A contingent of Utah Valley University wrestlers will head to Chattanooga, Tennessee, next week to compete at the Southern Scuffle, presented by Compound Sportswear. The premier holiday tournament will run Jan. 1-2, at UT Chattanooga's McKenzie Arena.
Seven Wolverines are slated to make the trip to Tennessee to wrestle at the New Year's tournament. Durbin Lloren (133 pounds), Kimball Bastian (141), Gary Jantzer (184), Will Sumner (184), Tanner Orndorff (197) Dustin Dennison (285) and unattached freshman Tate Orndorff (285) are scheduled to compete in the two-day event.
Utah Valley (5-2, 2-0 Big 12) enters the holiday tournament off a 26-13 win over Big 12 rival North Dakota State, which was ranked 24th by InterMat and receiving votes for USA Today/NWCA Top 25 Coaches Poll at the time, on Dec. 15 in its home opener. The Wolverines, who are also currently receiving votes for the USA Today/NWCA Coaches Poll, won seven of the 10 bouts, including three by bonus points en route to doubling up the Bison.
Sixth-ranked Taylor LaMont (125), Matt Findlay (141) and Tanner Orndorff (197) won their respective matches against NDSU by bonus points, while 16th-ranked 165-pounder Demetrius Romero picked up a 5-3 overtime win over No. 12 Andrew Fogarty. Bastian, Jantzer and Dennison too all also recorded wins for the Wolverines on their way to recording the Big 12 win over North Dakota State.
Later that weekend, a number of Wolverines headed to the Reno Tournament of Champions, and Bastian and the unattached freshman Tate Orndorff led the way by placing second and fourth in their respective weight classes. Bastian went 4-1 en route to recording his second-place finish at 174 pounds, while Tate Orndorff went 4-2 on his way to recording the fourth-place finish at heavyweight.
Despite sending only two starters to the Reno TOC, the Wolverines posted an eighth-place finish out of 51 teams with a total of 66.5 points.
Sixth-ranked LaMont leads UVU on the season with a 19-2 record and previously became UVU's first-ever Cliff Keen Las Vegas Champion after winning the 125-pound bracket with four wins over ranked foes. No. 16 Romero is next with a 19-4 clip, while Dennison is close behind with an 18-4 mark.
About the Southern Scuffle
A total of 27 teams are slated to wrestle at this year's Southern Scuffle. Wrestlers from No. 1 Penn State, No. 2 Ohio State, No. 3 Oklahoma State, No. 5 NC State, No. 6 Lehigh, No. 9 Michigan, No. 10 Virginia Tech, No. 14 Northern Iowa, No. 20 Lock Haven, Air Force, Appalachian State, Bloomsburg, CSU Bakersfield, Campbell, Chattanooga, Cleveland State, The Citadel, Drexel, Duke, Gardner-Webb, George Mason, Hofstra, Navy, Northern Colorado, Stanford, UVU and Virginia are scheduled to compete.
A season ago, Tanner Orndorff and former Wolverine heavyweight Jordan Karst led the way for UVU at the 2017 Southern Scuffle by going 3-2 and 4-2, respectively. The pair of Wolverines also each finished just one win shy of placement at the premier holiday tournament.
Up next for UVU
Following the Southern Scuffle, the Wolverines will return to Orem to host Big 12 foe and 15th-ranked South Dakota State on Friday, Jan. 12, at 7 p.m. Following the Big 12 dual meet, the Wolverines will remain home to host the UVU Open on Saturday, Jan. 13, at Lockhart Arena.
James Warnick is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information about Wolverine athletics, visit GoUVU.com.