio of seniors, while Rauser, Derek Thomas (197), Chasen Tolbert (125), Logan Addis (157) and Ross Taylor (184) will be the five juniors. Fager, Rauser, Smith, Thomas, Tolbert all started for UVU last season while Addis also saw time in the starting lineup, Taylor redshirted and Malan did not compete due to injury. Sophomore Trevor Willson is the other returning starter for the Wolverines as he held down the 149-pound spot a year ago.
A total of seven sophomores will also be back for UVU as well as four redshirt freshmen. Willson, Dustin Dennison (heavyweight), Abel Gomez (184), Jared Harris (149), Jarod Maynes (133), Bracken Nipko (141) and the 149-pound transfer Brayden Humpherys (Colorado Mesa) will make up the seven sophomores while Aryton Almberg (197), Koleton Hardy (157), Jordan Karst (heavyweight) and Jed Mellen (133) will be the four redshirt freshmen.
Williams will also expect big things from a number of his 14 freshmen this season. The ninth-year head coach will look to Matthew Ontiveros (Fresno, California/Central HS) to make an immediate impact at 141 pounds and Dalton Harmon (Nephi, Utah/Juab HS) at 165 as well as a few others. In all, DJ Argyle (149, Orem, Utah/ Timpanogos HS), Logan Blackwood (197, Boise, Idaho/Centennial HS), Jesse Christensen (165, Pleasant Grove, Utah/Pleasant Grove HS), Bryson Echols (174, Tucson, Arizona/Sabino HS), Cole Hamai (149, Washington, Missouri/Washington HS), Raider Lofthouse (157, Avon, Utah/Mountain Crest HS), Tyler Scott (125, Klamoth Falls, Oregon/Henley HS), Will Sumner (184, Penn Valley, California/Nevada Union HS), Michael Suwyn (157, Phoenix, Arizona/Mountain Ridge HS), Josh Temple (125, Ridgecrest, California/Green Valley HS), Blake Thompson (184, Clovis, California/Clovis HS) and Steve Westover (174, Pleasant Grove, Utah/Pleasant Grove HS) make up UVU's 14 true freshmen.
The Wolverines will begin the season Sunday in Clarion, Pennsylvania, at the Clarion Open. Fourteen UVU grapplers will make the trip to compete at the opening-season tournament and live results can be followed by visiting ClarionGoldenEagles.com. Following Sunday's competition, UVU will head to Grand Junction, Colorado, for the Colorado Mesa Open on Saturday, Nov. 8. Utah Valley will then begin dual action the following week in Boise, Idaho, as it will take on Iowa State and Boise State on Nov. 14 at Boise State University.
UVU will continue dual action in Arizona the following week, as it will face Arizona State on Nov. 20 and Grand Canyon Nov. 21. After competing at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational (Dec. 5-6) and the Reno Tournament of Champions (Dec. 21) in December, the Wolverines will open their home slate in January with the annual UVU Open on Jan. 10. Utah Valley will then host Wyoming and Air Force in Western Wrestling Conference action on Jan. 17 and 23, respectively, before welcoming a pair of Pac-12 schools to town in Oregon State (Jan. 30) and Stanford (Jan. 31) at the end of the month.
After spending the entire month of January at home, UVU will head to the Dakotas to face South Dakota State on Feb. 6 and North Dakota State on Feb. 7 before finishing its regular season at home against Northern Colorado on Feb. 14.
The Wolverines will then head back to Fargo, North Dakota, on March 7 for the NCAA West Regional/Western Wrestling Conference Championships. There, UVU will try to punch as many tickets as it can for the 2015 NCAA Wrestling Championships that will be held March 19-21 at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Missouri.