UVU wrestling falls short in dual meet with Arizona State

Photos courtesy of Julie Ostler
OREM – The Utah Valley University wrestling team looked to bounce back from a rough weekend in California when they took on Arizona State in the PE Building on Thursday night. However, Arizona State got off to a fast start as they won winning the first three bouts of the match. 8th-ranked Blake Stauffer got the Sun Devils off to a good start with a 9-1 win over Will Sumner at 184 pounds. That was followed up with Joshua Dasilveira winning by technical fall over Aryton Almberg and a 2-1 decision for 10th-ranked Tanner Hall in the heavyweight match.

But the tables turned when UVU seniors Jade Rauser and Chasen Tolbert hit the mat. Tolbert pinned his opponent in the first period and Rauser continued the dominant trend he set over the weekend, beating his opponent, 11-0.

Arizona State fought back and won back-to-back matches at 141-pounds and 149-pounds to take an 18-10 lead with three matches to go.UVU Wrestling1-21-16.JulieOslter-55

Raider Lofthouse had a chance to turn the tide of the match and he made the most of the opportunity. Facing off against 32nd-ranked Oliver Pierce, Lofthouse had a big challenge. Early on Pierce looked to have the upper hand but Lofthouse continued to battle and outlasted Pierce, pulling the 6-2 upset.

Lofthouse’s win put UVU back in the thick of things at 18-13. However, Arizona State responded by winning the next match at 165-pounds by a pin to seal the win in the dual meet.

Ross Taylor closed out the night with a win for UVU at 174-pounds, but Arizona State won the match, 24-16.

“I’m real pleased with how our seniors wrestled,” Coach Greg Williams said. “We need more guys doing what Raider was doing and that’s not giving up. We had some guys tonight that looked like they were moving in slow motion. Our theme is to compete and when we do good things happen.”

Williams has evidence for his claim by their wins against ranked opponents Oregon State and Boise State.

Jade Rauser, riding high off being named Big 12 Wrestler of the Week reminded everyone why he’s one the best. Truly a great story considering injuries restricted him earlier in the season, but he’s back now and letting his presence known.

“It’s just confidence. I know the caliber of wrestler I am. Before I step on the mat I tell myself there’s no way my opponent can beat me. I’m better than them,” Rauser said. “I still have some things I could work on, even though I had a dominating performance tonight, I could have won by more. I’m definitely on track for nationals. This is my last shot, there’s no way I’m not going.”

Raider Lofthouse turned heads by pulling an upset.

“Never stop moving, it doesn’t matter if he’s on your leg,” Lofthouse said. “I’m not going to let him finish; I’m not going to make it easy on him; I’m going to just keep moving. My mentality stepping out onto the mat is I’m going to win, that helped me win tonight. You can’t have negative thoughts.”UVU Wrestling1-21-16.JulieOslter-88

UVU will host South Dakota State and North Dakota State on Feb. 5. This meet marks the start of Big 12 competition.

“We have a few weeks to get ready, we’ll be working on a few things. Mostly we’re trying to get everyone individually ready. We will watch tape. We’re focus more on what we can do better, but it always helps to know what they do.” Williams said.

That night will no doubt be a big night for the UVU Wolverines, as they work to get back on course as conference competition begins.

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