Kyle McDonald, Sports Writer, @kylesportsbias
After two months of travel, the Utah Valley University wrestlers were finally able to compete on their home floor and they performed very well in the 8th annual UVU Open. It wasn’t a typical tournament or one that was on anyone’s radar in terms of importance but for the Wolverines, it didn’t matter. They came to wrestle and to defend their home mat and they did it in impressive fashion.
The Wolverines had 6 wrestlers finish in the top 3 of their respective weight classes.
Trevor Willson at 149, Will Sumner at 184, Dustin Dennison at 285, and Jarod Maynes at 133 all brought home individual titles. Jesse Christensen at 174 finished second in one of the best finals matches of the night. Raider Lofthouse at 157, who lost earlier in the day, was able to battle back to place third. He even had to beat a teammate, Michael Suwyn, to get to the 3rd place match.
The tournament started off with a bang for the Wolverines as they won 4 out of their first 5 matches. Suwyn and Willson won by technical fall, DJ Argyle won by decision, and Brayden Humpherys won by decision.
Derek Malan was the only Wolverine to lose out of those 5 matches and he had the lead at 2-1 early but his opponent, Jace Abbott of Colorado Mesa, spun him around and was able to get the pin. Malan was injured in the match and was unable to continue to wrestle as he had to forfeit his next match.
The Wolverines also had a big injury occur to one of their regular wrestlers in the 157 pound weight class. Redshirt freshman Koleton Hardy out of Brigham City, Utah sustained a knee injury in his first match and was forced to exit the tournament early and it is believed that he could be out up to 6 weeks.
Two of the more exciting wrestlers for the Wolverines were sophomore heavyweight Dustin Dennison out of Pleasant Grove, Utah and Freshman Will Sumner who started their run to a championship with quick pins in their first matches and continued to let their confidence build as each cruised to a championship on their home mat.
Jesse Christensen, who finished 2nd for the Wolverines, had a disappointing end to a good run. The tall, lanky Christensen had the second most pins in the tournament but couldn’t get it done in a frustrating final match. He lost to Stephen Mejia out of Colorado Mesa by a score of 6-4.
Trevor Willson was able to squeak out a nail biter in his semifinal match where it went into overtime where he beat Branson Ashworth, who was unattached out of Wyoming. That just made it easy to win his final match which he did by pinning Brock Brown just 36 seconds into the second period.
Jarod Maynes was probably the quietest champion of them all. He won decision after decision and the sophomore out of Liberty Lake, Washington was able to walk away with the championship in the 133 pound weight class.
Overall, it was a good showing by the Wolverines and one that coach Greg Williams can be happy about. Not everyone on the UVU wrestling team competed on this day but those that did responded with in a fashion that leaves viewers wondering how good this young UVU team can be.
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