The Utah Valley wrestling team had three wrestlers competing in the 2022 NCAA Wrestling Championships heading into Session I on Thursday, March 17. After Session II on Thursday evening, two Wolverines will compete at Session III on the morning of Friday, March 18. Both Taylor Lamont and Haiden Drury will advance to the next round.
No. 21 seed LaMont started his fourth NCAA Championship strong as he defeated the 12th-seeded Malik Heinselman of Ohio State in a 7-2 win. LaMont took a 2-0 lead in the opening period, a 4-1 lead after the sixth period then cruised his way to the victory during the final period.
Defeating Heinselman allowed LaMont to head into round two of the tournament during Session II where he encountered fifth-seeded Big 12 champion Killian Cardinale of West Virginia. LaMont cruised his way to a 6-0 edge over Cardinale during the opening period. However, during the second period, Cardinale would fight his way back into the match, cutting the deficit to 6-4. The two would then even the score 8-8 after the third round, heading into overtime. Unfortunately, Cardinale outfought LaMont and delivered the winning takedown in a 10-8 victory.
LaMont went 1-1 overall in the first two rounds of the tournament and will now compete in the consolation rounds against No. 22 Ryan Miller of Penn on Friday. LaMont, however, is still in the running for All-American honors, and still has the opportunity to finish as high as third among his weight class.
17th-seeded freshman Haiden Drury competed against the 16th seed in EIWA runner-up Josh Koderhandt of Navy in his first-ever NCAA Championship match. Koderhandt finished the early period with a 2-1 edge over Drury. Drury was able to take a 3-2 lead at the beginning of the third period. However, Koderhandt would squeak a 5-4 win over Drury after a review found Drury lost a potential match-winning reversal.
Drury competed against No. 32 Dominic LaJoie of Cornell in the wrestle backs during the Thursday night Session II of the championships. LaJoie jumped to an early 2-0 lead at the beginning of period one. However, Drury would go on a 5-1 run to take a 5-3 lead to end the first period. Drury would hold onto his lead for the rest of the match to win big 10-5.
Drury too went 1-1 on day one of the championships after the victory over LaJoie. He will now face 15-seeded Kai Orine of NC State on Friday morning.
Redshirt sophomore Evan Bockman also competed in his first NCAA Championships as the 24tth seed against No. 9 ninth-seeded Cameron Caffey of Michigan State. Bockman competed right off the bat with Caffey, finishing the opening period with a 2-0 advantage. Holding his ground, Bockman would again have another strong period as he finished it with a 3-1 lead. However, Caffey battled back into the match during the final period to eventually tie the score 4-4 and then eeked a 6-4 victory over Bockman as time expired.
Bockman would join Drury in the wrestle backs and compete against 25th seed Jaron Smith of Maryland during Session II of the championships. Bockman once again jumped out to an early lead in the opening period, going up 2-0. However, Smith found his groove and combatted his way to a 7-2 lead by the end of period one. Bockman would only be able to record two more points as Smith withstood his way to an 8-4 decision.
After competing hard, Bockman would, unfortunately, go 0-2 on the day and is now finished for the rest of the championships.
The 2022 NCAA Wrestling Championships continue Friday, March 18, at 9 a.m. MT for Session III. The tournament can be streamed on ESPNU. Session IV will begin Friday night at 6 p.m. MT and can be streamed on ESPN.
Sophomore at UVU. Writer for the UVU review, statistician for UVU ESPN+, and play-by-play commentator for UVU Men’s Lacrosse.