Photo by Mike Smith/ Courtesy of Matshots
Taylor LaMont was one win shy of an All-American finish at the NCAA Wrestling Championships in Cleveland, Ohio, March 15-17. Demetrius Romero and Kimball Bastian followed LaMont, making it to the second day of competition.
LaMont started off the tournament as the highest ranked wrestler that UVU has ever had, going into the tournament with a No. 7 seed. He went 2-0 on the first day of competition with defeats over Brock Hudkins of Northern Illinois and No. 10 seed Sebastian Rivera of Northwestern, which advanced LaMont to the quarterfinals.
He then faced the four time Big Ten champion and No. 2 lightweight Nathan Tomasello of Ohio State. LaMont kept it close in the first period with Tomesello by maintaining a one-point lead. Tomesello eventually was too much to handle, pulling in the second and third periods earning a 12-4 victory. LaMont would then go to the consolation bracket to fight for a podium finish.
He then matched up against conference foe No. 13 seed Zeke Moisey of West Virginia. This would be the fourth overall time LaMont and Moisey faced one another this season. Moisey had a late escape and a takedown to defeat LaMont 8-5 ending his run at nationals. LaMont finished the year with a 27-5 record.
Romero and Bastian were also able to pick up victories for the Wolverines on the second day of action after both losing the first round. Romero was able to bounce back from a first round loss with an impressive 12-4 victory over Campbell’s Quinten Perez. Romero then fell short against No. 12 seed Nick Wanzek of Minnesota.
Bastian also lost in the first round with a close 3-1 defeat by No. 11 seed David Kocer of South Dakota State. He then came back to secure a victory over Brandon Womack of Cornell 8-5. Following that match, Bastian fell in a close one to the No. 12 seed Forrest Przybysz of Appalachian State with a score of 4-2 in overtime.
Tanner Orndorff and Dustin Dennison were unable to pick up a victory in the first day of action, ending both of their seasons on the first day. Dennison went up against Big 12 opponent No. 9 Derek White of Oklahoma State in the first round, which would be a rematch of the semifinals of the Big 12 tournament.
It was close in the early stages of the match, but White was able to score a takedown and an escape to win 6-1. Dennison was able to finish the year with a 30-9 record, putting him second on the all time wins list at UVU. He also had a second straight appearance in the NCAA tournament.
Orndorff went up against No. 1 seed Kollin Moore of Ohio State. He had an early set back in the match with Moore scoring a few takedowns, but he kept fighting back and kept the match within two points. Orndorff then tried to take him down, but Moore reversed the takedown into one of his own, ending the match 12-8. Orndorff made nationals for the second straight year, finishing with a 21-13 record on the season.
The wrestling team had an impressive season and lot of accomplishments to remember. Both LaMont and Dennison ended the season with over 20 victories. The Wolverines were ranked in the top 25 for the first time in program history. The coaching staff, along with the team, will be looking to improve next season and have another historic year.