The Utah Valley University wrestling team will host a pair of events at Lockhart Arena this weekend when it welcomes Big 12 foe and 15th-ranked South Dakota State on Friday and hosts the 11th annual UVU Open on Saturday.
Friday's conference dual begins at 7 p.m., while Saturday's open tournament starts at 9 a.m. Live video and live results will both be available for Friday's dual, while live results can be followed for Saturday's tournament via TrackWrestling.
The Wolverines, who are currently receiving votes for the USA Today/NWCA Top 25 Coaches Poll, enter the weekend with a 5-2 overall record and a perfect 2-0 clip in Big 12 Conference action. UVU holds its Big 12 wins over West Virginia and North Dakota State, and it's a perfect 1-0 at home in 2017-18 after defeating the then 24th-ranked NDSU Bison in its home opener by a score of 26-13 on Dec. 15.
UVU enters the weekend off a strong showing at the Southern Scuffle on Jan. 1-2, where one grappler placed at the premier holiday tournament. Despite sending only five starters and seven wrestlers in all, 184-pound redshirt freshman Gary Jantzer became just the third Wolverine in program history to earn a podium finish at the Southern Scuffle after placing seventh in his weight class. Jantzer went 4-2 at the event with an upset win over No. 18 Nick Corba of Cleveland State. Jantzer joins fellow Wolverine greats Benjamin Kjar (125) and Jeb Clark (165) as the only three Southern Scuffle place winners in program history, as Kjar and Clark placed third and eighth, respectively, in 2010-11.
Fellow redshirt freshman Taylor LaMont leads the Wolverines on the season with a 19-2 record at 125 pounds. LaMont, who became the first UVU grappler in program history to win a Cliff Keen Las Vegas title in December, enters Friday's dual ranked seventh in the nation and holds wins over seven ranked foes this season. Sophomore 165-pounder Demetrius Romero is next as he is currently ranked 16th in his weight class and holds a 19-4 win-loss record on the year, while senior heavyweight and 2017 NCAA qualifier Dustin Dennison has the most wins this year with a 22-6 clip.
About No. 15 South Dakota State
The 15th-ranked Jackrabbits come to town with a 5-2 overall record, and Friday's contest will mark SDSU's first Big 12 dual meet this year. South Dakota State holds its 2017-18 wins over No. 18 Central Michigan, Oregon State, Augustana, Dakota Wesleyan and Northern State. SDSU's losses have come to No. 10 Minnesota and No. 12 Arizona State. The Jacks finished third out of 10 teams at the 2017 Big 12 Championships a season ago with 90.5 team points.
Four Jackrabbits are currently nationally ranked led by top-ranked and 2017 NCAA All-American and national runner-up Seth Gross at 133 pounds. Gross holds an unblemished 13-0 record in 2017-18. David Kocer (174) and Nate Rotert (197) are next as they are currently ranked ninth nationally, while Luke Zilverberg is 10th at 157 pounds.
All-time series vs. SDSU
Friday's contest against South Dakota State will be the 13th all-time meeting between the Wolverines and Jackrabbits. UVU enters the dual with an 8-4 series lead, but SDSU has won the last three meetings, including a 29-10 setback in Brookings a season ago.
About the UVU open
This Saturday's UVU Open begins at 9 a.m., and will be competed on four mats. Wrestlers from Utah Valley, Air Force, Arizona State, Wyoming, Colorado Mesa, Embry-Riddle, Western Wyoming, as well as a few additional regional clubs, are expected to compete.
Live results can be followed throughout the tournament by visiting TrackWrestling. The tournament will wrestle through until completion, and four place winners will be crowned at each weight class.
Up next for UVU
The Wolverines will hit the road next weekend for a pair of duals in California against Fresno State and CSU Bakersfield. UVU will first face Big 12 foe Fresno State on Jan. 19, at 8 p.m. MT, in Fresno, before capping the trip at Pac-12 opponent CSUB in Bakersfield on Jan. 20, at 8 p.m. Following the trip, Utah Valley will return to Orem for a Big 12 showdown against the Oklahoma Sooners on Friday, Feb. 2, at 7 p.m.
James Warnick is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information about Wolverine athletics, visit GoUVU.com.