He has played a key role in pulling the wrestling team together to create a family of hard work and unity.
"One word describes this team: unity . . . We always refer to it as the new era," aenior Sam Allen said.
Allen is paired with captains Mark Fenwick and Ben Kjar, who all have the same goal in mind to help the team in every way physically, mentally, and emotionally. The team has had a huge turn around from last season, not only on the mat – but also off.
Allen grew up in Kaysville, Utah, where he began wrestling when he was in third grade. Following his older brother, he has continued his wrestling career ever since. He came to Utah Valley well experienced, to lead the Wolverines with nearly four years of college competition and as a two-time 5A All-State wrestler in high school.
Out of high school, Allen was recruited to Western Wyoming for a year before serving an LDS mission to Halifax, Canada. He returned to the college to finish another year before being picked up by the University of Wyoming.
"It was a really good growing opportunity," Allen said, "I think it prepared me to learn and grow and become a better wrestler."
The growth was apparent when Allen was ranked third in the nation at the University of Wyoming, but he is glad to be back in Utah to build up Utah Valley University.
"I have played for two other teams, but our team literally is like a family," Allen said. Most of them live together, go to lunch, hang out, and go to the same parties.
"I think that unity outside makes for great unity inside, and we really push each other when we understand who someone is inside and outside of the wrestling room," he said.
Despite the improvements, Utah Valley still has a ways to go. Goals have been set to improve nutrition and training, to develop more intense practices, and secure better recruitment.
"UVSC is going to be a really good wrestling program, and there is no doubt in my mind that every year it’s going to get better," Allen said.
Allen has worked hand in hand with coach Greg Williams, who started with him in his club elite program. Assistant head coach K.C. Rock also had some experience with Allen up in Wyoming before coming to Utah Valley.
Allen has proven to be an effective leader this year, and although this is his fourth year, hopes to push for a fifth, where he might have a chance to reach his goal to compete nationally. But for now, his focus is on his team and his major.