PITTSBURGH — Five Utah Valley University wrestlers all went 1-1 during Thursday's opening day of action to advance to Friday's third session at the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh.
After both 14th-seeded Kimball Bastian (174 pounds) and 15th-seeded Tate Orndorff (285) recorded opening-round wins on Thursday afternoon, the pair of Wolverines both fell to tough competition on Thursday evening to drop to the consolation side of the bracket. They are joined by fellow Wolverines in No. 20 Matt Findlay (141), No. 9 Demetrius Romero (165) and No. 19 Tanner Orndorff (197) in the consolations, after the trio of UVU grapplers all pulled out must-win matches in the wrestlebacks during Thursday's second session. Utah Valley's lone grappler to have his 2019 NCAA Championship come to a close on Thursday was senior and 20th-seeded Will Sumner (184).
"We didn't have the type of first round we were aiming for, but we were really happy that Kimball and Tate were able to win tight matches coming from behind against good opponents (in the first round)," head UVU coach Greg Williams said. "We felt that the guys responded well in the second round and are hoping to build on that momentum on Friday."
After recording a hard-fought 6-4 overtime victory over No. 19 Ethan Smith of Ohio State earlier in the day, Bastian (19-11) dropped his second-round match to the returning national champion and third-seeded Zahid Valencia (28-2) of ASU by a score of 16-5. The two-time All-American Valencia built a quick 7-2 lead at the end of the first period and upped it to 10-3 after two. The UVU two-time NCAA qualifier Bastian responded with a pair of escapes in the third, but it wasn't enough as Valencia went on to pull out the contest by major decision.
With the setback, Bastian now holds a 1-1 record at this year's championships and will drop to the consolation bracket to face No. 29 Joe Grello of Rutgers (17-10) on Friday morning.
After picking up a 6-4 come-from-behind win over three-time NCAA qualifier and No. 18 Joey Goodhart of Drexel in the first round, the first-time qualifier Tate Orndorff (25-8) then fell to No. 2 Anthony Cassar (27-1) of Penn State in round No. 2 by major decision. Tate Orndorff kept it close in the early stages as he gave up just a late takedown in period one to trail 2-0. The 2019 Big Ten champion Cassar then upped his advantage to 4-1 after two and went on to earn an escape, a pair of takedowns and a riding time point to pick up the major decision.
The 15th-seeded Tate Orndorff, who is in his first appearance at the NCAA Championships and currently holds a 1-1 record at the tournament, will now head to the wrestlebacks to face No. 17 David Jensen (16-8) of Nebraska in session No. 3.
After dropping a tightly contested opening bout to No. 13 Kyle Shoop of Lock Haven on Thursday afternoon, the 20th-seeded Findlay (15-3) responded by recording a 16-5 major decision over No. 29 Corey Shie (27-16) of Army in session No. 2. After getting taken down early, the sophomore Findlay responded at his first trip to nationals with an escape, takedown and a nearfall to take a 7-2 lead after one. Findlay then upped his lead to 10-4 with a second-period takedown and earned the major decision in the third with a pair of takedowns, an escape and 2 minutes of riding time to advance in the 141-pound consolation bracket.
Findlay, who too went 1-1 on the day, will now advance in the wrestlebacks to face No. 19 Sa'Derian Perry of Old Dominion on Friday.
Following a first-round loss to No. 24 Cael McCormick of Army earlier in the day, UVU's first Big 12 Conference champion and ninth-seeded Romero bounced back with a 5-2 victory over No. 25 Cam Coy of Virginia on Thursday night to avoid elimination. After a quick takedown by Romero in the opening period, Coy responded with an escape and a penalty point to tie the match at 2-2 at the end of the first period. The Utah Valley two-time NCAA qualifier then managed to pick up a stall point in the second while riding Coy out to hold a 3-2 lead entering the third. Romero then capped the bout with an escape and an additional riding time point to take the bout over the UVA freshman by a score of 5-2.
Romero now advances on in the wrestlebacks and will face a familiar foe in Spanish Fork, Utah, native and 10th-seeded Branson Ashworth (34-6) of Wyoming on Friday.
Three-time UVU national qualifier and 19th-seeded Tanner Orndorff (19-13) too avoided elimination with a dominant 10-1 major decision over No. 30 Jacob Seely (14-12) of Northern Colorado on Thursday night. After dropping an 11-5 contest to No. 14 Eric Schultz of Nebraska earlier in the day, Tanner Orndorff responded with four takedowns, a penalty point and over four minutes of riding time to record his second win of the season over UNC's Seely.
Tanner Orndorff is Utah Valley's fifth grappler to advance to Day Two, as he'll face No. 13 Malik McDonald (19-10) on Friday morning.
The five Wolverines advancing to Day Two marks a program high for UVU.
After falling to No. 13 Nino Bonaccorsi of Pitt in his inaugural NCAA Championship match earlier on Thursday, the UVU senior 184-pounder and 20th-seeded Sumner (21-13) had his collegiate career come to a close with an 8-5 setback to No. 29 Will Schany (14-16) of Virginia. With Sumner trailing 7-1 late in the contest, the UVU senior managed to record an escape, a stall point and a takedown to make things interesting. But the two-time UVA NCAA qualifier Schany held on and was awarded a riding time point to take the bout, 8-5.
Sumner, who recorded a career-high 21 wins during his senior season, finishes his collegiate career with a solid 58-50 career record in a Wolverine singlet.
As a team, UVU sits in 32nd place out of 70 teams with 5.5 team points. Penn State leads the event with 32.5 points.
The NCAA Wrestling Championships will continue on Friday at 9 a.m. MT/11 a.m. ET with the event's third session. The session will be televised live on ESPNU. The tournament will then continue on Friday evening with the fourth session at 6 p.m. MT/8 p.m. ET and will conclude with the championship final on Saturday at 5 p.m. MT/7 p.m. ET.
UTAH VALLEY'S 2019 NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP RESULTS
141 – #20 Matt Findlay (1-1)
#13 Kyle Shoop (Lock Haven) DEC #20 Matt Findlay, 8-7
#20 Matt Findlay MD #29 Corey Shie (Army), 16-5
165 – #9 Demetrius Romero (1-1)
#24 Cael McCormick (Army) FALL #9 Demetrius Romero, 2:28
#9 Demetrius Romoer DEC #25 Cam Coy (Virginia), 5-2
174 – #14 Kimball Bastian (1-1)Comment on this story
#14 Kimball Bastian DEC #19 Ethan Smith (Ohio State), 6-4 (TB-1)
#3 Zahid Valencia (ASU) MD #14 Kimball Bastian, 16-5
184 – #20 Will Sumner (0-2)
#13 Nino Bonaccorsi (Pitt) DEC #20 Will Sumner, 11-4
#29 Will Schany (Virginia) DEC #20 Will Sumner, 8-5
197 – #19 Tanner Orndorff (1-1)
#14 Eric Schultz (Nebraska) DEC #19 Tanner Orndorff, 11-5
#19 Tanner Orndorff MD #30 Jacob Seely (N. Colorado), 10-1
285 – #15 Tate Orndorff (1-1)
#15 Tate Orndorff DEC #18 Joey Goodhart (Drexel), 6-4
#2 Anthony Cassar (Penn State) MD #15 Tate Orndorff, 10-2