Two Wolverines move on after first day of nationals

No. 2 Demetrius Romero won both matches in the first round of the NCAA wrestling championships on Thursday, March 18, 2021. (Photo by Hunter Hall)

On the first day of the NCAA Wrestling Championships in St. Louis, four Utah Valley wrestlers were in action as they began their quest for an individual championship. 

Seventh-seeded junior Taylor LaMont, in the 125-pound weight class, opened his day with a dominating 19-1 technical fall over No. 26 Jackson DiSario of Stanford. Second-seeded senior Demetrius Romero, in the 174-pound weight class, followed with a 9-6 decision over No. 31 Jake Logan of Lehigh. 

In the 149-pound weight class, No. 33 sophomore Cameron Hunsaker won a 5-1 decision over No. 32 Greg Gaxiola of Hofstra but proceeded to lose his next match against top-seeded Sammy Sasso of Ohio State by fall. Hunsaker’s NCAA run would come to an end after he lost to PJ Ogunsanya of Army 5-3 by decision. 

No. 28 Ty Smith, competing in the 133-pound weight class, lost his first match of the day to No. 5 Micky Philippi of Pittsburgh by a score of 14-3.  Smith would ultimately be eliminated after losing 4-1 by decision to Jared Van Vleet of the Air Force Academy.

In his second match, LaMont won a tightly contested bout with Robert Howard of Penn State 2-1 by decision. With the victory, LaMont advances to Friday’s quarterfinals, where he will face Sam Latona of Virginia Tech. 

Romero capped off the day for the Wolverines with a 15-5 win by decision over Dustin Plott. Romero led 5-4 going into the last round and was able to pull away in the final moments. With the victory, Romero also moves on to the quarterfinals, where he will face Kaleb Romero of Ohio State. 

The first round of quarterfinals will begin Friday morning at 9 a.m. MT. LaMont will be among the first wrestlers to compete, as the 125-pound weight class goes first. The tournament can be viewed on ESPNU and streamed on ESPN.com. 

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