Wrestling opens home slate Thursday versus Grand Canyon

WOLVERINEGREENDOTCOM Sophomore 157-pounder Chase Cuthbertson
Sophomore 157-pounder Chase Cuthbertson

Jan. 8, 2014

UVU Wrestling Notes | Live Video (Thurs.) | Live Results (Thurs.) | Live Results (Sat.)

OREM, Utah - After beginning the first two months of the season on the road, the Utah Valley University wrestling team will host its first home dual of the season on Thursday night against Grand Canyon. The home opener will begin at 7 p.m. in the PE Building.

"We're looking forward to beginning the home season on Thursday. Grand Canyon is a tough team and they're going to be solid throughout their lineup," head coach Greg Williams said. "We're excited to have them coming in for the first time and we're thrilled to be in action on our home mat and in front of our fans."

The Wolverines will also host the seventh annual UVU Open on Saturday. The open tournament will begin at 9 a.m. and will run until approximately 5 or 6 p.m.

"The UVU Open is a great event and we're excited about it. It's not too large, so it's a good opportunity for everybody to get three or four matches," Williams stated. "We get a good mix of Division I opponents as well as lower division schools, so everyone gets the chance to wrestle different levels. It's a good tournament that gets the guys the kind of matches that they need."

Live video for Thursday's dual will be available by visiting uvu.edu/uvutv, while live results can also be found at TrackWrestling.com. Live results for Saturday's Open can also be found at TrackWrestling.com.



The Wolverines are off to a 2-5 start in dual action but three of their five losses have come to teams ranked in the top 25 (No. 10 Nebraska, No. 18 Stanford and No. 24 Central Michigan). UVU's two wins came against Bakersfield (19-16) and Gardner-Webb (29-12), but it has not wrestled in a dual meet since November.

Utah Valley finished its 2012-13 season with a 6-4 overall record, a 3-2 clip in the Western Wrestling Conference and a 4-1 mark at home. UVU has gone 15-7 in dual meets at home over the past six seasons.

The Wolverines most recently wrestled at the Ken Kraft Midlands Championships that were held at Northwestern University on Dec. 29-30, and junior heavyweight Adam Fager and senior 174-pounder Montes Schmalhaus led the way as they both placed at the top-notch tournament. Fager went 4-2 at the tourney en route to a seventh-place finish in his weight class, while Schmalhaus took eighth after going 4-3 at 174 pounds.

Fager is leading is leading the way for the Wolverines on the season as he is ranked 13th in the nation at 285 pounds. The junior grappler also leads the squad in victories with 13 (13-6 overall record) and besides placing seventh at Midlands, Fager also took fourth at the prestigious Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invite in early December.

Sophomore 125-pounder Jade Rauser is also nationally ranked for UVU, as he comes in at 15th in the most recent InterMat rankings. Rauser holds a 3-1 record on the season but hasn't competed since mid November due to an injury. Sophomore 197-pounder Derek Thomas too is having a solid campaign as he is 10-11 overall. Thomas also had a strong showing at the Midlands Championships, as he advanced to the second day of the tourney but finished just one win shy of placement.

About Grand Canyon
Thursday will mark the first time that the Antelopes have been to Orem and will kick-off Grand Canyon week as both the men's and women's basketball teams will face GCU in WAC action on Saturday. The `Lope wrestling team is 4-3 overall and operating as a Division I Independent this season, as they are in their first year at the Div. I ranks after a very successful run at Div. II.

The `Lopes most recently hosted the GCU Duals in Phoenix last weekend and they went 2-2 with wins over MSU Moorhead (41-0) and Simon Fraser (34-9). Grand Canyon also holds victories on the season over Embry-Riddle (42-9) and Appalachian State (22-13).

Freshman 184-pounder Austin Gaun leads the `Lopes with a 16-9 record, while senior 174-pounder Martin Fabbian is right behind him at 15-10. In fact, all 10 of GCU's probable starters for Thursday's dual all have 10 or more victories on the season.

Thursday's contest between UVU and GCU will mark the second-ever meeting between the two schools on the wrestling mat. Utah Valley leads the all-time series 1-0 as it defeated the `Lopes, 33-12, on Jan. 26, 2008 at the Tracy Borah Duals in Gunnison, Colo. Former 125-pound All-American Benjamin Kjar picked up one of the wins for the Wolverines in that dual by fall.

About the UVU Open
Saturday's UVU Open will be contested on four mats at the PE Building and over 100 wrestlers are expected to compete at the day-long tournament. The Open will feature competitors from Utah Valley, Boise State, Grand Canyon, Northern Colorado, Wyoming, Colorado Mesa, Great Falls, Northwest College, Western Wyoming and more.

Registration is still open and those interested in competing can sign up at TrackWrestling.com.

Last year, Fager led the way for the Wolverines at the UVU Open by winning the heavyweight bracket. Four other wrestlers placed for Utah Valley, as Bracken Nipko took second at 125, Chasen Tolbert finished third at 133, and Sam Mecham (141) and Thomas (184) both finished fourth in their respective weight class.

Up Next for the Wolverines
UVU will head to Tempe, Ariz., to face Arizona State of the Pac-12 Conference on Jan. 18. The Wolverines will then take on another Pac-12 foe on Feb. 1 when Boise State comes to town. Utah Valley will then begin it conference season the following week as it will host South Dakota State on Feb. 6 and North Dakota State the following night.

"We've got some good matches coming up with Boise State as well as South Dakota State and North Dakota State coming here in the next month or so," Williams added. "All of those matches will be tough, but we're excited to show our crowd what we are capable of doing."

Thursday's Probable Matches
125: #15 Jade Rauser or Bracken Nipko (UVU) vs. A.J. Salazar (GCU)
133: Chasen Tolbert (UVU) vs. Lino Estrada (GCU)
141: Avery Garner (UVU) vs. Austin Solari (GCU)
149: Trevor Willson (UVU) vs. Mike Hamel (GCU)
157: Chase Cuthbertson or Logan Addis (UVU) vs. Gavin Ludwig (GCU)
165: Curtis Abner Cook (UVU) vs. Juan Carlos Maynes (GCU)
174: Monte Schmalhaus (UVU) vs. Martin Fabbian (GCU)
184: Ethan Smith (UVU) vs. Austin Gaun (GCU)
197: Derek Thomas (UVU) vs. Marcus Haughian (GCU)
285: #13 Adam Fager (UVU) vs. Peter Anguiano (GCU)