Feb. 14, 2012
OREM, Utah -- After a busy and eventful weekend, the Utah Valley wrestling squad hits the road for its regular season finale, a Western Wrestling Conference clash at Northern Colorado Wednesday at 7 p.m. The Bears are currently ranked fourth in the WWC standings while UVU occupies the sixth spot.
The Wolverines (6-9, 1-4 WWC) wrestled in three home duals over a two night span last weekend, splitting a doubleheader with conference foes South Dakota State and North Dakota State Friday night, then welcoming second-ranked and defending national champion Penn State to the UCCU Center on Saturday night.
In the match with SDSU, UVU jumped out to quick 15-6 advantage behind a trio of decisions from Josh Wilson (149 pounds), Monte Schmalhaus (174), and David Prieto (184), and a pin from Ethan Smith (165). But the Jackrabbits reeled off 12 consecutive points to take an 18-15 lead with two bouts remaining. Blake Mangum's 3-1 decision in the 133-pound division tied the dual, and Avery Garner (141) secured the win with a 10-6 decision over Dustin Walraven.
The Wolverines got solid performances from Wilson (fall), Mangum (dec.) and 197-pounder Brian Chamberlain (dec.) against NDSU, but ultimately fell to the Bison 24-18.
Saturday's dual with Penn State attracted 5, 470 fans to the UCCU Center, the largest crowd in program history. Mangum won his third consecutive bout of the weekend and fifth straight overall, securing a 3-1 win over the Nittany Lions' Frank Martelloti. Chamberlain turned in a gutsy effort as well, coming up just short against No. 12 Morgan McIntosh in a 4-3 decision. In the end, Penn State won the dual 39-3.
Wilson, ranked 15th nationally in his weight class, has been UVU's most consistent performer, compiling a 16-8 overall record to go along with an 8-4 mark in duals. Mangum has registered a 9-3 record while Garner, Smith, and Colby Christensen
(125) all stand with 18-13 overall records.
Northern Colorado (5-6, 2-2 WWC) is coming off a weekend sweep of NDSU and SDSU, defeating the Bison 22-21 after a tiebreaker then rolled to a 27-15 win over the Jacks later that night.
Senior Gabe Burak, ranked 10th in the 165-pound class, is the top wrestler for UNC with a 17-2 overall record and 10-2 dual record. Casey Cruz, another senior, is 14-7 on the year for the Bears with an 8-3 dual mark. Burak and Cruz, along with Sam Bauer (133), Justin Gonzales (149), Nick Bayer (197), and Henry Chirino (285) all picked up wins in both matches last weekend.
The NCAA West Regional, which doubles as the WWC Championships, begins March 4 in Cedar Falls, Iowa. The regional will help decide what wrestlers qualify for the NCAA Championships, which will begin March 15 in St. Louis, Mo.