Top 10 Things to Watch for in UVU Athletics

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New school year brings new story lines

Kyle McDonald | Sports Editor | @kylesportsbias

Photo credit: UVU Athletics

Photos credit: Gabi Campbell | Art Director | @gabicampbellphotos 


With the coming of a new school year means the coming of a new year for the athletics program at Utah Valley University.  And with it brings new storylines for each team and intrigue to the fans.  We will look at the Top 10 heading into the 2015-16 season.

1. Men’s Cross Country 3-Peat.  Since joining the Western Athletic Conference in 2013, the UVU Men’s Cross Country team has won back-to-back conference titles and will return six runners that placed in the top 13 at the WAC Championships back in November.  Could they win their third championship in a row? Print. Chris Brower and Tyson Lambert by UVU Ahthletics

2. Men’s Soccer in year two.  The Wolverines return 20 letterwinners and nine starters from a team that finished 9-7-2 and fourth in the WAC, which earned them a spot in the conference tournament.  Can they beat that record and make more noise in the WAC in year two especially with All-WAC defender Alex Neff returning?

3. The 12th Man.  The UVU soccer teams enjoyed a great fan base especially on the men’s side.  The 12th man averaged around 1,800 strong at each home match that ranked 14th nationally and helped the Wolverine men to a 5-1-2 record at home.  It is great home support for the soccer team but when will it transition over to other sports such as Volleyball, Men’s and Women’s Basketball, Wrestling, Baseball, and Softball?

4. Mark Pope and UVU Men’s Basketball.  It will be the first season since 2002 that someone other than Dick Hunsaker will be pacing the sidelines as the Head Coach of the UVU Men’s Basketball team.  Mark Pope starts his first season as Head Coach and hopes that he can take UVU to the next level.  With aggressive offseason recruiting of players and experienced coaches, Pope has UVU buzzing about the possibilities to come.print_mariah_seals_GC

5. UVU Women’s Basketball Player Mariah Seals. She won the WAC Freshman of the Year award in 2014-15.  She was second on the team in scoring with 11.5 points per game and also played a team-high 33.4 minutes per game.  Can she help the Wolverines get back to their winning ways and make noise in the WAC?

6. UVU Wrestling and the Big 12.  On July 29, it was announced that the UVU Wrestling team was joining the Big 12 Conference along with other Western Wrestling Conference schools.  It is a big stage for the Wolverine grapplers who will get to wrestle against teams like Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Iowa State and West Virginia when the Big 12 Championships happen in March.

7. Jade Rauser trying to be four-time National Qualifier.  Rauser is entering his senior season and is the only three-time qualifier for Nationals in UVU wrestling history.  He will look to make it four trips to Nationals when his season kicks off in November.Print Jade Rouser by UVU Athletics

8. Trac Norris runs for Nationals.  After becoming just the second athlete all-time at Utah Valley to qualify for Nationals on May 30, Trac Norris returns for his senior season and will look to qualify for a second year in the 3,000 meter steeplechase.  Norris finished 22nd at Nationals in 2015 while fighting an injury.  Coming back after a summer of rest could mean big things for the senior from Panguitch.

9. Men’s Track and Field goes for another triple crown.   The UVU Men’s Track and Field team took home the coveted Triple Crown in 2014-15 after winning the Men’s Cross Country, Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field Championships.  They will look to repeat that feat in 2015-16.

10. UVU Softball and double play records.  The Wolverine Softball team turned 45 double plays in 2015, which set a new single season record.  With second baseman Brittany Vansway and shortstop Tiani Hensley set to return in 2016, the Wolverines might set a new record for double plays turned.