With the final match of the regular season over, UVU’s wrestling team is now gearing up for a great postseason — one that they will be entering with six Wolverines ranked in the top 25 nationally. This will be particularly special for two of those ranked wrestlers, Tanner and Tate Orndorff, because they are not only teammates, but also brothers.
“It’s always been a dream of ours to wrestle together since we were little, in college,” said Tanner. “It’s just a dream come true and I feel like just knowing he is taking care of business and going out to compete gives me the accountability and the motivation to do the same.”
Tanner excelled while wrestling at University High School in Spokane, Wash., where he helped guide his team to a victory in the 3A State Wrestling Championships in 2013. After serving an LDS church mission in Fresno, Calif., he redshirted for the Wolverines in the 2015-16 season. The following two years, he qualified for the NCAA Championships.
Tate, who is a competing as a freshman after redshirting last season, is looking to accompany him this year in the biggest competition at the college level. The younger Orndorff also had a successful high school career at University High School, where he won two individual state titles and was also a part of the 2013 championship team.
“My dad was the wrestling coach at the high school when I was a kid, so I was always around it,” Tanner said. David Orndoff, the father of the two, was an All-American in the sport at Oregon State University. He proved to be a big motivation for both Tanner and Tate, as well as their two older brothers, who were also avid wrestlers.
“We all wrestle probably because our father wrestled,” Tate said. “He always loved wrestling and he never really pushed it on us, just encouraged us and we wanted to be like him.”
Currently as it sits, Tanner is ranked at No. 14 and Tate is No. 17 in their respective weight classes in the NCAA Division I National Coaches’ Rankings. Both brothers have their sights set on capturing the conference title at the the Big 12 Championships, which they will compete in on March 9-10. From there, they will head to Pittsburgh, Pa. to make their run at the NCAA Championships on March 21-23.
“I’m looking to be Big 12 champ and NCAA champ,” Tanner said. “That’s the goal. I feel like I’m in a good spot and I’m picking the right time. I just need to fine tune a couple positions, but other than that I feel like I’ve found my stride with my diet, my routine, my training, so I’m looking to just take it one day at a time from here to the end of the season and I think I’ll like the results I get.”
Tanner was awarded the Big 12 Wrestler of the Week the last two weeks of the regular season after finishing with a combined 4-0 record over that span.
“Me and Tanner are probably two of the closest brothers you will find,” Tate said. “We’re always talking about wrestling. We’re always talking about what we can do better, how the team can do better, what we can do to help the team and help one another. We have a really good relationship and we’re always able to build each other up. I think that’s the biggest thing that not all brothers have.”
With high expectations for themselves and from others, this support will be important for however the season ends for the brothers. At any rate, Tate and Tanner Orndorff are sure to be among those leading the charge for UVU as they head into the most important matches of the year.
I put more miles on my running shoes in high school than my car, I love playing basketball and my ukulele, and I have lived in eight states.