W. Randy Martin
Utah Valley redshirt freshman Tate Orndorff looks to pin David Jensen of Nebraska at the NCAA Wrestling Championships in Pittsburgh last month. Over the weekend, Orndorff led the way by placing in both Greco-Roman (second) and freestyle (sixth) at the U.S. Open in Las Vegas.

LAS VEGAS — Utah Valley University redshirt freshman Tate Orndorff recorded a pair of podium finishes at the 2019 Marine Corps U.S. Open National Championship to lead the way for the Utah Valley Regional Training Center at the event.

Orndorff, who qualified for his first trip to the NCAAs during the 2018-19 campaign as well as posted a third-place finish at the Big 12 Championships, wrestled his way to a runner-up finish at the U.S. Open in Greco-Roman and a sixth-place finish in freestyle. Wrestling in both styles at the U.S. Open is a rare feat, and the last to do it was Adam Coon of Michigan last spring.

In the senior men's Greco-Roman tournament, Orndorff wrestled his way to a 3-1 record on his way to posting the second-place finish at 130 kilos. He opened the Greco event with a 12-0 victory over Brandon Metz of North Dakota State and followed that up with an 8-0 victory over three-time U.S. Beach Wrestling national team member Ike Okoli of Inland Northwest Wrestling Training Center in the quarterfinals. Orndorff then followed that up with a hard-fought 4-2 win over West Cathcart of Northern Michigan to advance to the finals. In the title bout, Orndorff then found himself on the wrong end of a 7-0 contest to former CSU Pueblo grappler Jacob Mitchell to finish second.

In freestyle, Orndorff became a dual All-American in the prestigious tournament by taking sixth in freestyle at 125 kilos with a 4-3 outing. He opened the freestyle event with a 5-0 victory over four-time NCAA qualifier Garrett Ryan of Columbia and followed that up with a 4-0 win over James Romero of Adams State. After suffering a 10-0 setback to three-time All-American Adam Coon of Michigan in the quarters, Orndorff then responded with a 10-0 win over Christian Lance of Nebraska as well as another win over Ryan (11-6) to reach the consolation semis. After suffering a 10-0 loss to two-time Missouri All-American and current Team USA member Dom Bradley, he then faced Youssif Hemida of Maryland in the fifth-place bout. In a rematch from the NCAA Championships last month, Hemida got the best of Orndorff by defeating him 8-0 to finish Orndorff's impressive U.S. Open outing with a sixth-place finish in freestyle.

Two other Wolverine grapplers placed at the U.S. Open, as Taylor LaMont posted a fifth-place finish at 60 kilos in Greco and Dylan Gregerson placed seventh at 63 kilos in Greco.

In his first action since having knee surgery last fall, the 2018 NCAA qualifier and UVU sophomore LaMont wrestled his way to a fifth-place finish in senior men's Greco with a 4-2 outing. LaMont started his tournament with an 8-0 win over Devin Hester of the Marines before suffering a 7-2 setback to Leslie Fuenffinger of Army in the quarters. In the consolation rounds, LaMont then won two straight with a 10-0 win over Jon Massey of Northern Michigan and a 10-1 victory over Joshua Wright of Williams Baptist. After falling 5-3 to Randon Miranda of Northern Michigan in the consolation semis, LaMont then responded by defeating Big 12 foe Matthew Schmitt of West Virginia (4-4, VPO1) to place fifth.

The freshman Gregerson also placed at the event by finishing seventh at 63 kilos in senior men's Greco with a 3-2 record. After going 1-1 in the championship bracket, Gregerson then picked up a 10-0 win over Reid Johnson of Wisconsin-La Crosse before dropping a 4-0 setback to Nathan Cervantez of San Francisco State to enter the seventh-place bout. Gregerson then finished his tournament with a seventh-place finish by earning a hard-fought 10-8 win over Christopher Anderson of Williams Baptist.

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With the podium finishes, Orndorff, LaMont and Gregerson have now qualified for the Senior World Team Trials Challenge Tournament that will take place May 16-19 in Raleigh, North Carolina. The winners of that tournament will then compete in the Final X Tournament against the U.S. Open champion or returning World medalist on June 8 at Rutgers or June 15 at Nebraska.

Three-time UVU NCAA qualifier Tanner Orndorff also competed at the U.S. Open in senior men's freestyle and wrestled his way to a 3-2 outing at 86 kilos. Freshmen Will Edelblute and Jayden Woodruff competed on the weekend. Edelblute went 0-2 in UWW junior Greco and 2-2 in UWW junior freestyle, while Woodruff posted a 1-1 record in UWW junior freestyle before having to withdraw due to injury.

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