The wrestling team has much to be happy about this year, what with breaking the school record by going 11-3 and 4-1 in conference, and now can look back on a great year and onto a bright future.
The Wolverines finished second in the Western Wrestling Conference and made exceptional improvements. Ben Kjar broke the school record with 68 wins in his career, and he’s only a sophomore.
It’s amazing that this team only had one junior, six sophomores and three freshmen. One might have though this would be a rebuilding year, but no. The Wolverines made their 2008-09 season a stepping stone.
“This year was a great year, a fun year,” said coach Williams. “We enjoyed it. We are now ready to take that next step to compete against some of the best teams in the country. We may not beat them next year in dual meets, but we will get closer and our guys will gain confidence for the end of the year tournaments and for the upcoming years.”
With a team that is most likely to come back in its entirety, coach Williams couldn’t be more pleased with the season.
“It seemed like once we started winning, we knew what we had to do,” said sophomore Flint Ray. “It was exciting to have the team built on each other, but also on each win. That turned my focus from individual to the team and it made us better wrestlers I think.”
Now with a great season over, it segues perfectly to next year since the team is in its final year of provisional status. Next year the Wolverines will enjoy what they haven’t in the past, to be NCAA certified, and eligible to wrestle in post-season tournament.
UVU only lost one duel in conference to Wyoming, a loss they almost came back to win (21-15). Now with confidence under their belts, the Wolverines have a record to show they are serious.
Williams says his team is gaining confidence. They are building a belief system that they know they can win.
“I think the first match wrestling against (No. 2) Iowa State and going to their tournament, wrestling well there, and by placing most of our guys, it gave the team that confidence they needed. I think that’s where the trust started. More than anything that’s when they realized everything we had done up to that point was paying off.”
For next year Williams would like to have a tougher schedule with more ranked teams, something that will challenge the team to perform at their best.
“In order to have All-Americans,” Williams said, “We need to get them as many matches against the very best competition we can.”