UVU wrestlers had a long day of competition ahead of them Jan. 15 when they competed at the Lone Star Duals in Arlington, Texas, picking up two team wins, but falling to No. 16 Nebraska.
Other than Nebraska, the Wolverine Grapplers hit the mat against The Citadel and Appalachian State and are now 3-1, 1-0 on the season going into last weekend’s dual against No. 24 Wyoming.
The Wolverines met No. 16 Nebraska for the first duel of the day, but fell 22-12 to the Cornhuskers. Despite the team loss, Utah Valley did see four individual victories in the dual with senior, No. 12, Benjamin Kjar (6-1), senior, No. 10, Flint Ray (2-0), senior Justin Morrill (6-3), and sophomore Josh Wilson (4-0).
“Going into the Nebraska match we felt like if we wrestled really well and all of our guys did what they were capable of, that we could win at least five matches and we won the first four,” said Coach Greg Williams. “We really feel that we could have won the match, so we want those opportunities wrestling ranked teams, but we also want to have a chance to be able to beat them. I was really pleased with the guys’ effort; deep down it’s a little disappointing because we feel like we’re good enough, if we’re 100 percent, that we can beat them.”
The first team win of the day came against The Citadel, 18-15. Kjar led the Wolverines as he picked up a 10-4 decision over The Citadel’s Richard Alarcon. Kjar was followed by lightweight teammates Ray (10-6), Morrill (7-1), and Wilson (fall), all of which also went on to earn a perfect 3-0 on the day. Utah Valley’s other individual victory came from Jeb Clark’s decision, 5-3, over No. 10 Turtogtokh Luvsandorj.
Utah Valley then battled against Appalachian State taking the dual 19-16. The Wolverines were again led by Kjar, winning 18-3. Kjar was followed by three more individual victories in Ray (9-6), Morrill (5-2) and Wilson (12-4). UVU’s Brad Darrington also earned a victory for the Wolverines in a major decision, 9-1, over Appalachian State’s Carter Downs.
“I feel like the guys wrestled well,” said Williams. “We’ve had a rough year as far as injuries and guys trying to be healthy. So in a way there is some disappointment because we’re not as strong as we could be and we’ve worked real hard to get to this point. Going into those matches we didn’t really now what to expect, we could have gone 0-3.”
Fans have one final chance to see the Wolverines at home this season as they take on conference opponent Air Force Feb. 11 at 4 p.m.