The 22nd-ranked Utah Valley University wrestling team found itself on the wrong end of a pair of dual meets to top-10 opponents on Sunday at the South Beach Duals as it fell to No. 7 NC State, 23-11, and No. 9 Minnesota, 36-6.
With the setbacks, UVU falls to 6-5 on the season, while the ACC Wolfpack improves to 8-1 and the Big Ten Golden Gophers improve to 7-1 with their victories. Utah Valley finished the tough South Beach Duals with a 1-3 showing after earning a dominant 28-11 win over No. 13 Purdue, as well as a tightly contested 26-19 setback to Virginia on Saturday.
Eighth-ranked Demetrius Romero (165 pounds) and 13th-ranked Tanner Orndorff (197) led UVU on the day by each winning both of their matches, while Orndorff and No. 10 Matt Findlay (141) both claimed wins over ranked foes. Romero was the lone Wolverine to go a perfect 4-0 this weekend.
The seventh-ranked Wolfpack got off to a fast start in the opening dual of the day by winning four of the first five matches to jump out to a 17-3 lead. UVU's lone win during the stretch was a hard-fought 5-3 decision from No. 10 Findlay over No. 15 Jamal Morris at 141 pounds. With Findlay trailing the fellow ranked foe, 2-1, at the end of the first period, the Wolverine sophomore made his move with a four-point second period to take a 5-1 advantage. The NC State two-time NCAA qualifier then bounced back with a penalty point in the final stanza, but Findlay managed to hold on to earn the 5-3 victory and get the Wolverines on the scoreboard.
UVU bounced back with back-to-back decision victories from No. 8 Romero at 165 and No. 17 Kimball Bastian at 174 to make it 17-9. Romero took care of business against NC State's Thomas Bullard via an 8-4 decision, while Bastian recorded an escape and a takedown in the final stanza to pull out a 3-2 come-from-behind win over Daniel Bullard to pull the Wolverines within eight in the team score.
At 184 pounds, No. 23 Will Sumner then managed to overcome a 6-0 deficit and battle all the way back against the former NCAA qualifier and fourth-ranked Nick Reenan, but in the end Reenan secured a couple of late takedowns to claim the bout by a score of 12-7 and extend NC State's lead to 20-9. Following the bout, one team point was deducted from Utah Valley for loss of mat control to make it 20-8. The team penalty marked the second of the dual, as NCSU previously had one team point deducted from its score for the same thing.
Two-time UVU NCAA qualifier and 13th-ranked Tanner Orndorff then responded for the Wolverines by pulling out a hard-fought 12-10 decision over fellow NCAA qualifier and 16-ranked Malik McDonald at 197. With Orndorff trailing 10-9 in the final period, the Wolverine junior made his move by picking up an escape to tie it followed by a go-ahead takedown to secure the victory over the ranked opponent. The win pulled the Wolverines to within 20-11 with one match remaining.
In the final bout of the contest, Ashton Seely bumped up a weight class to wrestle at heavyweight for the Wolverines. Trailing 4-0 to NCSU heavyweight Deonte Wilson, Seely then managed to turn the heavier opponent for a four-point nearfall early in the third period to tie things up. Wilson later responded, however, with a two-point reversal along with a riding time point to claim the bout 7-4 and seal the victory for the Wolfpack at 23-11.
After dropping the first two matches in the nightcap by technical fall to a pair of Golden Gopher All-Americans, No. 10 Findlay then found himself locked in a battle with two-time NCAA qualifier and No. 5 Mitch McKee at 141 pounds. Findlay held the upper hand early up 5-2, but back answered McKee to tie things up at 6-6 early in the third period. The higher ranked Minnesota grappler then recorded a late go-ahead takedown followed by a two-point nearfall and a riding time point to pull out the tightly contested match by a score of 11-6 and give the Gophers a 13-0 lead in the team score. The setback marked Findlay's first of the season.
The ninth-ranked Gophers continued to hold the upper hand by pulling out a major decision victory at 149 followed by a win via injury default at 157 to take a 23-0 advantage. With Grant LaMont trailing No. 11 Steve Bleise, 3-1, in the third period, Bleise managed to take LaMont down and in the process injured LaMont as Bleise went on to score an injury default win over the Wolverine junior.
The eighth-ranked Romero then got the Wolverines on the scoreboard after pulling out a thrilling come-from-behind overtime win over Carson Brolsma at 165 pounds. Trailing by a score of 7-1 entering the final period, Romero then recorded an escape followed by four third-period takedowns, which included three in the final 35 seconds, to send the bout to overtime. The 2018 Wolverine NCAA qualifier then continued to be the aggressor as he quickly took Brolsma down in the first sudden victory period to earn a hard-fought 12-10 overtime win and pull the Wolverines within 23-3 in the dual.
Two-time NCAA qualifier and 15th-ranked Devin Skatzka then responded for the Gophers with a 13-4 major decision win over No. 17 Bastian at 174 to extend Minnesota's lead to 27-3. Skatzka picked up an early takedown followed by a four-point nearfall and managed to hold on the rest of the way to earn the win over the UVU 2018 NCAA qualifier and lock up the dual for the Golden Gophers. The 2018 Minnesota NCAA qualifier Brandon Krone then added to the Gophers' lead by holding on late for a 12-8 decision over No. 23 Sumner at 184 to make it 30-3.
Thirteenth-ranked Tanner Orndorff responded for Utah Valley by earning a 5-4 win at 197 pounds with a big third period. Trailing Minnesota's Rylee Streifel by a score of 3-1 entering the final stanza, Orndorff then scored a quick reversal to tie the score. The Wolverine two-time NCAA qualifier then rode Streifel long enough to get the riding time advantage less than one minute, but Streifel managed to escape his hold late to take a 4-3 lead. Orndorff then secured a go-ahead takedown late in the contest to claim the bout by a score of 5-4 and win his second match of the day.
Minnesota's second-ranked Gable Steveson concluded the dual by claiming a win via forfeit in the final match of the day.Comment on this story
On Saturday, the 22nd-ranked Wolverines managed to pull out a dominant 28-11 upset win over No. 13 Purdue of the Big Ten Conference. The victory marked just UVU's third win in program history over Big Ten foe and its second of the season over a ranked opponent.
Utah Valley will next head to Palo Alto, California, for the Stanford Duals that will be held on Saturday, Jan. 12. There, UVU will face the Harvard Crimson at 11:30 a.m. MT, before closing the day against the host Stanford Cardinal at 1 p.m. The Wolverines will then follow the event by hosting their first home action of the season on Friday, Jan. 18, when they welcome fellow Big 12 foe Fresno State and Western Wyoming to town for a pair of duals.