OKLAHOMA CITY — Utah Valley 285 pound wrestler Adam Fager had a long talk with himself Thursday afternoon at the NCAA wrestling tournament in Oklahoma City, OK. After dropping his first match to William Smith of Rutgers, 6-2, the Layton native looked inside himself for answers about how to turn things around before his next match.
It seems he may have found some answers as Fager won his second match, 6-4, over Max Wessell of Lehigh. “I ‘ve been trying to wrestle and get the approval of others and I’ve been listening to a lot of other people,” Fager said. “I need to wrestle like Adam and believe in myself. I know what I need to do when I’m out there and I just need to believe in myself and do it.”
Fager will now face Oregon State’s Amarveer Dhesi. “I’m just taking the rest of the tournament seven minutes at a time, one match at a time,” Fager said. “I felt good out there in the Lehigh match.”
Utah Valley’s Jade Rauser (125), Avery Garner (141) and Curtis Cook (165) all dropped their first two matches eliminating them from the tournament.
Utah natives Cael Sanderson and Matt Brown remain main characters in Penn State University’s drive for four consecutive NCAA wrestling team championships. Sanderson, the head coach, grew up in Heber City and Brown is from West Valley City.
Penn State has won three titles in a row and in Oklahoma City is in the driver’s seat after the first day of competition. Penn State scored 26.5 points in the first day and leads Minnesota and Oklahoma State which are tied for second with 21.5 points.
No. five seeded Brown won his first match over Ohio’s Cody Walters, 17-4. In his second match Brown grinded out a 6-1 win over Tanner Weatherman of Oklahoma State to land in the quarter-finals where he will face fourth seeded Mike Evans of Iowa.
Ethen Lofthouse of Iowa, who wrestled for Mountain Crest High, showed his grit after dropping his first match to Victor Avery of Edinboro. Lofthouse came back in his next match and dominated Zack Hernandez of Columbia, 10-2.
The tournament resumes Friday and wraps up on Saturday.