After dropping both a home dual the weekend prior to No. 22 Stanford University, and a quick turnaround road dual at Wyoming University two days later, Utah Valley attempted to rebound in a Big 12 matchup. It was on Thursday night, Jan. 30 that the Wolverines dropped yet another dual this time to the Air Force Academy in a 22-14 thriller.
The evening kicked off with the Falcons going up 15-0 after the first four matches with three decisions and a fall. Each of the three decisions by AFA were consecutive and won by just three points.
The first marquee matchup of the evening came in match five with ninth-ranked senior Kimball Bastian of UVU taking on junior Cody Surratt of AFA. Bastian got out to an early lead in the match and didn’t let up, earning a major decision and bonus-point win by a score of 11-2.
After the intermission, AFA grabbed another victory as sophomore Jacob Thompson of the Falcons had a comeback win over Wolverine sophomore Ashton Seely. The two wrestled at 184 pounds.
With AFA having a now commanding 18-4 lead, UVU had the Orndorff brothers, Tanner and Tate, on deck and hoping to rally. Well, rally they did with senior Tanner Orndorff up first. He ripped off a huge 13-2 major decision and bonus point win over AFA’s junior Casey Jumps.
Tanner’s younger, but much bigger brother, sophomore Tate Orndorff was up next for the heavyweight category. He was up against AFA’s sophomore Kanye Hutchinson and dominated with a pair of takedowns early, as well as an escape en route to a 6-3 decision.
As the Wolverines started to close the gap with the score now at 18-11, the Falcons got back into the win column. Sophomore Sidney Flores of AFA was victorious over UVU freshman Josiah Nava in a major decision, earning the Falcons four more points.
In the final marquee matchup of the evening, junior and No. 14 Taylor LaMont of UVU took on AFA’s sophomore Jared Van Vleet. LaMont would help the Wolverines end the night on a high note by winning in a solid 7-3 decision. The victory for LaMont was his 10th of the season.
UVU’s four ranked wrestlers each earned victories on the evening and head coach Greg Williams had some positives about those four grapplers.
“I thought that our four ranked wrestlers went out and competed well. We work really hard on knowing where we want to go and having a purpose in each position, and those guys understand that and they went out and did that again tonight,” said Williams to the UVU sports information director.
The Wolverines now drop to 1-9 overall and and 0-6 in the Big 12. UVU will continue their final homestand of the season on Monday, Feb. 3 as they take on another Big 12 opponent in North Dakota State.
Photo by Hunter Hall