UVU to face stiff competition at this weekend's CKLV Invite

WOLVERINEGREENDOTCOM Sophomore 149-pounder Trevor Willson
Sophomore 149-pounder Trevor Willson

Dec. 5, 2013

UVU Tournament Notes | Live Video | Live Results

OREM, Utah - The Utah Valley University wrestling team will step away from dual competition this weekend to head to Las Vegas, Nev., for the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational which is traditionally dubbed as one of the largest and toughest tournaments of the season. The 32nd annual CKLV Invite will take place Dec. 6-7 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Live video for the tournament can be followed by visiting FloWrestling.org (subscription-based service) and live results can also by found at CKLVwrestle.com. A live blog of all of the action can also be accessed at IntermatWrestle.com.

Friday's opening session will begin at 9 a.m. (all times listed in PT) while the quarterfinals as well as a couple of consolations rounds will take place that night at 6 p.m. Action will pick back up on Saturday morning at 9 a.m. for the consolation rounds, while the semifinals will start at 10 a.m. The finals will then begin on Saturday at 3 p.m.

This year's tournament field is stacked with talent, as 12 of the country's Top 25 teams will be competing: Oklahoma (4), Cornell (6), Ohio State (8), Nebraska (10), Northern Iowa (12), Virginia (13), Virginia Tech (14), Iowa State (16), Purdue (19), Oregon State (20), Michigan (20) and Boise State (25). Individually, 75 wrestlers that are currently ranked in the Top 20 by Amateur Wrestling News will also be in attendance.



Overall, wrestlers from 33 teams will be competing at the two-day tournament. The Western Wrestling Conference will represent three of those teams this year, as Air Force, Wyoming and Utah Valley will all be taking part at the event.

The CKLV Invite will mark the first tournament of the season for four of UVU's nine wrestlers that will be competing at the event. Seniors Avery Garner (141 pounds), and Monte Schmalhaus (174) as well as juniors Ethan Smith (184) and Adam Fager (heavyweight) have previously only taken part in dual action so far this season.

Fager, the reigning WWC Wrestler of the Week, and Garner lead the nine Wolverines that will be in competition this weekend with identical 5-2 records, while Smith is next at 4-3. Sophomore 125-pounder Jade Rauser, who is currently ranked 15th by InterMat, is 3-1 overall but will miss the tournament due to an injury.

As a team, UVU is 2-5 in duals on the season with wins over Bakersfield and Gardner-Webb. At the Stanford Duals last weekend, the Wolverines almost took down the 18th-ranked Cardinal as they fell to the home team by just four points (20-16). In all, three of Utah Valley's losses have been to nationally ranked opponents (No. 10 Nebraska, No. 18 Stanford and No. 24 Central Michigan).

Last season, Rauser led UVU by placing eighth at the prestigious CKLV Invite. The then redshirt freshman topped Boise State's Rami Haddadin by fall and the No. 3 seed and 13th-ranked Sean Boyle from Michigan to reach the quarterfinals. After a decision victory over North Idaho's Brock Banta on Saturday morning, Rauser who was very ill at the time took back-to-back medical forfeits in his final two bouts to take eighth.

The placement by Rauser last season marked the fifth consecutive season that Utah Valley has had at least one wrestler finish in the top eight at the prestigious tournament as Josh Wilson (149) finished fifth in 2011 and Benjamin Kjar (125) took seventh in both 2010 and 2009 and eighth in 2008. Flint Ray (133) also placed eighth for the Wolverines in 2009.

Up Next for the Wolverines
Following this weekend's tournament, UVU will be off until the end of the month when it will head to Evanston, Ill., for the Midlands Championships. The big-time mid-season tournament will take place Dec. 29-30 at Northwestern's Welsh-Ryan Arena.

UVU's CKLV Invite Lineup
125: Bracken Nipko, RFr. (5-6)
133: Chasen Tolbert, So. (3-4)
141: Avery Garner, Sr. (5-2)
149: Trevor Willson, So. (2-6)
157: Logan Addis, So. (1-7)
165: Open
174: Monte Schmalhaus, Sr. (0-2)
184: Ethan Smith, Jr. (4-3)
197: Derek Thomas, So. (5-7)
285: Adam Fager, Jr. (5-2)