UVU couple show wrestling, volleyball do mix

Two UVU athletes wed over the summer

Kaleb Searle | Sports Writer | @k_searle87_D8H9567 BW

Despite living down the street from each other and attending Pleasant Grove High School, Dustin and Madison Dennison never managed to cross paths in their youth. Madison even trained in CrossFit with Dustin’s high school wrestling coach but the two never got together.

It wasn’t until they both attended a missionary farewell of a mutual friend that they crossed paths for the first time.  They struck up a conversation and Dustin mentioned that he was a wrestler.

“He told me he was wrestling [at UVU] and I was excited, but I didn’t show it,” Madison said.

Later that year, Madison caught Dustin’s eye with her performance on the volleyball court during a game at UVU.  As he was speaking to his former wrestling coach, who was a fan of Madison, he realized that her parents were sitting in front of him and struck up a conversation with them.

“She was doing really well for a freshman,” Dustin said.

After seeing Dustin talking to her parents during the match without ever having gone on a date, she knew that the two were meant for each other.

After one conversation, Dustin said that he went home and told his mom, “This girl is special.  After talking to her once, I kid you not.”

The two were set up for a double date, which led to a few more dates, and eventually fell in love.  It was only four months from the time of their first date to their engagement.  Dustin proposed at a wrestling meet at Pleasant Grove High School in January.  They had decided just days earlier that they would wait a couple months to get engaged.

“I said that just to throw her off,” Dustin said.

He had the announcer at the meet tell the crowd that they had a special match that night.  “Dustin Dennison would be going up against two-time volleyball state champion Madison Wolford,” the public address announcer said.

Confused, Madison went out on the floor where Dustin got down on one knee and proposed.  Madison said yes, and the two were married in June.

Juggling schedules between two sports and classes has proven to be a challenge.  When Madison has to go weight lifting at 5:30 in the morning, Dustin takes her and sleeps on the couch at the gym.  If Dustin’s practice gets over a little early, he goes and waits for Madison’s practice to end.  It is a part of their lives as student-athletes to wait for each other.

While Dustin and Madison try not to think about the injury risk involved with their respective sports, they try to keep each other cautious.  However, there is a lot of competition between them.

“We played a game of badminton once in front of a bunch of people,” Madison said.  “I beat him pretty badly.  He couldn’t talk to me for over an hour.”

Dustin added, “We decided we need to be on the same team or we can’t play at the same time.  It makes it fun because we both love each other, but we’re competitive at the same time, especially against other couples.”

The Dennisons’ story serves as a reminder that sports, while important in and of themselves, can always be an avenue to something unexpected and much bigger.  Dustin and Madison’s time at UVU as athletes will someday come to an end, but the marriage that was a product of it will continue.

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