Wolverine Wrestlers Welcome No. 25 Wyoming
OREM, Utah - The Utah Valley University wrestling team will showcase its talents on the mat Saturday at 7 p.m. when it welcomes No. 25 Wyoming. A year ago the Cowboys, a fellow Western Wrestling Conference rival, won the WWC with a perfect 6-0 dual record, while the Wolverines finished second at 4-1.
UVU is 3-1 on the year and 1-0 in Western Wrestling Conference action so far this season, while the Cowboys are 6-4 and Saturday will mark Wyoming's first conference dual of the year. The dual will be televised live locally on UVU-TV with Mike Clapier on the play-by-play and former UVU wrestler Sam Allen will provide color commentary.
The Wolverines are coming off of an impressive showing last weekend at the annual Lone Star Duals in Arlington, Texas where they went 2-1. UVU defeated both Appalachian State (19-16) and The Citadel (18-15) but fell to the No. 15 Nebraska Cornhuskers, 22-12. In the head-to-head dual with the Huskers, the Wolverines won the first four bouts to take a 12-0 lead before Nebraska battled back and was able to come from behind for the win.
Last weekend the Wolverines were led by their four lightweight wrestler as seniors Benjamin Kjar (125 pounds), Flint Ray (133), Justin Morrill (141) and sophomore Josh Wilson (149) all went a perfect 3-0 in Texas.
Ray and Kjar have led UVU all season long, as the 2009-10 NCAA Qualifiers are currently nationally ranked 13th and 14th respectively. Ray is 15-1 so far during his senior campaign while Kjar is 18-4.
Wyoming will come to Orem off of a 2-1 performance on the mat last weekend as well. The Cowboys traveled to California and defeated Cal State Fullerton (41-6) and San Francisco State (33-9) but fell to No. 24 Cal Poly (18-16). All four of the Cowboys losses on the year have come by the hands of ranked opponents. Besides Cal Poly, UW has lost to No. 13 Oregon State (20-15), No. 16 Nebraska (20-12) and No. 17 Lehigh (25-9).
On the mat five individually ranked grapplers lead Wyoming. At 125 pounds Michael Martinez is ranked 18th, at 133 Tyler Cox is also 18th, 149-pounder Cole Dallaserra is 19th, 165-pounder Shane Onufer is 6th and two-time All-American Joe LeBlanc is 5th at 184 pounds.
Wyoming leads the all-time series against the Wolverines 5-1. UVU's lone win came back on Jan. 21, 2006 in Laramie, as UVU pulled out a 26-19 win. The last time these two met up in Orem on Feb. 13, 2009, UVU fell by just six points, 21-15.
Following Saturday's dual, UVU will have two weeks off before heading to Boise on Feb. 4, for a much-anticipated rematch with the No. 9 Boise State Broncos. A year ago the Wolverines toppled the then eighth-ranked Broncos by a 22-20 score.
Hometown Hero Night - Benjamin Kjar, Flint Ray & Justin Morrill / Pinnacle Security Green Match
*First 200 fans get a FREE Benjamin Kjar, Flint Ray & Justin Morrill Hometown Hero poster. Fans from Ben's (Centerville), Flint's (Roy) & Justin's (Logan) hometowns get in FREE (show ID at ticket table). Ben, Flint & Justin will sign autographs following the match. Also Pinnacle Security will be giving away $500 cash to a lucky UVU student that is in attendance.