Three Wolverine wrestlers will head to NCAA Championships March 17-19

Senior Justin Morrill will represent Utah Valley wrestling for the first time in his final year as a Wolverine. Courtesy of UVU Athletics

Last year the wrestling team sent three Wolverines to nationals. This year three Wolverines will also make an appearance, two of which are repeating.

“It’s a really exciting time in the year,” said Coach Williams. “This is what they work the whole year for. They are the guys that work hard every day in every aspect of their lives, so that makes it that much more exciting.”

Seniors Ben Kjar (125) and Flint Ray (133) are the two Wolverines who will be repeating for their second consecutive year. Senior Justin Morrill (141) will be
making his nationals debut.

“I think last year was an experience for them (Kjar and Ray) to learn from and they’ve both stepped up their game this year,” said Williams. “It’s really valuable for them to have that experience last year.”

This trip to nationals won’t see junior Brad Darrington repeat from last year, as an ongoing injury this season slimmed his chances.

“It was great to see him back a little bit, but it was just a little too late,” said Williams. “He’s got another year and so we’re talking about that.”

March 6 saw the Wolverines travel to Colorado Springs to compete at the NCAA West Regional. Ray took the conference title for the second consecutive year while Morrill and Kjar placed second and third, respectively.

“Qualifying three guys is great,” said Williams. “It’s not an easy thing to get guys there, so we’re really pleased to get three guys there.”

Kjar had to battle a little harder to earn his spot at nationals this year as he was upset during his first round, but he used the consolation bracket to get back on top and won the true second place match to earn his ticket to nationals.

Morrill and Ray both won their first two matches, qualifying them quickly for their trip to nationals.

Sophomore Josh Wilson (149) made it to the semifinal where he was overcome 3-1 and pushed to the consolation semis where he also was defeated 5-2.

Senior Casen Eldredge (184) finished regionals with a 1-2 record while wrestlers Richard Winger (157), Jeb Clark (197, Trevor Rupp (197) and Christian Denny (HWT) all finished 0-2.

“It was kind of a rollercoaster ride with a couple of them, but we’re really pleased to send three,” said Williams.

Kjar, Morrill and Ray will represent Utah Valley March 17-19 in Philadelphia.