Fresh off a strong opening weekend where it went 2-1 in duals, as well as won the program's first-ever tournament title at the Clarion Open, the Utah Valley University wrestling team returns to the East Coast this weekend tocompetee at North Carolina State's Wolfpack Duals and Wolfpack Open in Raleigh, North Carolina.
UVU will first take on Reinhardt (2 p.m. MT), No. 7 NC State (3:30 p.m.) and UNC Pembroke (5 p.m.) on Saturday as part of the Wolfpack Duals, before concluding the weekend by competing in the Wolfpack Open on Sunday. Saturday's duals will take place at NC State's Reynolds Coliseum, while Sunday's tournament will be contested at Carmichael Gymnasium beginning at 7 a.m.
After recording a 24-9 Big 12 Conference win over West Virginia, the Wolverines followed that up with a 22-14 win over the host Clarion Golden Eagles before closing the day with a 23-12 setback to Kent State at the Clarion Duals on Nov. 3. Redshirt freshman Taylor LaMont (125 pounds), sophomore Demetrius Romero (165) and senior heavyweight Dustin Dennison led the way for the Wolverines by going a perfect 3-0 apiece.
On Nov. 5, the Wolverines then capped the trip with six top-three placers en route to winning the Clarion Open with 101 team points. Dennison led the way by winning the heavyweight title, while Romero, sophomore 149-pounder Grant LaMont, sophomore 197-pounder Tanner Orndorff and unattached freshman Tate Orndorff (285) placed second and T. LaMont earned a third-place finish at 125 pounds.
Dennison went a perfect 8-0 on the opening trip, while T. LaMont and Romero each went 7-1. The redshirt freshman T. LaMont recorded a trio of wins over nationally ranked foes on the trip, including a pair of wins over seventh-ranked and 2015 NCAA finalist Zeke Moisey of West Virginia.
Three ranked Wolverines
With the big opening-season outings, Dennison, T. LaMont and Romero now find themselves nationally ranked in their respect weight classes. The 2017 NCAA qualifier Dennison comes in ranked 14th by TrackWrestling and 18th by InterMat, while T. LaMont enters the rankings for the first time at 11th by TrackWrestling, 15th by FloWrestling and 18th by InterMat, Romero debuts at 25th by TrackWrestling.
Reinhardt is an NAIA member that calls the Appalachian Athletic Conference (AAC) home. The Eagles are 1-0 on the year after defeating Huntingdon, 46-5, in their dual opener. A number of Reinhardt grapplers are tied atop the team with identical 1-0 records on the year.
About NC State
The Wolfpack (3-0) enters the weekend ranked seventh in the country after going a perfect 3-0 at the Journeymen/ASICS Northeast Duals with wins over No. 19 Oklahoma, Ithaca and The Citadel. NC State finished in 17th place at the NCAA Championships a season ago with 141-pounder Kevin Jack leading the way by recording a third-place finish. Seven members of NC State's probable lineup for Saturday are currently ranked in the latest InterMat rankings, led by the second-ranked Jack (2-0) at 141 and third-ranked Pete Renda (2-0) at 184.
About UNC Pembroke
UNC Pembroke is an NCAA Division II member that calls the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) home. The Braves have taken part in a pair of tournaments on the year, but Saturday's action will mark their first dual meets. UNCP went 7-6 overall a season ago and 4-2 in ECAC action. Nick Daggett leads UNC Pembroke on the young season with a 9-3 record at 125 pounds.
About the Wolfpack Open
Following Saturday's action, the Wolverines will take part in the Wolfpack Open on Sunday. Wrestlers from UVU, No. 7 NC State, Clarion, Davidson, Gardner-Webb and more are expected to take part in the open tournament. The event will be streamed live on FloWrestling (for a fee).
Up next for UVU
Following this trip, the Wolverines will return to Orem to prepare for the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational that will run Dec. 1-2, at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. UVU's first home contest is on Dec. 15, when Big 12 foe North Dakota State comes to town for a conference dual.
James Warnick is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information about Wolverine athletics, visit GoUVU.com.