Three Wolverine seniors and one junior tallied wins for Utah Valley

Senior Ben Kjar looks to the official for call during the match against No. 25 Wyoming.
Shane Maryott/UVU Review

Four individual match wins weren’t enough for the Utah Valley wrestlers to upset No. 25 Wyoming during the Wolverines’ second-to-last home match on Jan. 22, falling 23-15.

Despite the loss, three Utah Valley seniors and one junior picked up individual wins.

“Our older guys, they’ve been doing this and they know what to do out there. Some of our younger guys are still figuring some stuff out,” said Coach Williams. “They [Wyoming] are a mature team and well coached – good kids, hard workers just like we are – but you can tell the difference of experience by the older guys are winning their matches versus the younger guys that aren’t quite there yet, but we will. They work hard, they’ll get there.”

Wyoming hit the board first, taking both the 157 and 165-pounder matches, putting them up 6-0 over Utah Valley.

The crowd went wild when Utah Valley’s 174-pounder Brad Darrington was the first to score an individual win for the Wolverines over Wyoming’s Patrick Martinez off of a takedown with only seconds left. Darrington took the match by decision, 5-4, putting three points on the board for UVU.

The Wolverine grapplers didn’t see another individual match win until senior No. 14 Ben Kjar took the mat against Wyoming’s No. 18 Michael Martinez at 125 lbs, winning by decision, 5-4. Kjar’s win added three more team points, but the Wolverines were still trailing Wyoming 6-20.

Kjar was followed by teammate No. 13 Flint Ray at 133 lbs. against Wyoming’s No. 18 Tyler Cox, taking the match by fall, 3:53. Ray’s win put six team points on the board, putting the Wolverines down only eight points.

Utah Valley’s only other individual win came from 141-pounder Justin Morrill winning by decision, 5-4, over Wyoming junior Chase Smith.

“I was proud of the guys; I thought they wrestled hard,” said Williams. “We’ve had to back off the last month on our intensity. We’re not usually a team that’s out of shape in the last period, but we’re a little tired, but we’ve had to back off because of injuries and we’re fine. We’ll take what happened there and we’re going to be able to push the pace by conference time.”

The Wolverines head to face No. 9 Boise State this Friday after a 12-day break. Utah Valley will then host their final match at home Feb. 11 welcoming Air Force at 4:00 p.m.