Kjar takes title at Cowboy Open

Senior Ben Kjar is the No. 11 ranked 125-pounder in the country. Courtesy of UVU Athletics

Another week of intrasquad practice translated to another weekend of success against opponents for UVU wrestling.

All five competing Wolverines placed at the Cowboy Open in Laramie, Wyo., led by Ben Kjar’s first-place finish.
Kjar shed the off-season rust against his first two opponents, who fell by a 11-4 decision and 14-5 majority, respectively.

“Just going out there after the long break, just competing after the long break, it felt really good to get the first couple matches out of the way,” Kjar said. “By the time I got to the final, I was ready to go.”

His 3-1 decision victory over Northern Colorado’s Sam Bauer proved as much, as Kjar used foot speed and strength to power his way to the title.

“I’ve always been the best on my feet,” Kjar said. “When I get on my feet, I’m as confident as anybody in the country.”

The senior 125-pounder credited the success of his first tournament to a week of stiff competition from his teammates. Freshman Colby Christensen and sophomore Paul Johnson, talented grapplers in their own right, have only helped Kjar prepare to dominate opponents.

“We’ve got fabulous kids coming through the pipeline,” Kjar said. “You know it’s good when your best competition is in the room. Last week I didn’t go to the [Trapper Open], but [Paul Johnson and Colby Christensen] won first and second.”

Coach Greg Williams sees the intrasquad competition as the program’s goal slowly coming to fruition.

“I think it was our goal when we first got here to, first of all, get good kids who can come out and compete,” Williams said. “Secondly, you have to get two good kids per weight, and eventually we want to have three really good kids per weight.”

“We’re not all the way there yet, but we’re probably there with [the 125-pound weight],” he added.

Wyatt Ray finished second in the 141-pound class, winning four matches via one pin and three decisions, before falling to Air Force’s Cole VonOhlen in the final.

“Wyatt had a good tournament,” Williams said. “I think he’s really starting to realize how good he can be. That’s a big part of being that good, is knowing you can compete at that level.”

Redshirt freshman Abner Cook finished third in the 157-pound division, while Eric McAllister and Avery Garner (amateur bracket) placed fourth in their respective classes.

The Wolverines will now head to compete in the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational Dec. 3-4.

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