Mid-Season report on the Top 10 storylines

Feature photo courtesy of Brooke Morrill

With the coming of a new semester means we take a look at the Top 10 storylines in UVU athletics at the midway point of the year.

1. Men’s Cross Country 3-Peat.  Senior Jason Lynch crossed the finish line in a time of 23:58.86 to win the individual WAC title and four other Wolverines finished in the top 10 to help UVU win their third straight WAC title.

Tyson Lambert and Logan Petty helped the UVU men's cross country team to a 3-peat. Photo courtesy of Preston Yardley
Tyson Lambert and Logan Petty helped the UVU men’s cross country team to a 3-peat. Photo courtesy of Preston Yardley

2. Men’s Soccer in year two.  They fell about 90 seconds short of winning the WAC tournament title, but the Wolverines earned an at-large berth to the NCAA tournament in just their second year of NCAA Division I competition. Led by NCSAA All-West Region team members Alex Neff, Aaron Meyer, and Skyler Milne, the Wolverines posted a 14-6-2 record overall and a 6-3-1 record in the WAC.  Neff was also named WAC Defensive Player of the Week three times. UVU men’s soccer accomplished a lot in year two but they might be considered favorites to win the WAC heading into year three as they only lose one senior from the historic 2015 squad.

3. The 12th Man.  The UVU soccer teams enjoyed a great fan base especially on the men’s side.  The 12th man averaged around 1,591 fans at men’s home soccer matches, which was good for 16th nationally. The women’s team averaged just over 1,000 fans, which was good for 24th nationally. In fact, both the men and women averaged more fans than Clyde Field could actually hold and were the top percentage in the nation. But now that soccer is over, the fans, especially the students, need to put their support into the men’s and women’s basketball teams.

4. Mark Pope and UVU Men’s Basketball.  The first season under Pope has gotten off to a rough start. The Wolverines are 5-8 overall and have been dealing with a lot of injuries. They have a good in-state win against Weber State in overtime but when they lose they lose bad.  They lose by an average of 20 points. However, they have scored 100 points twice, which is something the Wolverines didn’t do one time last season.

UVU is 6-9 in their first season under Mark Pope. Photo courtesy of Byron Harward
UVU is 6-9 in their first season under Mark Pope. Photo courtesy of Byron Harward

5. UVU Women’s Basketball Player Mariah Seals. Seals has picked up right where she left off as a freshman. She is averaging just over 13 points per game and has helped the Wolverines to a 7-6 overall record to start the season. She had a career-high 33 points in a 94-88 overtime victory over San Francisco. She also had a huge block on the final play against Boise State to preserve the victory for the Wolverines. Can she continue to play well and help the Wolverines make noise in the WAC?

6. UVU Wrestling and the Big 12.  The Wolverines have been impressive so far in their first year competing as members of the Big 12. Chasen Tolber, Derek Thomas, and Jade Rauser have led the way for UVU. Tolbert finished sixth at the Reno Tournament of Champions and both Thomas and Tolbert were one win away from getting on the podium at the prestigious Cliff Keen Invitational in Las Vegas on December 4 and 5. In dual meets, the Wolverines have knocked off Michigan State of the Big Ten Conference and 18th-ranked Oregon State as well as dominating their only home match this season 22-12 over Boise State. They have their first Big 12 dual meet on February 5 when they host South Dakota State and North Dakota State.

7. Jade Rauser trying to be four-time National Qualifier.  Rauser is currently 5-4 on the season and has been battling some injuries. He didn’t wrestle in the most recent Tournament of Champions at Reno but will look to take the mat again when UVU travels to Stanford on January 15. He is still hoping to become a four-time national qualifier.

8. Trac Norris runs for Nationals.  The senior from Panguitch got his final season as a Wolverine off to a good start with a first place finish in the 3000m run at the Wildcat Winter Open. He will look to build on that as he continues the indoor schedule on January 9 at the BYU Indoor Collegiate Invitational.

9. Men’s Track and Field goes for another triple crown.   The UVU Men’s Track and Field team got off to a great start on the 2015-16 season. They brought home eight individual titles from the Wildcat Winter Open, which is the first of five indoor meets before the WAC Indoor Conference Championships held February 25-27. Nicholas Taylor, Blake Adams, Trac Norris, the 4x400m team, Scott Moake, Rusty Jones, and Bryce Richards won individual titles for the Wolverines. Cole Eisenhour won the 55m hurdles while running unattached.

Mariah Seals is averaging just over 13 points per game in her sophomore season. Photo courtesy of Julie Ostler
Mariah Seals is averaging just over 13 points per game in her sophomore season. Photo courtesy of Julie Ostler

10. UVU Softball and double play records.  The Wolverine Softball season hasn’t gotten underway yet but with veterans Brittney Vansway and Tiani Hensley covering the middle of the infield, the Wolverines will look to build on their NCAA leading 45 double plays turned last season. It was also a new school record as the old record was 24 set in 2014.

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