The Utah Valley University wrestling team opened its 2016-17 dual season by splitting a pair of dual meets on Friday at West Gym in Cedar Falls, Iowa. The Wolverines picked up a 35-6 victory over No. 6 Nebraska-Kearney (NCAA Division II) before falling to the host and 23rd-ranked Northern Iowa Panthers by a score of 24-12 in the nightcap.
UVU (1-1) won nine of the 10 bouts — including five by bonus points — en route to earning the dominant victory over Division II power UNK (0-2), before capping the day with three of the 10 wins in the 24-12 setback to UNI (2-0).
"We have a fairly young team so these early matches are about progressing in some areas that will be important for our guys' future success against top competition. We felt good about some situations that we improved on from last week," head UVU coach Greg Williams said. "We were dominant against a very good Division II school (UNK). Then we struggled a bit against a ranked Division I program (UNI).
"Overall our staff is pleased with our progress and how our guys are fighting. We need them to keep working hard and we know they will continue to progress."
Redshirt sophomore Mitch Brown (125 pounds), freshman Koy Wilkinson (165) and redshirt freshman Tanner Orndoff (197) led the way for the Wolverines, as each won both of their respective matches on the day. In the first varsity dual action for all three Utah Valley grapplers, Orndorff topped the group by recording a pair of bonus-point wins (fall and technical fall), while Brown earned wins by major decision and decision and Wilkinson won both of his bouts by decision.
In the opener against the Lopers, Orndorff pulled out a 17-2 technical fall over Corey Van Dorn before closing his day's work with a 4:14 fall over UNI's Jared Bartel. Brown got the Wolverines off to a strong start against UNK by earning a 15-5 major decision over Vlad Kazakov before picking up a 7-3 decision over UNI's Jay Schwarm, while Wilkinson defeated Nebraska-Kearney's Richie Miranda and Northern Iowa's Paden Moore by respective scores of 8-4 and 8-5.
Juniors Jarod Maynes (133) and Dustin Dennison (heavyweight), redshirt freshmen Grant LaMont (149) and Kimball Bastian (174) and sophomores Raider Lofthouse (157) and Will Sumner (184) too recorded victories for UVU in the opener against the Lopers. LaMont led the group by pinning UNK's Walker Johnson in 1:10 seconds, while Lofthouse (11-3) and Bastian (14-5) both earned major decision victories over their respective foes. Maynes (10-6), Sumner (3-2) and Dennison (8-6, SV-1) each won their bouts via decision.
The Wolverines will cap the trip by heading to Ames, Iowa, to compete at fellow Big 12 foe Iowa State's Harold Nichols Cyclone Open on Sunday. The all-day open tournament begins at 9 a.m. CT, at ISU's Hilton Coliseum and will feature live results by visiting TrackWrestling.
James Warnick is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information about Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.