On Saturday morning, the UVU wrestling team began its quest for a Big 12 Conference wrestling title when competition opened up at the Sprint Center in Kansas City.
At 125-pounds, Tolbert, who is ranked 18th, won by injury default over 13th-ranked Zeke Moisey of West Virginia.
Rauser followed that up at 133-pounds with a 7-0 win over Brance Simms of South Dakota State. It was the fourth straight time that Rauser has beat Simms, which included a championship win at the 2015 Western Wrestling Conference Championships.
Dennison might have been the biggest surprise out of the group. The heavyweight out of Pleasant Grove defeated Ben Tynan of North Dakota State, 6-4 after picking up an early take down and getting the bonus point for riding time.
“There were some great matches in the quarterfinals and some of the upsets show how deep some of the weight classes are at this tournament,” said UVU head coach Greg Williams in a statement to UVU Athletics. “Jade and Dustin wrestled strong to make the semis. Chasen’s opponent injury defaulted so he didn’t get the opportunity to wrestle. All three have tough semifinal opponents. They will be ready to battle.”
However, Trevor Willson was the first Wolverine to win at the Big 12 Championships. Willson defeated Zachery Moore of West Virginia, 11-5, by recording four takedowns, two escapes, and a riding time point.
Unfortunately for Willson, he faced off against 11th-ranked Anthony Collica in the quarterfinals. Collica made quick work of the match and won by fall over Willson in the second period.
Willson wasn’t the only Wolverine who lost in the first session. Jarod Maynes (141), Raider Lofthouse (157), Brayden Humpherys (165), Ross Taylor (174), Will Sumner (184), and Derek Thomas (197) all lost their inaugural Big 12 Conference matches.
Willson, Humpherys and Sumner all had their first Big 12 competition come to a close with losses in the consolation bracket.
Tolbert, Rauser, and Dennison didn’t fare well in their second matches of the day. Tolbert lost to 6th-ranked Eddie Kilmara of Oklahoma State in the semis by a 6-2 decision. Rauser lost to 2015 National Champion Cody Brewer of Oklahoma by tech fall. And Dennison lost to 5th-ranked Austin Marsden of Oklahoma State by decision.
In the final session of the night, Ross Taylor (174) and Derek Thomas (197) both advanced to the consolation semis. They join Tolbert, Rauser, and Dennison as the only Wolverines who can finish no worse than sixth in their respective weight classes.
The competition came to an end for Jarod Maynes (141) and Raider Lofthouse (157) as they lost in the consolation quarterfinals.
After day one, UVU, as a team was in 8th place with 33.5 points. Oklahoma State leads the competition with 140.5 points.
For a recap of Sunday’s consolation semis, third place matches and the finals, click here.
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