Starting off strong
On paper, the loss looks pretty bad, but in reality the team kept the match close and lost two close matches in overtime giving Bloomsburg the edge. Despite losing the match, head coach Greg Williams was proud of his team’s performance.
“I thought we wrestled well,” Williams said. “I felt like our guys wrestled good and we’re improving. I wasn’t disappointed at all.”
Rightful thinking from the coach. Bloomsburg is an experienced team and very tough. To have a good, close match against it speaks volumes of what this team can accomplish this year. Time will tell when the team inches closer to its breakout performances.
After the duals, the team traveled to Raleigh for North Carolina State University’s Wolfpack Open. This tournament was also proof of what Utah Valley can accomplish and how far it has come.
The team fared well and eight wrestlers placed in their respected weight classes. Of those eight, Josh Wilson (149 lbs) took first in his respected weight class. Jade Rauser (125) , Val Rauser (133), Avery Garner (141), Chase Cuthbertson (157), Monte Schmalhaus (174) and Adam Fager (Heavyweight) also placed in their weight classes. These standout performances are helping to establish UVU as a force in the wrestling world.
“We had officials and others coming up to us and saying, ‘Man you guys are really tough,’” Williams said.
The tournaments were a good indication that the wrestling program is moving forward, and that is something that Williams really understands and appreciates.
“Overall, what we wanted was improvement and that is what we really saw,” Williams said. “The whole weekend helped us progress as a whole, and the tournament [Wolfpack Open] helped us with confidence. It helped us have good matches against some good Division I kids.”
The team will keep that confidence as it goes on three weeks of preparation for one of its biggest tournaments of the year, the 31st annual Cliff Keen Las Vegas Collegiate Wrestling Invitational, where it will need to keep up its forceful momentum in order to keep progressing this season.
The team’s goal of getting more wrestlers qualified for nationals remains.