Two tough ones

The men’s wrestling team has had three weeks off competition, but those weeks have been anything but a vacation as the team prepared for the biggest two tournaments of the year: the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Collegiate Wrestling Invitational and the Ken Kraft Midlands Championships in Illinois.

These two tournaments are what the team has talked about to get the national respect it is looking for. There will be some of the best wrestlers in the nation at both of these tournaments and that is something coach Greg Williams notices.

“It will be an eye-opener for other people,” said Monte Schmalhaus (174 lbs.) “For them to see that we can hang with the top guys and once we start beating those guys, it’s not going to stop, we’ll progress.”

It is easy to see that Williams has confidence in his team. He not only shows that confidence in his team, but the team is catching the contagion in return.

“I like the way they have been wrestling,” Williams said. “I think that their attitude is really good and they’ve been progressing. It’s the most excited I’ve ever been.”

It may seem like it is a huge task in front of them, especially of meeting the goal of getting nationally ranked. Disregarding a pessimist outlook, Williams feels that his team is fully prepared for the tasks at hand.

“This team will be able to go to these tournaments and not be intimidated, unlike years past,” Williams said.

This attitude is reflected in the wrestlers who don’t necessarily see this as an overwhelmingly big tournament. They recognize that it is a big tournament and they want to do well, but more importantly, they see this as an opportunity to showcase themselves.

“If you do well, it gives you that chance to get ranked and get our team ranked,” said Josh Wilson (149 lbs.). “It’s a great tournament to make a name for yourself.”

After these two monster tournaments, UVU fans can come cheer on the Wolverines. The team will have a good home stretch competing against Wyoming and Arizona State early in January.

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