COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Utah Valley picked up two victories by fall in its Western Wrestling Conference opener at Air Force Thursday evening but it wasn’t enough as the Falcons held on the defeat the Wolverines at Clune Arena, 26-15.


In all the Falcons (4-3, 1-1 WWC) won seven of the 10 bouts, but two of the three that UVU (3-5, 0-1 WWC) won were for bonus points.


“We had a few guys step up tonight and wrestle well for us,” UVU associate head coach KC Rock said. “We need to get better and keep pushing through this part of the season and on into conference.”


The night started at 133-pounds and UVU newcomer Blake Mangum bumped up a weight class to take on AFA’s Tyler Untrauer in his first dual-bout as a Wolverine. Mangum hung in with Untrauer for the majority of the contest but in the end dropped the bout by decision 7-2.


In the next match, UVU’s Avery Garner (141 pounds) found himself trailing Air Force’s Carter McElhany in the final period. Garner picked up a late takedown to pull within a point but McElhany held on to defeat Garner 5-4.


Air Force then continued its hot start as third-ranked Cole VonOhlen and Josh Kreimier won the next two bouts over UVU’s Sam Mecham (149) and Napoleon Aniciete (157).


Utah Valley’s Ethan Smith (165) put a stop to the scoring drought by defeating the Falcons’ Colby Kluesner by fall (4:23). Smith was controlling the bout up 2-0 in the second period when he got Kluesner on his back and picked up the pin. Smith’s win pulled the Wolverines within 14-6 on the scoreboard.


UVU 174-pounder Monte Schmalhaus then found himself involved in a tight contest with AFA’s Clayton Gable. Schmalhaus started strong as he controlled the first period with a takedown. Gable then picked up a reversal to tie the score at 2-all in the second period but Schmalhaus countered with an escape to pull back ahead. Gable then answered back with a takedown of his own to lead 4-3. The AFA grappler then held on for a 5-3 victory over Schmalhaus with riding time.


The Falcons then picked up another win at 184-pounds as AFA’s Greg Isley picked up a 3-0 victory over UVU’s David Prieto. Utah Valley 197-pounder Brian Chamberlain then held a sizeable 7-2 lead over Air Force’s Josh Mohr after three takedowns and an escape point. Late in the second period, Mohr then managed to takedown Chamberlain and followed it up by pinning him to put the dual out of reach with AFA ahead 26-6 with just two bouts left.


In the final two matches of the evening, UVU heavyweight Dustin Dennison picked up a victory via fall over AFA’s Jared Erickson in the middle of the second frame and Wolverine 125-pounder Colby Christensen followed it up with a 10-3 victory over Greg Rinker but the wins came too late as the Falcons held on for the 26-15 win.


The Wolverines will continue their road trip this weekend by heading up to Laramie, Wyo., to face No. 12 Wyoming, another WWC opponent, Saturday at 7 p.m.




Air Force 26, Utah Valley 15

133 – Tyler Untrauer (AFA) Dec., Blake Mangum (UVU), 7-2

141 – Carter McElhany (AFA) Dec., Avery Garner (UVU), 5-4

149 – No. 3 Cole VonOhlen (AFA) Tech. Fall Sam Mecham (UVU), 15-0; 3:12

157 – Josh Kreimier (AFA) Dec., Napoleon Aniciete (UVU), 5-2

165 – Ethan Smith (UVU) Fall Colby Kluesner (AFA), 4:23

174 – Clayton Gable (AFA) Dec., Monte Schmalhaus (UVU), 5-3

184 – Greg Isley (AFA) Dec., David Prieto (UVU), 3-0

197 – Josh Mohr (AFA) Fall Brian Chamberlain (UVU), 4:33

285 – Dustin Dennison (UVU) Fall Jared Erickson (AFA), 4:01

125 – Colby Christensen (UVU) Dec., Greg Rinker (AFA), 10-3