Having already made history this season with a first ever tournament team title earlier in the year, the UVU wrestling team achieved another program milestone on Saturday at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational as redshirt freshman Taylor LaMont became UVU’s first ever CKLV Invitational champion.
The 125 pounder, who was ranked no. 10 nationally in his weight class coming into the tournament, defeated four nationally ranked opponents en route to a 6-0 performance and a number one overall finish.
LaMont won his first two matches of the tournament by fall, defeating Alex Nunez of Cal Baptist in the opening match before facing Harvard’s Lukus Stricker in his second bout. In the third match of the tournament, Lamont won against no. 18 ranked Drew Mattin of Michigan to advance to the quarterfinal match where he defeated no. 3 ranked Ethan Lizak of Minnesota. . He then defeated no. 11 Connor Schram of Stanford to advance to the championship match where he won a narrow 4-3 decision over no. 8 ranked Sean Russell of Edinboro. The quarterfinals victory over top-seeded and 3rd ranked Lizak was of special significance, as it was the highest ranked opponent to be beaten by a Wolverine wrestler in Utah Valley history.
“Taylor’s composure in his last three matches against top competition showed his growth over this past month, as he’s finishing his matches better,” said Wolverine head coach Greg Williams in a statement to GoUVU.com. “It’s going to be fun watching him continue to develop. He knows he still has a lot of work to do.”
165 pound Sophomore Demetrius Romero also advanced to the second day of the tournament after a 4-1 mark during the first day of competition. In the second day consolation round match against no. 8 ranked Anthony Valencia of Arizona State, no. 20 ranked Romero had a solid performance but came up just short of victory. Just one win short of a podium spot, Romero finished the tournament with a 4-2 overall record.
Heavyweight Dustin Dennison had a strong showing during the weekend as well. The senior also finished the tournament with a 4-2 record, ultimately missing out on advancing to the second day of competition after suffering the narrowest of losses in a 3-2 decision in the final match of the opening day.
In all, nine Wolverines took part in this year’s tournament as Durbin Lloren (133), Matt Findlay (141), Matthew Ontiveros (149), Landon Knutzen (157), Kimball Bastian (174), Gary Jantzer (184), and Tanner Orndorff (197) each represented UVU in Las Vegas.
UVU (4-2, 1-0 Big 12) now turns it’s attention to conference foe North Dakota State. The Wolverines will welcome the Bison to Orem on Dec.15 in their first home meet of the year, before making their annual trip to the Reno Tournament of Champions in Reno, Nev., on Dec.17.