LARAMIE, Wyo. - The Utah Valley University wrestling team opened the season with a strong performance at the 35th annual Cowboy Open on Saturday in Laramie, Wyo., as nine Wolverines placed and two won individual titles.
The two UVU grapplers that won titles at the University of Wyoming were juniors Abner Cook (165 pounds) and Monte Schmalhaus (174). Cook and Schmalhaus both went a perfect 4-0 at the tournament. Schmalhaus defeated Wyoming's L.J. Helbig 3-2 in the 174-pound championship match, while Cook knocked off teammate Ethan Smith 3-2 in his title bout.
Behind Cook and Schmalhaus' first-place finishes, the sophomore Smith (165) placed second with a 4-1 record. Freshman brothers Jade Rauser (125) and Val Rauser (133) placed third along with redshirt sophomore Adam Fager (Heavyweight). Val Rauser finished 5-1 at the open, while Jade Rauser went 4-1 and Fager 3-1. Senior Glenn Terrano (141) placed fourth for Utah Valley with a 3-2 record.
Also placing for the Wolverines on the day were sophomores Colby Christensen (125) and David Prieto (197). The two were wrestling unattached to UVU. Prieto placed third with a 3-1 mark and Christensen finished fourth at 5-2.
"We're a pretty solid team and we are real pleased with the team's effort," head coach Greg Williams said. "We are looking to have some breakthrough performances however like Josh Wilson did last year. That's what we'll focus on over the next few weeks."
In other action, sophomore transfer Chasen Tolbert (125) and redshirt freshman Chase Cuthbertson (157) both went 3-2 on the day and just missed out on placing as they each dropped their consolation semifinal bout.
UVU sophomore Sam Mecham (141) and redshirt freshmen Logan Addis (149) and Derek Thomas (184) each finished 2-2, while junior Avery Garner (141) wrestled his way to a 1-2 record and redshirt freshman Chris Mayolo (133) went 0-2.
In all, 19 grapplers took to the mat at the open tournament for UVU and 16 of the 19 competed in the elite division, while redshirt freshman Tucker Ray (149), and freshmen Bracken Nipko (125) and Josh Metivier (133) competed in the amateur one. Ray finished the tournament with a 3-2 mark, while Nipko and Metivier, who were competing unattached to UVU at the tournament, went 3-2 and 0-2 respectively.
The opening season tournament featured wrestlers from Boise State and conference foes Wyoming and Northern Colorado.
"We've never had this good of a result at this tournament before," added Williams. "The attitude is very good between the guys and we're pleased with what they're doing and how hard they are working."
The Wolverines will begin their dual season on Nov. 10 at the Campbell University Duals in Buies Creek, N.C. UVU will face host Campbell and Bloomsburg there and on Nov. 11, the Wolverines will travel to Raleigh, N.C., to take part in NC State's Wolfpack Open.
James Warnick is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information about Wolverine athletics, visit www.WolverineGreen.com.