Photo courtesy of Mike Smith/MatShots
The 2016-17 UVU wrestling season came to an end Friday morning when junior heavyweight Dustin Dennison was eliminated from the NCAA tournament, falling 9-4 to No. 9 Denzel Dejournette of Appalachian State.
“Dustin competed well here this weekend. He should be able to learn from this experience and use it to help him prepare to get on the podium next year,” UVU head coach Greg Williams said in a statement to WolverineGreen.com.
Dennison was granted an automatic bid to the tournament after placing second in the Big 12 Championships earlier this month. The junior is one of two Wolverines who were invited to this year’s national wrestling tournament; redshirt freshman Tanner Orndorff (197 pounds) was granted an at-large bid after finishing the regular season ranked No. 22 in his weight class.
“I thought both guys wrestled well. They didn’t wrestle intimidated at all, they looked fresh and solid throughout their matches,” said Williams.
After losing his initial match 15-8 to Cal State Bakersfield’s Matt Williams, a wrestler he had defeated earlier this season, Orndorff responded with an 11-6 victory over Rutgers’ Matt Correnti in his second match. The freshman was subsequently defeated by No. 15 Ricky Robertson of Wisconsin by fall Thursday evening, bringing an end to his first trip to nationals.
“I came in here expecting to win but it didn’t go as I’d hoped. I made some mistakes but it’s all part of the process,” Orndorff said in a statement to WolverineGreen.com. “I’m just trying to learn from each of the losses and build for next year,”
Dennison also dropped his first match, a hard fought 4-2 loss to No. 7 Tanner Hall of Arizona State. He went on to beat Ohio’s Zack Parker by a score of 3-1, and followed it up with a 9-3 win over Joseph Goodhart of Drexel. With the pair of victories Dennison advanced to the third session of the tournament Friday morning, where he was eliminated.
Dennison finished the season with a team-best 24-10 individual record while Orndorff finished with a 21-16 record on the year. As a team, the Wolverines ended the season with a 5-6 mark in dual meets, including a 2-3 record in Big 12 Conference duals.