Utah Valley’s Ben Kjar has been named the Western Wrestling Conference’s Wrestler of the Week, as announced by league officials.
Kjar, a 125-pound freshman from Centerville, Utah (Viewmont HS), was a perfect 5-0 last week and improved to 3-0 in WWC conference duals with a 10-4 decision of Air Force’s Zach Valdez.
Kjar was 4-0 at the Tracy Borah Duals on Saturday, with two wins by fall, one by major decision, and one, over Western State’s Eddie Lopez, in a 4-3 decision. Kjar’s win against Air Force gave him 31 wins on the season, setting a Utah Valley single-season record.
The Western Wrestling Conference is comprised of seven schools: the Air Force Academy, North Dakota State, Northern Colorado, Northern Iowa, South Dakota State, Utah Valley and Wyoming.
The Wolverines (7-8, 1-2 in WWC) will close out conference action next weekend at Northern Colorado and at Wyoming.
Utah Valley had its best indoor meet in the young season against a packed field at the Blue and Orange Classic hosted by Boise State.
Both the men and women had several top-five and top-10 finishers.
Sprinter Mariama Salifu finished third in the 60-meter dash, posting a time of 7.67 in the race. Freshman Natasha Martin posted a 7.84 in the same race, finishing in a tie for fourth.
Chelsea Baker posted a top-10 finish when she ran the 400 meters in 0:58.99, good for eighth place. The women’s 4×400 meter race also finished fourth overall with a time of 4:01.87.
The women’s distance team had a good showing for the third consecutive week. Karinne Bentley finished fourth in the mile run with a time of 5:06.44. Trisha Wright finished sixth in the 3000 meters, running it in 10:49.59.
In the women’s field events, Nadine Russell posted a personal best mark in the weight throw. Russell had a hurl of 42 feet and nine inches.
On the men’s side, sprinter Matt Echols finished fifth in the 400 meters with a time of 0:50.06.
A pair of UV distance runners posted personal records and top-five finishes in the 3000 meters. Chase Englestead finished second overall with a time of 8:42.07, while Danny Moody finished third, checking in with a time of 8:47.76
Jumper Kiefer Collins finished fifth in the men’s high jump, with a leap of 1.91 meters.
The Utah Blaze will begin training camp for their third season Feb. 7.
Players and coaches will train for three weeks prior to the season opener March 1 against the Arizona Rattlers. Practices will be held at the Spence Eccles Field House and SportsPlex in Kaysville, UT.
Of the 36 players currently on the training camp roster, 16 are returning from last year. Devin Wyman (6-8, 350, Kentucky State) joins the Blaze with five years of AFL experience. The 2007 All-Arena offensive lineman has played with the Dallas Desperados and the San Jose SaberCats.
With five years of AFL experience, E.J. Burt (6-2, 265, West Liberty State), who is climbing the AFL’s all-time sack leader chart, joins the Blaze. Burt has spent time with the Chicago Rush, Philadelphia Soul and Orlando Predators. He was named to the AFL’s All-Rookie team in 2003 and earned Second Team All-Arena honors in 2005. Burt averages over 6.5 sacks per season and is currently ranked 12th on the AFL’s all-time list for sacks in a career.
Other new veterans on the roster include Dwayne Missouri (6-5, 280, Northwestern) from Dallas and Rodney Filer (6-3, 260, Iowa) from Tampa Bay. Both players bring a combined 14 years of AFL experience and will be valuable additions to the team.