The Utah Valley University wrestling team will head to the Front Range this week to conclude its regular season. Three Western Wrestling Conference duals will await the Wolverines on the trip, as they'll face Northern Colorado in Greeley on Wednesday, Air Force in Colorado Springs on Friday and Wyoming in Laramie on Saturday.
All three dual meets will begin at 7 p.m. and will feature either live results or live video. Visit UVU's website to find the live links for each dual.
Utah Valley will enter the trip with a 5-7 overall record and a 1-1 clip in WWC action after splitting a pair of home conference duals against South Dakota State and North Dakota State last week. UVU began its conference season by knocking off the first-place Jackrabbits at the time, 18-15, on Thursday but then fell to the 20th-ranked Bison the following night, 33-11.
With the dual against the Jackrabbits deadlocked at 15 entering the final bout of the contest, senior 174-pounder Monte Schmalhaus secured the victory for the Wolverines by defeating SDSU's John Nething II by decision. With Schmalhaus holding to a 3-2 lead entering the third period, the Wolverine senior then got the job done by picking up an escape and a late takedown to win the match by a score of 6-2. In all, UVU won six of the 10 bouts against the Jacks.
Friday's dual against North Dakota State didn't turn out as well for the Wolverines, however, as the ranked Bison handed UVU a 33-11 defeat. The contest marked Senior Night for Utah Valley, and the Wolverines held an 11-9 advantage halfway through the dual before NDSU managed to reel off the final five matches, including four by fall. Senior 141-pounder Avery Garner as well as sophomores Chase Cuthbertson (157 pounds) and Chasen Tolbert (133) recorded the wins for UVU in the contest. Both Garner and Cuthbertson managed to win their respective bouts by major decision as Garner defeated Clay Cathey by a score of 10-1, and Cuthbertson pulled out a 16-7 victory over Nick Olejnik.
Junior heavyweight Adam Fager leads the Wolverines as he is currently ranked 13th by InterMat and holds a 15-6 overall record. Sophomore 197-pounder Derek Thomas is next in victories for UVU with 14 (14-12), while Garner (11-6) and Tolbert (11-8) each have won 11 matches apiece. Garner also leads the team in dual meets as he holds a 10-2 dual record.
About Northern Colorado
The Bears will enter Wednesday's outing searching for their first conference victory as they are off to an 0-2 start in WWC action. UNC fell to Wyoming on the road last Friday, 41-6, before dropping a 28-11 contest to NDSU on Sunday. Overall, Northern Colorado is 5-10 on the season with wins over Arizona State, Cal Poly, Virginia Military Institute, Chadron State and Colorado Mesa.
Junior 157-pounder Mitchell Polkowske leads UNC with a 20-5 record and is currently ranked 20th by TheOpenMat.com. Redshirt freshman Trey Andrews is right behind him as he holds a 19-5 record at 125 pounds.
Wednesday's dual marks the 14th all-time meeting between the Wolverines and Bears with UNC holding a slight 7-6 advantage. Last season in Orem, Utah Valley recorded its first-ever shutout against a Division I opponent as it blanked Northern Colorado, 39-0.
About Air Force
The Falcons will enter the week with an 8-5 overall record and 0-2 clip in WWC duals so far. AFA will host Wyoming on Tuesday before taking on UVU and New Mexico Highlands on Friday. Air Force's two conference losses came on the road in the Dakotas a couple of weeks ago when it fell 41-6 to North Dakota State and 18-14 to South Dakota State.
Sophomore 125-pounder Josh Martinez leads the Falcons with a 28-2 record and a No. 4 national ranking (InterMat). Junior 133-pounder Carter McElhany is next as he holds an 18-5 record, while junior 165-pounder Jesse Stafford will enter the week at 17-7.
Friday will mark Utah Valley's 11th all-time meeting against Air Force with the Wolverines leading the series at 6-4. Utah Valley took the most recent contest by a score of 23-9 when AFA was ranked 22nd by InterMat last February in Orem.
The Cowboys are 3-6 overall and 1-1 in WWC duals but will square off against the Falcons in Colorado Springs on Tuesday. Of the six losses that Wyoming has on the season, five of them have come to teams ranked in the top 25. UW's lone defeat to an unranked team came on Jan. 19, as it dropped its conference opener, 18-17, to South Dakota State. The Cowboys will enter the week hot as of late, however, as they have won their last two duals.
Junior 125-pounder Tyler Cox (24-4) paces the Pokes as he is ranked eighth in his weight class by InterMat. Redshirt freshman Benjamin Stroh is next as he comes in at No. 18 at 184 pounds (InterMat) with a 22-6 record. Juniors Dakota Friesth (165) and Shane Woods (197) are also having solids seasons for Wyoming with respective records of 25-6 and 17-7.
Saturday's meeting with Wyoming will mark the 10th all-time meeting between the Wolverines and Cowboys. UW will enter the dual with an 8-1 series advantage.
Up next for the Wolverines
The Wolverines will return home to prepare for the 2014 NCAA West Regional/WWC Championships that they will host for the first time in program history on March 8 in the UCCU Center. Automatic berths at every weight class will be on the line to the NCAA Championships that will be held March 20-22 at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Okla.
James Warnick is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information about Wolverine athletics, visit www.WolverineGreen.com.