The Utah Valley wrestling team had two remaining competitors heading into Session III at the NCAA Wrestling Championships on the morning of Friday, March 18 at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Mich. However, both redshirt junior Taylor LaMont and freshman Haiden Drury had their championship weekends come to an end.
As the 21st seed in the tournament, LaMont went 1-1 during the session and ended 2-2 overall in the bracket. No. 17 Drury went 0-1 in the session and finished 1-2 in his first NCAA championships.
LaMont began his morning against the 22nd-seeded Ryan Miller of Penn on Friday. LaMont competed right off the gate, taking a 2-1 at the conclusion of the early period. LaMont continued to build on his momentum and extended his lead to 5-2 after the second period. However, Miller wasn’t finished yet and fought his way to even the score 5-5 late in period three. LaMont would finish the period by riding Miller for one minute to get the winning point, edging Miller 6-5.
The victory over Miller kept LaMont alive in the session to take on rival No. 19 Joey Prata of Oklahoma. The two had formerly competed in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 Championships. Both went scoreless after one, but then LaMont would take a commanding 2-1 lead at the end of the second period. LaMont held his ground for most of the third, leading 3-1 until Prata scored a few last-minute points to force overtime.
Both LaMont and Prata would finish scoreless after the sudden victory period, taking the match into tiebreakers. Prata finished the match strong as he scored in both 30-second overtime periods, winning the match 5-3.
LaMont finished the championships one win away from reaching Session IV. After going 2-2 in his fourth championship, LaMont finished the 2021-22 season with a 12-6 record.
Drury would face off against 15th-seeded Kai Orine of NC State. Drury and Orine went scoreless in the opening period. Orine would then score three points in the second period to go up 3-1 by the end of the second period. Despite trailing, Drury wasn’t finished yet, as he scored one point and appeared to have the winning takedown as time expired by putting Orine in a headlock and throw. Unfortunately, the video review overturned the would-be matchwinner, resulting in a wrung-out 3-2 victory by Orine.
Drury was the highest seed among the Wolverines in the championships. After going 1-2 in his first NCAA Championships, Drury finished his freshman season with an impressive record of 20-8.
Evan Bockman was the third Wolverine who competed at the championships but was unable to make it to Session III after going 0-2 in the first two sessions. This was his first time reaching nationals.
The Wolverines finished Session III tied for 52nd as a team, with 2.0 points overall.
The 2022 NCAA Wrestling Championships continue Friday, March 18, at 6 p.m. MT for Session IV, the semifinals and can be streamed on ESPN. The championships will come to a conclusion Saturday, March 19 after Session V at 9 a.m. MT on ESPNU and Session VI/Finals at 5 p.m. MT on ESPN.
UTAH VALLEY RESULTS
125 – #21 Taylor LaMont (2-2)
#21 Taylor LaMont (UVU) DEC #12 Malik Heinselman (Ohio St), 7-2
#5 Killian Cardinale (WVU) DEC #21 Taylor LaMont (UVU), 10-8 (SV-1)
#21 Taylor LaMont (UVU) DEC #22 Ryan Miller (Penn), 6-5
#19 Joey Prata (OU) DEC #21 Taylor LaMont (UVU), 5-3 (TB-1)
133 – #17 Haiden Drury (1-2)
#16 Josh Koderhandt (Navy) DEC #17 Haiden Drury (UVU), 5-4
#17 Haiden Drury (UVU) DEC #32 Dominic LaJoie (Cornell), 10-5
#15 Kai Orine (NC State) DEC #17 Haiden Drury (UVU), 3-2
197 – #24 Evan Bockman (0-2)
#9 Cameron Caffey (Michigan St) DEC #24 Evan Bockman (UVU), 6-4
#25 Jaron Smith (Maryland) MD #24 Evan Bockman (UVU), 16-4
Sophomore at UVU. Writer for the UVU review, statistician for UVU ESPN+, and play-by-play commentator for UVU Men’s Lacrosse.