Jay Drowns, UVU Marketing
Utah Valley junior 157-pounder Raider Lofthouse (left) grapples with North Dakota State's Clay Ream on December 15, 2017. Lofthouse will compete for the Wolverines on Friday at Fresno State and Saturday at CSU Bakersfield.

The Utah Valley University wrestling team returns to the road this weekend for a pair of duals in the Golden State. UVU will first take on Big 12 foe Fresno State on Friday evening in Fresno, before capping the trip against CSU Bakersfield of the Pac-12 Conference on Saturday in Bakersfield.

Both duals are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. PT. Friday's will take place at Fresno State's Save Mart Center, while Saturday's will be held at CSUB's Icardo Center. Live video will be streamed for Friday's match at FloWrestling (for a fee), while live results will be available on Friday and Saturday at TrackWrestling.

The Wolverines enter the weekend with a 5-3 overall record and a 2-1 clip in Big 12 action after dropping a 31-10 contest to No. 15 South Dakota State at home last week. UVU won three of the 10 bouts in the dual, as sixth-ranked redshirt freshman Taylor LaMont (125 pounds), 16th-ranked sophomore Demetrius Romero (165) and senior heavyweight Dustin Dennison picked up wins for the Wolverines.

LaMont held on late to record an 8-7 win over SDSU's Connor Brown, while Romero picked up a couple of late takedowns to secure an 11-3 major decision over Logan Peterson and Dennison earned a 6-2 decision over heavyweight Alex Macki. Dennison improved to a team-best 23-6 on the year with the win, while LaMont and Romero surpassed the 20-win plateau, as they are 20-2 and 20-4, respectively.

Following the South Dakota State dual, Utah Valley hosted the UVU Open last Saturday. Three Wolverines won individual titles and eight Utah Valley grapplers placed at the event. Jarod Maynes (133), Chase Call (141) and Will Sumner (184) all won titles at the tournament. Fellow Wolverines Josh Jensen (125), Dante Springsteen (174, unattached), Ashton Seely (197, unattached) and Benjamin Andrew (285) placed second, and unattached freshman Dre-Son Scruggs (149) took third.

A pair of Wolverines enter the weekend currently ranked, as LaMont enters ranked as high as sixth by TrackWrestling and Romero is ranked 16th by both InterMat and FloWrestling.

About Fresno State

The Bulldogs recently resurrected their wrestling program after an 11-year hiatus, as it was previously discontinued following the 2005-06 season. Fresno State is off to a 3-10 overall start in 2017-18 and 0-3 in Big 12 duals. The Bulldogs hold wins over Bucknell, Cal Poly and San Francisco State. Fresno State posted a 1-5 outing at the Virginia Duals in Hampton, Virginia, last week with a 37-9 win over Bucknell and losses to No. 17 Lock Haven (25-13), No. 19 Virginia (29-15), Iowa State (25-16), Oklahoma (27-8) and Kent State (27-15).

Former Wolverine Khristian Olivas leads Fresno State on the season, as he holds a 20-3 record at 149 pounds. Freshman heavyweight AJ Nevills is next with a 23-3 mark.

Friday's contest will mark the first all-time meeting between the Wolverines and Bulldogs on the mat.

About CSU Bakersfield

The Roadrunners enter the weekend with a 4-7 overall record and a 0-1 clip in Pac-12 duals. CSUB holds wins over Big 12 foes Fresno State (30-7) and Northern Colorado (22-12), as well as Bucknell (26-10) and Buffalo (22-14). After dropping a dual at No. 23 Wyoming on Jan. 12, Bakersfield split two duals at Northern Colorado on Jan. 14, with a win over the Bears and a 25-17 setback to Duke.

A pair of 'Runners are currently ranked, as Colemand Hammond is ranked 13th at 157 pounds and Matt Williams is 14th at 197. Williams holds a team-best 23-5 overall record and an unblemished 11-0 mark in duals, while Hammond is 22-11 and 7-4.

Saturday's matchup will mark the fifth all-time meeting between the Wolverines and 'Runners. UVU and CSUB are deadlocked at 2-2 all-time after Utah Valley recorded a 21-17 win over the Roadrunners in Orem last season.

Up next for UVU

Following this weekend's contests, the Wolverines will return home for a Big 12 Conference dual against the Oklahoma Sooners on Friday, Feb. 2. The dual meet is scheduled for 7 p.m. MT, at UVU's Lockhart Arena, and will mark the first time the Sooners will have come to town in program history.

First NCAA Coaches' Panel Rankings released

On Thursday, the NCAA released the first Coaches Panel Rankings and three Wolverines made the cut. LaMont debuted at seventh at 125, while Romero is ranked 16th at 165 and the 2017 NCAA qualifier Dennison comes in at 26th at heavyweight.

James Warnick is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information about Wolverine athletics, visit GoUVU.com.