FARGO, N.D. - A forfeit at 125-pounds was the difference on Friday night as Utah Valley fell to No. 25 North Dakota State, 18-15, at the Bison Sports Arena in Fargo, N.D.
Both squads won five bouts apiece, but the Wolverines (5-3, 2-2 WWC) spotted the Bison (8-8, 3-0 WWC) the first six points of the night as they were without a 125-pounder on the trip (due to illness) and it ended up being costly. Despite surrendering the six points, UVU still almost managed to upset the ranked NDSU Bison.
"North Dakota State is a solid team. We went out with more energy and a lot of confidence and I felt like we wrestled better than we have in the last couple weeks," UVU head coach Greg Williams said. "I was pleased with our guys' effort throughout the lineup. There are still a few things we need to clean up in time for conference but we did some good things tonight."
After the opening forfeit, Chasen Tolbert (133 pounds), Avery Garner (141), Josh Wilson (149) and Ethan Smith (157) won the next four matches to give the Wolverines a 12-6 lead with five bouts remaining.
Tolbert began the rally with a big 5-0 decision over NDSU's Josh Rodriguez. Garner followed it with a 7-5 come from behind victory over Mark Erickson that included a third period takedown and three-point near fall by Garner to pickup the win. Wilson then continued to wrestle well as of late for the Wolverines with a 6-0 blanking of NDSU's Joe Garner and Smith followed with a 9-4 decision over Tanner Carlisle.
North Dakota State's top wrestler, No. 6 Steven Monk, then got the Bison going at 165-pounds as he managed to pull out a hard fought 2-0 win over UVU's Abner Cook. The only scoring of the bout was a reversal by Monk in the second period.
With the Wolverines still ahead 12-9 on the scoreboard, Hayden Zillmer pulled out one of the biggest victories of the night for the Bison with a 5-4 decision over Monte Schmalhaus (174). Schmalhaus held a 3-0 lead entering the final period of the match but Zillmer picked up five points in the final two minutes of action to defeat Schmalhaus.
With the contest tied up at 12-12, NDSU's Mac Stoll defeated Derek Thomas (184) 6-1 to give the Bison a 15-12 advantage. North Dakota State then extended its lead to 18-12, as Kallen Kleinschmidt took care of business against David Prieto (197) with another 6-1 win for the Bison with just one match remaining.
Heavyweight Adam Fager then picked up the final win of the contest by holding on down the stretch for a 3-2 win over NDSU's Evan Knutson (ranked 31st in the latest NCAA Coaches' Panel Poll), but it came a little too late as the Bison took the dual, 18-15.
With the win, NDSU remains in first place in the Western Wrestling Conference with a perfect 3-0 league mark.
The loss snaps UVU's dual win streak at four.
Following the contest, UVU's Chase Cuthbertson (157) dominated NDSU's Caleb Meide with a 19-4 technical fall over him in an exhibition bout.
The Wolverines will conclude their three-dual road trip by heading to Boise, Idaho, to face Boise State on Wednesday, Feb. 13. UVU has won its last five contests against teams from the Pac-12 Conference. Utah Valley will then come home for its regular season finale against Air Force on Saturday, Feb. 16.
No. 25 North Dakota State 18, Utah Valley 15
125 - No. 9 Trent Sprenkle (NDSU) wins by forfeit
133 - Chasen Tolbert (UVU) Dec. Josh Rodriguez (NDSU), 5-0
141 - Avery Garner (UVU) Dec. Mark Erickson (NDSU), 7-5
149 - Josh Wilson (UVU) Dec. Joe Garner (NDSU), 6-0
157 - Ethan Smith (UVU) Dec. Tanner Carlisle (NDSU), 9-4
165 - No. 6 Steven Monk (NDSU) Dec. Abner Cook (UVU), 2-0
174 - Hayden Zillmer (NDSU) Dec. Monte Schmalhaus (UVU), 5-4
184 - Mac Stoll (NDSU) Dec. Derek Thomas (UVU), 6-1
197 - Kallen Kleinschmidt (NDSU) Dec. David Prieto (UVU), 6-1
285 - Adam Fager (UVU) Dec. Evan Knutson (NDSU), 3-2
Exhibition (157) - Chase Cuthbertson (UVU) Tech. Fall Caleb Meide (NDSU)
James Warnick is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information about Wolverine athletics, visit www.WolverineGreen.com.