UVU Wrestling Heads to
Illinois for Midlands Championships
OREM, Utah — The Utah Valley University wrestling team
will send five of its grapplers to the 50th annual Ken
Kraft Midlands Championships in Evanston, Ill., on Dec.
Midlands is known as one of the toughest wrestling
tournaments of the season and is hosted by Northwestern
University. The tournament will take place at NU's
Welsh-Ryan Arena and Sunday's finals will be televised
live at 6 p.m. MT on the Big Ten Network. The tournament
will get underway on Saturday at 8:30 a.m. MT.
Midlands annually features some of the top programs in the
country and the 2012 edition is no different. Of the 32
Division I teams competing this year, 14 of them placed in
the top-25 at the 2012 NCAA Championships and 15 are
currently ranked in the latest USA Today/NWCA/AWN Division
I Coaches Poll. The ranked teams in this year's field are:
No. 6 Illinois, No. 9 Central Michigan, No. 10 Oregon
State, No. 11 Virginia Tech, No. 12 Michigan, No. 13
Pittsburgh, No. 14 Oklahoma, No. 15 Northwestern, No. 17
Nebraska, No. 18 Edinboro (tie), No. 18 Maryland (tie),
No. 21 Purdue, No. 22 Penn, No. 23 Wisconsin and No. 25
The five grapplers from UVU that will compete at the
tournament will be redshirt freshmen and twin brothers
Jade Rauser (125 pounds) and Val Rauser (133), senior Josh
Wilson (149), sophomore Ethan Smith (157) and junior Abner
The Wolverines competed at the Midlands Championships last
season and Wilson led UVU by placing sixth at the
prestigious tournament. Wilson went 4-3 against stiff
competition en route to his sixth-place finish.
UVU junior Avery Garner (141) also wrestled well for UVU
last year at the tournament by going 3-2 and finishing
just one victory shy of placement. His two losses came to
the then No. 1 and No. 2 ranked wrestlers in the nation in
Iowa's Montell Marion and Penn's Zack Kemmerer.
The Wolverines last competed at the Reno Tournament of
Champions on Dec. 16 in Reno, Nev., and sophomore David
Prieto (197) led the way by placing fourth. Prieto had a
solid outing by going 5-2 at the one-day tournament.
Garner too fared well as he finished 4-2 and just missed
out on placing.
Following the Midlands Championships, UVU (1-1) will
return home to begin its Western Wrestling Conference dual
season by welcoming No. 16 Wyoming to the PE Building on
Jan. 4. The Wolverines will then host the sixth annual UVU
Open the following day.