Kyle McDonald, Sports Writer, @kylesportsbias
It was the first time in two and a half months that the UVU wrestling team got to take to their home mats. It was a night that they would soon like to forget. It was not the night that UVU had in mind when the 18th ranked Wyoming Cowboys came to town. The Cowboys showed why they have been given that ranking as they won 9 out of 10 matches en route to a 29-3 dual meet victory over the Wolverines.
“I was disappointed. I think that Wyoming’s a good team,” Head Coach Gregg Williams said in a post-match interview. “Mentally we didn’t wrestle tough, we came out flat,” Williams continued to say in reference to his team’s performance on this night. The energy was lacking from the get go for the Wolverines.
It started off when Cole Mendenhall of Wyoming scored a decision over Matthew Ontiveros of UVU, 9-4. The Cowboys then poured it on from there. Jake Elliot defeated Trevor Willson in a close decision 7-5. Archie Colgan followed that up with a decision over Logan Addis at 157 pounds, 7-4. Dakota Friesth then scored a major decision over Dalton Harmon at 165 pounds, 16-6. And so the onslaught went. Andy McCulley defeated senior Ethan Smith 5-2 at 174 pounds. Ben Stroh defeated Ross Taylor at 184 pounds, 8-4. It seemed like Wyoming was able to do whatever they wanted in these matches and had control from the outset. UVU seemed to be wrestling more not to lose than wresting to win. There was a great lack in aggression in front of the crowd of 1,721.
However, in the last four matches of the evening, the energy picked up and the crowd got more involved. Wrestling at 197 pounds, Derek Thomas of UVU took on Shane Woods of Wyoming who is ranked #19 in the country for this weight class. Thomas was able to escape an early take down by Woods and then escaped in the third period to make it 3-2 but Woods was able to hold him off for the 3-2 win. In the 285 pound weight class, senior Adam Fager of UVU was wrestling for the first time since November when a concussion knocked him out of competition. He took on Tanner Harms and after tying the match up with 37 seconds left at 3-3 with a nice take down, Harms was able to escape on the restart and gained the victory 4-3.
The last two matches were the little guys. At 125 pounds Chasen Tolbert of UVU took on 13th ranked Tyler Cox. After scoring on a quick take down, Tolbert wouldn’t be able to do much more the rest of the match as Cox was masterful scoring takedown after takedown en route to the 14-4 major decision.
UVU’s last hope laid in the hands of Jade Rauser, a junior out of Townsend, MT and a two-time qualifier for nationals. He was wrestling against Drew Templeman in the 133 pound match. Templeman was able to score first with a takedown but Rauser was able to escape and then he escaped at the beginning of the second period to tie the score up at 2-2. Towards the end of the second period is when the intensity and energy were racked up a notch. Rauser was able to get a take down to take a 4-2 lead but Templeman responded with an escape just as time expired to make it a 1-point match. Templeman then escaped with 1:20 to go to tie the match up and it was a battle of toughness from that point on. Neither wrestler was willing to give an inch but with 9 seconds left Rauser made the move and scored the take down and was able to hold on for the 6-4 victory.
It was an exciting finish to a rather bad night for the Wolverines. “It’s the most disappointed I’ve been since I’ve been here at Utah Valley,” said Williams. “It’s about knowing you can win…..but we work on technique in our room that they’re not putting out there.” That about sums up the night for the Wolverines and they will look to get back to drawing board and prepare for Air Force who comes to town next Saturday.
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