OREM, Utah — The Western Wrestling Conference announced its All-Conference teams for the 2011-12 season on Monday and three Utah Valley University wrestlers made the cut. Individuals earned spots on the respective teams with their finish at the 2012 NCAA West Regional/WWC Championships on March 4 in Cedar Falls, Iowa. All seven league schools competed at the West Regional.
Utah Valley junior 149-pounder Josh Wilson, who will represent UVU at the NCAA Championships in St. Louis, Mo., later this week, was named to the second team, while sophomore 141-pounder Avery Garner and redshirt freshman 165-pounder Ethan Smith were both third-team selections.
Wilson earned the All-WWC Second Team spot after he finished second at the regional/conference championships on March 4. Garner and Smith landed on the third team after they placed third in their respective weight classes at the same tournament. The conference honors were the first for all three UVU wrestlers.
Three defending West Regional individual champions successfully kept their titles and earned First Team All-WWC honors: Air Force's Cole VonOhlen (149) and Wyoming's Shane Onufer (165) and Pat Martinez (174). Onufer also won his fourth consecutive title and his fourth-straight first-team honor.
Six of the 10 members named to the First Team All-Conference were repeat winners from one of the three all conference squads in years past. The only newcomers to earn first team honors were North Dakota State's Trent Sprenkle (125); and Northern Iowa's Joe Colon (133), Levi Wolfensperger (141) and Blayne Beale (285). In fact 12 of the 30 student-athletes named All-WWC are multi-year winners.
Wyoming led the way with four first-team honorees. Northern Iowa was next with three spots on the first team, while North Dakota State held down two and Air Force landed one. The Cowboys led the way with seven all-conference honorees. The Bison and Falcons had six wrestlers earn all-league honors, the Panthers saw five and UVU had three.
The Western Wrestling Conference is comprised of seven schools, the Air Force Academy, North Dakota State, Northern Colorado, Northern Iowa, South Dakota State, Utah Valley and Wyoming.
SECOND TEAM ALL-WWC, 2011-12
149 - Josh Wilson (UVU), Jr., Morgan, Utah (Morgan HS)
THIRD TEAM ALL-WWC, 2011-12
141 - Avery Garner (UVU), So., Boise, Idaho (Centennial HS)
165 - Ethan Smith (UVU), RFr., Midway, Utah (Wasatch HS)
James Warnick is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information on Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.