The Utah Valley University wrestling team concluded a perfect weekend trip with a 20-15 win at Pac-12 foe CSU Bakersfield on Saturday evening at the Icardo Center.
The Wolverines won six of the 10 bouts on the night, including two by bonus points, to improve to 7-3 on the season (3-1 Big 12). The Roadrunners dropped to 4-8 on the year with the setback (0-1 Pac-12).
Sixth-ranked Taylor LaMont (125 pounds), Matt Findlay (141), 16th-ranked Demetrius Romero (165), Kimball Bastian (174), Gary Jantzer (184) and 26th-ranked heavyweight Dustin Dennison picked up wins for UVU on the night.
"Bakersfield is a solid team that is good throughout their lineup, so we knew that it was going to be a tough battle," head UVU coach Greg Williams said. "It was a great match and I have a lot of respect for them (CSU Bakersfield) and the job they do here. But this was definitely a team win, and I'm proud of our guys for battling well."
With the contest opening up at 285 pounds, the Wolverines got off to another strong start thanks to back-to-back wins from 26th-ranked senior Dennison (285) and sixth-ranked redshirt freshman LaMont (125). After suffering a setback at Fresno State on Friday night, Dennison bounced back with an 8-2 decision over CSUB's Mark Penyacsek to tie a career high in victories by earning his 24th victory of the season (24-7). Leading by just a point entering the final period (4-3), LaMont then made his move by picking up an escape, a takedown and a four-point nearfall to defeat Bakersfield's 27th-ranked Sergio Mendez by major decision, 11-3, and give the Wolverines a 7-0 lead in the dual meet.
The 'Runners then bounced back by winning three of the next four bouts to take a 12-11 lead. Twenty-eighth ranked Sean Nickell started the spurt with an 8-0 major decision over Durbin Lloren at 133 pounds, and following a win from UVU 141-pound redshirt freshman Findlay, CSUB's Kalani Tonge (149) and No. 13 Coleman Hammond (157) responded with back-to-back wins over UVU's Matthew Ontiveros and Raider Lofthouse by respective scores of 6-4 and 20-2. Utah Valley's lone win during the stretch was a dominant 19-6 major decision from Findlay at 141 pounds.
Trailing 12-11 in the team score, 16th-ranked Romero once again got the Wolverines going with an 8-3 decision over Bakersfield's Jacob Thalin to give UVU a 14-12 lead in the dual. After a scoreless opening period, Romero made his move by recording an escape and a takedown to take a 3-0 lead. He then sealed the victory with two more takedowns and an additional riding time point in the final stanza to take the bout by a score of 8-3.
Romero's victory was the first of three-straight wins for the Wolverines, as sophomore 174-pounder Bastian and 184-pound redshirt freshman Jantzer both followed with wins of their own. Bastian added to UVU's lead with a hard-fought 5-3 win over Bryan Battisto to give Utah Valley a 17-12 advantage. With the contest tied at 2-2 in the third frame, Bastian picked up an escape point and a decisive takedown to seal the victory by two points. Jantzer then recorded a tightly-contested 3-2 victory over Dom Ducharme to lock up the dual victory for the Wolverines by taking a 20-12 lead with just one match to go. Deadlocked at 1-1 in the final period, Jantzer picked up the go-ahead takedown and managed to just give up an escape point late as he held on for the 3-2 win.
In the final match of the night that marked a rematch from last year's NCAA Championships, CSUB's 14th-ranked Matt Williams picked up the final win of the contest by defeating UVU sophomore 197-pounder Tanner Orndorff by a score of 10-8. Trailing 8-3 in the third, Orndorff responded with an escape and a pair of takedowns to make things close, but in the end Williams managed to hang on to win by two.
After going a perfect 2-0 on the weekend with wins over Big 12 opponent Fresno State and Pac-12 foe CSUB, the Wolverines now return home to host fellow Big 12 foe Oklahoma on Friday, Feb. 2, at UVU's Lockhart Arena. The Big 12 Conference dual meet begins at 7 p.m. MT, and will be televised locally on UVU TV.
James Warnick is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information about Wolverine athletics, visit GoUVU.com.