UVU wrestling: Utah Valley bests Bakersfield but falls to No. 10 Nebraska, No. 18 Stanford
Mike Smith, MatShots
PALO ALTO, Calif. — Despite wrestling with an injury depleted lineup Saturday afternoon, Utah Valley University went 1-2 at the Stanford Duals at the Burnham Pavilion in Palo Alto, Calif. UVU defeated Bakersfield, 22-13, but fell to No. 10 Nebraska, 36-6, and No. 18 Stanford, 20-16.
"Even though we're not at full strength, we wanted everyone to step out there and give it 100 percent and feel good about how they competed. And I feel like they did that," head coach Greg Williams said. "I felt like we wrestled a lot better than we did two weeks ago. We still have some things to improve on, which includes getting our backups to step up, but we're headed in the right direction."
Junior heavyweight Adam Fager, who recently fell out of the national rankings, led Utah Valley (2-5) at the dual meet tournament by going a perfect 3-0 with a pin and two decisions. Senior 141-pounder Avery Garner, junior 184-pounder Ethan Smith and sophomore 197-pounder Derek Thomas were next as all went 2-1. Garner won both of his matches by major decision, while Smith and Thomas picked up their two by the standard decision.
In the opener against a top-10 Nebraska squad that feature five ranked guys, the Wolverines picked up just two of the 10 matches.
The contest began at 285-pounds and Fager helped UVU get off to a solid start with a 7-5 sudden victory decision over Nebraska's Collin Jensen. Two matches later, sophomore 133-pounder Chasen Tolbert picked up the Wolverines' other victory as he helped UVU take a 6-3 lead by pulling out a 16-13 decision over Ben Morgan. The Cornhuskers won the next seven bouts, which included an injury default and a forfeit, however, to pick up the 36-6 victory.
UVU then bounced back nicely in its second dual of the day with a 22-13 win over the Roadrunners (2-4) of the Pac-12 Conference. In the first contest between the two schools since 2005, the Wolverines won seven of the 10 bouts against CSUB.
Utah Valley jumped out to a 6-0 lead over Bakersfield, after back-to-back wins by Fager and redshirt freshman Bracken Nipko (125 pounds). A major decision by Garner followed by a decision at 149 pounds by sophomore Trevor Willson later gave UVU a 13-3 advantage. The `Runners later cut the deficit to 15-12, but consecutive wins by Smith and sophomore 197-pounder Derek Thomas later sealed the contest for the Wolverines.
UVU hung right there with the ranked Cardinal (8-2) in the final dual of the day as it fell by just four points. Stanford edged the Wolverines by winning six of the 10 contests.
Fager got things rolling for the Wolverines right from the get-go as he pinned Stanford's Josh Marchok (6:34) in the final period of the opening match to give UVU a 6-0 advantage. The Wolverines later trailed, 7-6, after back-to-back losses at 125 and 133 pounds, but Garner once again put Utah Valley on top as it took a 10-7 lead following Garner's 12-3 major decision over Matt Garelli.
The Cardinal then bounced back, however, by taking the next four bouts to take a commanding 20-10 advantage with just two matches left. Despite decision wins by both Smith and Thomas for UVU in final two bouts of the contest, the Wolverines dropped the contest by four to Stanford.
The defeat marked Utah Valley's first-ever loss to the Cardinal. Despite suffering the defeat, UVU still holds a 2-1 all-time advantage over Stanford.
An injury kept sophomore 125-pounder Jade Rauser, who is ranked 13th in the nation, out of the lineup for UVU on Saturday. Four other Wolverines were also in-and-out of the lineup on the day due to injuries.
The Wolverines will now head to Las Vegas, Nev., next weekend for the widely renowned Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational. The CKLV Invite, which is traditionally considered one of the largest and toughest tournaments of the season, will run Dec. 6-7 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
No. 10 Nebraska 36, Utah Valley 6