GREELEY, Colo. — The Utah Valley University wrestling team dropped its regular season finale to Western Wrestling Conference foe Northern Colorado on the road in Greeley, Colo., Wednesday night. The Wolverines will now begin preparing for the NCAA West Regional/WWC Championships that will take place on March 4.
With the loss, the Wolverines finished the season with a 6-10 dual record and a 1-5 Western Wrestling Conference clip while with the victory the Bears improved to 6-6 overall and 3-2 in conference action.
The competition began at 141 pounds, and Northern Colorado got off to a good start by winning the first two bouts. Casey Cruz defeated Avery Garner 4-0, and Justin Gonzales followed it up with a 4-2 win over Sam Mecham (149 pounds). UVU then got on the board at 157 pounds when Napoleon Aniciete defeated Charlie McMartin (7-1) to cut the team score deficit to 6-3.
UNC's 10th-ranked Gabe Burak then picked up an 11-1 major decision victory over Ethan Smith at 165 pounds, but Monte Schmalhaus (174) countered back for the Wolverines with an 8-0 major decision win of his own over Josh VanTine to keep the overall score close at 10-7.
The Bears then put the contest out of reach by winning the next three matches. Cody McAninch started it by defeating 184-pounder David Prieto, 3-1. Nick Bayer then followed it with another 3-1 win over 197-pounder Brian Chamberlain, and Henry Chirino concluded the UNC run with a 9-5 victory over heavyweight Dustin Dennison.
Utah Valley's Colby Christensen (125) then ended the Bear run with a dominant 15-0 technical fall win over Jesse Meis.
In the final bout, UVU's Blake Mangum (133) and Sam Bauer found themselves in the tightest contest of the evening. Bauer scored first with an escape point in the second period, and Mangum answered back with an escape point of his own in the third period to tie the match and send it to overtime. Midway through first sudden victory OT, Bauer managed to score a takedown to snap Mangum's five-match win streak as the UNC 133-pounder won 3-1.
The Wolverines will now have the next couple of weeks off to prepare for the NCAA West Regional/WWC Championships that will be held in Cedar Falls, Iowa. There, 10 UVU wrestlers will have the opportunity to qualify for the 2012 NCAA Championships that begin March 15 in St. Louis, Mo.
Last season, UVU had three of its wrestlers qualify for the NCAA Championships. There, former 125-pounder Benjamin Kjar became the Wolverines' first-ever wrestling All-American by placing fourth.
Northern Colorado 22, Utah Valley 12
141 — Casey Cruz (NC) dec. Avery Garner (UVU), 4-0
149 — Justin Gonzales (NC) dec. Sam Mecham (UVU), 4-2
157 — Napoleon Aniciete (UVU) dec. Charlie McMartin (NC), 7-1
165 — Gabe Burak (NC) maj. dec. Ethan Smith (UVU), 11-1
174 — Monte Schmalhaus (UVU) maj. dec. Josh VanTine (NC), 8-0
184 — Cody McAninch (NC) dec. David Prieto (UVU), 3-1
197 — Nick Bayer (NC) dec. Brian Chamberlain (UVU), 3-1
285 — Henry Chirino (NC) dec. Dustin Dennison (UVU), 9-5
125 — Colby Christensen (UVU) tech fall. Jesse Meis (NC), 15-0
133 — Sam Bauer (NC) dec. Blake Mangum (UVU), 3-1 (OT)
James Warnick is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information about Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.