Linsey Craig, UVU Athletics
Redshirt freshman Jade Rauser (125 pounds) places 8th at the prestigious Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational. He was the only Wolverine wrestler to medal.

LAS VEGAS, Nev. — Redshirt freshman Jade Rauser (125 pounds) led Utah Valley University by placing eighth at the 31st Annual Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational on Saturday.

"Jade showed a lot of toughness," UVU coach Greg Williams said. "He was sick and wrestled that first match anyway. He was hurting badly but just really gutted it out."

Rauser began his day against North Idaho's Brock Banta in the consolation quarters. Despite being very sick, Rauser defeated him 10-8 to advance to the medal rounds. Rauser was then pulled from his remaining matches due to illness. He took a medical default versus Wyoming's Tyler Cox in the consolation semis and Colorado State-Pueblo's Jesse Hillhouse in the seventh-place bout.

On Friday, the redshirt freshman Rauser upset the No. 3 seed and 13th-ranked Sean Boyle from Michigan 10-7 in the second round to make it to the quarterfinals.

Behind Rauser, senior 149-pounder Josh Wilson and junior 165-pounder Abner Cook also advanced to Saturday but both dropped their first matches and each finished just one win shy of placement.

"Josh and Abner both wrestled well, just not well enough to win," Williams said. "Both lost their two matches to returning All-Americans."

Wilson took on top-seeded and fourth-ranked Scott Sakaguchi of Oregon State in the consolation quarterfinal match. The UVU senior, who placed fifth at this same tournament a year ago, wrestled Sakaguchi tough but ultimately one point was the difference as Wilson fell, 3-2.

Wilson finished with a 3-2 record at the tournament.

Cook matched up with fifth-seeded and 10th-ranked Taylor Massa of Michigan in the 165-pound consolation quarterfinal bout, and Massa got the best of Cook as he pinned him 2:48 into the contest.

Cook also went 3-2 at the two-day invitational.

Seven other wrestlers also competed for UVU at the CKLV Invitational but all had their tournament runs cut short as they were eliminated Friday.

As a team, UVU finished 23rd out of 32 teams with 20.5 points. No. 5 Ohio State won the invitational as it edged out No. 7 Missouri by a point with 124.5 points.

The Wolverines have nearly a month off, as they won't compete until Dec. 29 and 30 at the Midlands Championships in Evanston, Ill. UVU then begins its Western Wrestling Conference dual season Jan. 4 at home against No. 19 Wyoming.


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