UVU wrestling: NCAA Championship run ends Friday as Fager is eliminated

By James Warnick

For the Deseret News

Published: Friday, March 21 2014 4:48 p.m. MDT

Utah Valley junior Adam Fager wrestles Lehigh's Max Wessell on Thursday night at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City. He finished his second NCAA Championship run with a 1-2 record.

W. Randy Martin

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Utah Valley University's 2014 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championship run ended Friday as heavyweight Adam Fager was eliminated from competition after suffering a major decision defeat to Oregon State's Amarveer Dhesi.

A day removed from staying alive at his second trip to nationals with an 8-6 victory over Lehigh's Max Wessell in the wrestlebacks, the 15th-seeded Fager took on No. 16 Dhesi (28-8) during Friday's third session.

Fager fell behind to Dhesi early as gave up two first-period takedowns to trail 4-1 after the opening stanza. The Wolverine heavyweight then picked up his quick escape in the second period, but Dhesi countered with another takedown to lead 6-2 after two. Dhesi then took command in the third with three more takedowns and an additional riding time point to pick up the 13-4 major decision.

The UVU heavyweight finished his second NCAA Championship run with a 1-2 clip and his 2013-14 season with a 19-9 overall record.

Three other Wolverines were in action at the Big Show, but the trio of UVU grapplers all had their tournament runs cut short Thursday. Sophomore 125-pounder Jade Rauser as well as seniors Avery Garner (141 pounds) and Curtis Abner Cook (165) all dropped their first two bouts to finish the 2014 NCAA Championships with 0-2 records.

"It's obviously a disappointment that we didn't perform better out here," head coach Greg Williams said. "We felt we had two wrestlers who were good enough to have a shot at the podium. That didn't happen and it hurts, but this is a tough tournament with many great wrestlers so I will encourage our guys to keep their heads up."

This season marked the fifth straight year UVU wrestled at nationals, and the four Wolverines marked a program best for Utah Valley.

"The two underclassmen (Fager and Rauser) will take some information from this experience and be better wrestlers because of it," Williams said.

Session IV (semifinals) of the NCAA Division Wrestling Championships takes place Friday at 7 p.m. CT and airs live on ESPN as well as on ESPN3. Session V (the medal rounds) is Saturday at 10 a.m. CT on ESPNU, while the finals take place Saturday at 7 p.m. CT on ESPN.

James Warnick is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information about Wolverine athletics, visit www.WolverineGreen.com.

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