Utah Valley hung with No. 20 North Dakota State for the first half of its regular season finale on Friday night in the PE Building, but in the end the ranked Bison were too much for the Wolverines. NDSU (8-4, 2-0 WWC) ended up taking the contest by a score of 33-11 over UVU (5-7, 1-1 WWC), as it won seven of the 10 bouts on the evening including four by fall.
"I knew that the upper five weights were going to be tough for us," UVU head coach Greg Williams said. "Despite the loss, I felt that we wrestled well and I know that we are two pretty evenly matched teams. If we would have won a couple of the matches that we should have as well as had our heavyweight tonight, then I feel that we would've won."
Following a pin by North Dakota State in the opening bout of the evening, 133-pound sophomore Chasen Tolbert got the Wolverines going with a 10-4 decision over Justin LaValle. Tolbert took a 5-2 lead in the first period thanks to an escape, a takedown and a two-point nearfall. Tolbert held the lead from there as he took the match by six points.
Senior 141-pounder Avery Garner then gave Utah Valley its first lead of the contest at 7-6, with a 10-1 major decision over NDSU's Clay Cathey on Senior Night. The reigning WWC Wrestler of the Week Garner picked up a takedown and a three-point nearfall in the opening period to jump out to a 5-0 advantage. After a scoreless second frame, Garner then secured the major in the final period with two takedowns and a riding time point.
Tyler Diamond then managed to pull out a 7-2 decision over UVU 149-pounder Trevor Willson to give North Dakota State a 9-7 advantage. Sophomore Chase Cuthbertson (157 pounds) immediately responded for the Wolverines, however, with a 16-7 major decision over Nick Olejnik to give Utah Valley an 11-9 lead. Cuthbertson allowed only escapes to Olejnik as he dominated the contest over the Bison freshman.
Steven Monk, who is ranked third in the nation at 165 pounds, then started a Bison rally with a second-period fall over Logan Addis. The rally continued through the final four matches of the dual meet, as NDSU managed to win them all.
At 174 and 184 pounds, Utah Valley had a chance to win both matches as senior Monte Schmalhaus (174) and junior Ethan Smith (184) hung tight with their respective ranked counterparts from North Dakota State. But in the end, Schmalhaus couldn't secure a late takedown against No. 13 Hayden Zillmer and Smith couldn't manage to escape the hold of No. 20 Kurtis Julson as they dropped their bouts by respective scores of 9-4 and 2-0.
With Utah Valley still alive in the contest trailing 21-11 with two matches to go, Tyler Lehmann (197) and Evan Knutson (heavyweight) put the dual away for the Bison with two more pins.
"There are some things that we need to get better at so that we can win these types of matches and we'll work specifically on these things in practice tomorrow (Saturday)," Williams said. "What really matters is the conference tournament, and we're hoping to have some of these things corrected by then."
Of the three matches that UVU won in the contest, two were for bonus points as both Garner and Cuthbertson managed to win their bouts via major decision.
A trio of fifth-year seniors in Garner, Schmalhaus and Curtis Abner Cook (165 pounds) were honored prior to the dual meet for their stellar careers at UVU.
The Wolverines will conclude their regular season next week with three more WWC duals on the road. UVU will head to Colorado and Wyoming to take on Northern Colorado on Wednesday, Air Force on Friday and Wyoming on Saturday. Utah Valley will then return home to host the 2014 NCAA West Regional/WWC Championships at the UCCU Center on March 8.
No. 20 North Dakota State 33, Utah Valley 11
125: Hunter Weber (NDSU) Fall No. 17 Jade Rauser (UVU), 3:52Comment on this story
133: Chasen Tolbert (UVU) Dec. Justin LaValle (NDSU), 10-4
141: Avery Garner (UVU) MD Clay Cathey (NDSU), 10-1
149: Tyler Diamond (NDSU) Dec. Trevor Willson (UVU), 7-2
157: Chase Cuthbertson (UVU) MD Nick Olejnik (NDSU), 16-7
165: No. 3 Steven Monk (NDSU) Fall Logan Addis (UVU), 4:27
174: No. 13 Hayden Zillmer (NDSU) Dec. Monte Schmalhaus (UVU), 9-4
184: No. 20 Kurtis Julson (NDSU) Dec. Ethan Smith (UVU), 2-0
197: Tyler Lehmann (NDSU) Fall Derek Thomas (UVU), 4:10
285: Evan Knutson (NDSU) Fall Richard Larsen (UVU), 2:55
James Warnick is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information about Wolverine athletics, visit www.WolverineGreen.com.