The Utah Valley University wrestling team will head to Tempe, Ariz., to take on Arizona State of the Pac-12 Conference on Saturday. The dual meet is scheduled to take place at noon MT at the Wells Fargo Arena.
The Wolverines will enter the contest with a 3-5 dual record while ASU will come in at an even 4-4. The two teams met up last season at the PE Building in Orem, and Utah Valley came away with a 26-15 win. Twin brothers, Jade and Val Rauser, helped lead the Wolverines to victory as they picked up back-to-back first-period pins late in the contest. The Rauser's consecutive pins gave UVU an 18-15 lead with two matches remaining. Avery Garner and Josh Wilson then helped seal the victory for the Wolverines as they finished the contest with wins via decision and technical fall, respectively.
UVU will enter Saturday off a 28-9 home dual win over Grand Canyon last week. Utah Valley won eight of the 10 bouts in the contest against the Antelopes, including two by bonus points. After taking a forfeit to begin the contest at 125 pounds, sophomore Chasen Tolbert immediately responded for UVU with a fall (2:24) over GCU's Lino Estrada to tie the bout at 6-6. The Wolverines didn't look back from there as they won seven of the final eight matches to take the contest by 19 points.
Utah Valley also hosted the seventh annual UVU Open last weekend, and six Wolverines placed at the event. Unattached freshman Jed Mellen led the way as he was named the Most Outstanding Wrestler of the tournament after going a perfect 4-0 en route to the 133-pound title. Fellow unattached freshman Dalton Brady (141 pounds) and sophomore Logan Addis (157) also had solid tournaments as both placed second in their respective weight classes.
The Wolverines will enter Saturday with two nationally ranked wrestlers on their roster. Junior Adam Fager leads the way as he is ranked 13th at heavyweight (by InterMat), while sophomore Jade Rauser comes in at 14th at 125 pounds. Fager also leads UVU with a 14-6 overall record while Rauser, who has been out of action for nearly two months with an injury, holds a 3-1 clip.
Sophomore 197-pounder Derek Thomas is the lone other Wolverine also in double digits in victories on the season. Thomas will enter Saturday with an even 11-11 record.
About Arizona State
The Sun Devils are currently receiving votes for the USA Today/NWCA/AWN Division I Coaches Poll and are coming off a seventh-place finish at the Virginia Duals after going 2-2 at the event. ASU picked up wins over Old Dominion and Nebraska-Kearney but fell to Chattanooga and Rider last weekend.
Saturday will mark Arizona State's home opener. ASU will also wrestle fellow Western Wrestling Conference foe Northern Colorado later in the day.
Junior heavyweight Kyle Colling leads the Sun Devils as he holds an unblemished 8-0 record and is currently ranked 15th by InterMat. Junior 174-pounder Kevin Radford is next, with a 17-13 clip.
ASU will enter Saturday with a 2-1 all-time series advantage. The Sun Devils took the lone previous meeting in Tempe, 35-3, back in January of 2005.
Up next for the Wolverines
UVU will return home to take on its second straight Pac-12 foe, when Boise State comes to town on Feb. 1. The dual meet will begin at 7 p.m. and will be televised locally on UVU TV. The Wolverines will then start conference action the following week when South Dakota State and North Dakota State will come to Orem.
James Warnick is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information about Wolverine athletics, visit www.WolverineGreen.com.