OREM, Utah - Utah Valley University opened the Western Wresting Conference dual season against 16th-ranked Wyoming on Friday in Orem, getting wins from four wrestlers. The Cowboys, led by 4th-ranked 197-pounder Alfonso Hernadez picked up the dual win, 20-12, winning six matches including two by major decision.
"The matches we lost tonight, for the most part, were close matches. I feel like we lost this dual in the third period," UVU head coach Greg Williams said. "Wyoming is a great team, well conditioned, and they're going to fight all the way through. They beat us in the third period and that's what cost us the match. But I'm proud of the guys and I think the lessons they learned tonight will pay off later in the year."
Abner Cook (165 pounds), Adam Fager (heavyweight), Jade Rauser (125) and Avery Garner (141) all picked up victories for the Wolverines, who will now host the UVU Open beginning Saturday morning at 9 a.m. in the PE Building.
Wyoming jumped out with a pair of decisions from Brandon Richardson and Andy McCulley. At 149 pounds, Richardson forced sudden death with a takedown in the final seconds against Josh Wilson and then won in the first overtime with a takedown.
McCulley, ranked 12th at 157 pounds, then scored a 4-1 win over Ethan Smith before the Wolverines got three points with an 8-3 win by Cook over Dakota Friesth. With the outcome hanging in the balance late, Cook seized control with a takedown and two-point near fall as time expired.
Wyoming got wins in the next three matches - including a major decision from Hernandez - before Fager topped Leland Pfeifer at heavyweight. Rauser followed with a hotly-contested 6-3 win over Tyler Cox at 125 to trim the team score to 16-9.
Zach Zehner clinched the dual for the Pokes with a major decision at 133 before UVU's Garner closed out the night with a 6-2 win over Kyle Komata.
The Wolverines will continue their month-long homestand by hosting the Open Saturday at the PE Building. The tournament will begin at 9 a.m. and fans can follow the action by visiting TrackWrestling.com. After the open, UVU will then welcome Arizona State on Jan. 18.
No. 16 Wyoming 20, Utah Valley 12 149: Brandon Richardson (Wyo) Dec., Josh Wilson (UVU) 6-4, SV 157: #12 Andy McCulley (Wyo) Dec., Ethan Smith (UVU) 4-1 165: Abner Cook (UVU) Dec., Dakota Friesth (Wyo) 8-3 174: L.J. Helbig (Wyo) Dec., Monte Schmalhaus (UVU) 8-3 184: Shane Woods (Wyo) Dec., Derek Thomas (UVU) 4-3 197: #4 Alfonso Hernandez (Wyo) Major Dec., David Prieto (UVU) 13-5 285: Adam Fager (UVU) Dec., Leland Pfeifer (Wyo) 10-4 125: Jade Rauser (UVU) Dec., Tyler Cox (Wyo) 6-3 133: Zach Zehner (Wyo) Major Dec. Chasen Tolbert (UVU) 14-3 141: Avery Garner (UVU) Dec., Kyle Komata (Wyo) 6-2
Kellen Hiser is sports information assistant at Utah Valley University. For more information on Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.