OREM, Utah - The 2012-13 Utah Valley University wrestling team will begin its season Thursday at 7 p.m. in the PE Building with the annual UVU Intrasquad Dual. The contest will be free of charge and will be a good opportunity for fans to get an early look at the Wolverine squad.
"This season will be kind of an unknown for us as we are very young," said seventh year head coach Greg Williams. "Most of our freshmen are redshirt freshmen, however, and have a year of experience under their belt but they haven't really faced tough competition yet. The question is how well will the first year starters do in Las Vegas (Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational) or at Midlands (Championships)."
Besides having 11 freshmen on the roster this season, UVU also mixes in 10 sophomores, four juniors and two seniors. One of the two seniors is returning NCAA Qualifier Josh Wilson (149 pounds). Wilson, who is ranked 18th in the preseason InterMat poll, wrestled at his first NCAA Championships last season in St. Louis, Mo., and will look to help lead his young teammates this year.
Other upper classmen are senior Glenn Terrano (141) and juniors Abner Cook (165), Avery Garner (141), Zac Jensen (HWT) and Monte Schmalhaus (174). The 10 sophomores on the Wolverine roster this year are Napoleon Aniciete (157), Colby Christensen (125), Adam Fager (HWT), Clay Frost (149/157), Derek Malan (133), Blake Mangum (125/133), Sam Mecham (141/149), David Prieto (197), Ethan Smith (165) and transfer Chasen Tolbert (125) from Colorado Mesa.
Out of the 11 freshmen, nine of them are redshirt freshmen. Those freshmen are Logan Addis (149), Chase Cuthbertson (157), Kyle Cuthbertson (165/174), Chris Mayolo (133/141), Andrew Orr (157), Jade Rauser (125), Val Rauser (133), Tucker Ray (149) and Derek Thomas (184). The two incoming true freshmen this season are Josh Metivier (133) from Hudson, N.H./Alvirne High School and Bracken Nipko (125) from Pleasant View, Utah/Weber HS.
"We know that it is a special group and these guys are going to accomplish some really great things during their time here at UVU," Williams said. "We also have a number of sophomores, juniors and seniors that should do quite well too. We have almost all of our starters returning from last year and I'm excited for the season to begin."
In all, UVU has 27 grapplers on its roster, which includes 12 returning letterwinners and eight returning starters from last years team that went 6-10 overall and 1-5 in Western Wrestling Conference duals.
"We've never had this much talent in the room before," Williams said. "The program is progressing and we're very pleased with the direction that it is going."
After the intrasquad scrimmage Thursday, the Wolverines will hit the road and travel to Laramie, Wyo., to take part in the Cowboy Open at the University of Wyoming on Saturday. The Wolverines will then travel to North Carolina the following week, Nov. 10-11, to take on Campbell and Bloomsburg and participate at NC State's Wolfpack Open. From there, UVU will round out the calendar year with two major tournaments, the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational (Nov. 30-Dec. 1) and the Midlands Championships (Dec. 29-30).
The Wolverines will then begin their home season against the reigning WWC Champion Wyoming Cowboys on Jan. 4 and will host the annual UVU Open the following day. Utah Valley will continue its home slate by welcoming Pac-12 foe Arizona State on Jan. 18, WWC rival Northern Colorado Jan. 26 and another Pac-12 opponent Stanford on Feb. 1, who the Wolverines defeated last year in Palo Alto 25-10.
UVU will then hit the road to take on conference foes North Dakota State and South Dakota State on Feb. 6 and Feb. 8, respectively, and Boise State on Feb. 13. The Wolverines will close their regular season by hosting Air Force on Feb. 16. UVU will then head back to Laramie, Wyo., for the WWC Championships/NCAA West Regional on March 9. The NCAA Championships will then take place in Des Moines, Iowa, March 21-23.
"All of our conference matches are important and we're also hosting three really good duals this year. We've got Wyoming, Arizona State and Stanford all coming in. They are all good quality programs and have been ranked in the past. We're really excited about our home schedule this year," concluded Williams.
James Warnick is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information about Wolverine athletics, visit www.WolverineGreen.com.