Wolverine wrestling had six grapplers place in the seventh annual UVU Open Jan. 11, an opportunity for members of the team to gain experience.
The UVU Open is a little different than most tournaments the Wolverines have participated in this season. It is designed to help wrestlers who are redshirting, or wrestlers who don’t start or compete all that often, by giving them an opportunity to challenge collegiate opponents.
That experience could become very vital for the Wolverines, who have been bitten by the injury bug, and it’s tournaments like the open that help the team gain confidence and get use to the speed of the matches.
“It was a good tournament for us,” UVU head coach Greg Williams said. “It’s a great opportunity for our younger guys to get out and take on a good mix of competition. I felt like our guys wrestled well and that they had the opportunity to get better in certain situations.”
Leading the way for the Wolverines was 133-pound wrestler Jed Mellen, who won his bracket. Mellen, a freshman, wrestled unattached, meaning he was basically his own team and did not wear a UVU singlet.
Mellen went 4-0 to earn his championship. He had impressive wins over Boise State’s Josh Newburg (5-2), Western Wyoming’s Brenn Schiess (10-7), Grand Canyon’s Austin Uecker (by fall, 2:36) and GCU’s Lino Estrada (9-3) in the finals.
The great performance from Mellen earned him the tournament’s Most Outstanding Wrestler of the Open Award.
Of the five other wrestlers who placed in the tournament, all competed unattached. Freshman Dalton Brady (141) and sophomore Logan Addis (157) both took second in their respective weight classes.
Junior Ross Taylor (165) and Jordan Karst (285) took third, while freshman ArytonAlmberg (197) placed fourth.
“I was pleased that we had three guys wrestle in the finals,” Williams said. “Logan had a solid tournament and Dalton will learn a lot from his match against Zehner today (a former NCAA qualifier) and continue to get stronger. Jed had a really tough first match but pretty much dominated from there. All of these guys are open to learning and I know that they’ll all be back at work on Monday in the room.”
The UVU open proved to be a successful event for the young members of the team, who are looking to help win a championship in the future. To put things in perspective, heavyweight Adam Fager finished first last year and has been improving every match. If these wrestlers can follow that model, there is no reason they won’t carry on with success.