Delta, Utah is a small farming community that most people probably don’t know about. It has a population of around 3,200 people and the people are passionate about one thing: wrestling. Every young boy is expected to be thrown on the mat and help his team compete for a championship, something that UVU’s own Chasen Tolbert (133 pounds) helped his high school team achieve, and something he is hopeful to bring to Utah Valley.
Tolbert grew up on a farm in Delta and started wrestling at a young age. Farm boys tend to be great wrestlers and have much success even from an early age. Both wrestling and farm work is hard and toughens those that venture into both worlds. Tolbert, however, was not always excited about wrestling.
“In the beginning I didn’t like wrestling,” he reminisced. “My dad made me do it and I just got beat up all the time because I was smaller. I told my dad every weekend that I was going to quit but I didn’t and stuck with it.”
It was a good thing he kept at it. Tolbert began to take the sport more seriously when he got to the eighth grade, having quit all the other sports he was participating in to focus solely on wrestling.
That focus paid off as he developed a love for wrestling by becoming a two-time state champion and All-American wrestler in high school, as well as helping his team to a state championship in 2009.
After his great high school career, Tolbert took his talents to Colorado Mesa University – a Division II program – before heading off on an LDS mission to Lubbock, Texas. It was after his mission that he pursued the idea of Division I wrestling within the state he grew up in, which led him to get in touch with UVU.
When Tolbert arrived in Orem it seemed that Jade Rauser was to be the starter at 125 pounds, with his twin brother Val the starter at 133 pounds. With some unforeseen circumstances and injuries for the Wolverines, Tolbert was asked to wrestle up a weight class and showed promise due to what he believes he can do.
“One of the best things is he’s confident,” head coach Greg Williams explained. “He’s a confident young man in his abilities. He also wants to learn. He’s always calling his coaches over (in practice) to learn and be better.”
That confidence has waxed strong for Tolbert this season, as he has shown his ability as a legitimate 133-pounder, especially this year. Tolbert has only lost one match in conference duals and helped in a huge way to complete the Wolverines’ comeback against Boise State Feb. 1, when he pinned his opponent in an electrifying match that paved the way for the momentum to swing in UVU’s favor.
Tolbert is looking forward to becoming another great wrestler produced by UVU because of his work ethic and drive to be successful.
“He’s the perfect example of what Utah Valley has been,” Williams said. “He didn’t have those big-time offers but has worked hard and passed people up.”
His personal expectations lead him to continue to strive for more.
“One of my goals is to be an All-American,” Tolbert said. “I want to be a national champion and leave a legacy of hard work.”
Tolbert will get his crack at meeting that goal of becoming a national champion when the NCAA regional qualifiers are held in the UCCU Center on March 8.