Fresh off a strong showing at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational last week, the Utah Valley University wrestling team returns to dual action at rival Boise State on Saturday evening in Boise, Idaho. The Big 12 vs. Pac-12 showdown will begin at 7 p.m., at BSU's Bronco Gym.
UVU (1-1, 0-0 Big 12) enters Saturday's dual meet off a 19th-place finish out of 35 teams with a total of 28.5 points at the CKLV Invite last weekend in Las Vegas. With the top-20 finish, Utah Valley finished ahead of fellow Big 12 opponents Air Force (21st) and West Virginia (28th), as well as Pac-12 foes Cal Poly (24th) and Boise State (30th).
Redshirt freshmen Kimball Bastian (174 pounds) and Tanner Orndorff (197) led the way for the Wolverines last weekend by both placing in the top eight at the prestigious event. Bastian went 4-2 at the tournament en route to earning a seventh-place finish, while Orndorff finished with a 3-3 ledger and an eighth-place showing.
The two place winners at the CKLV Invitational marked UVU's first since the 2013-14 season and also matched a program best from the 2009-10 campaign when All-American Benjamin Kjar (125) took seventh and Flint Ray placed eighth (133).
Fellow Wolverine Will Sumner also had a strong showing for Utah Valley last week, as he too advanced to the tournament's second day of action and finished his 2016 CKLV Invite run just one win shy of placing. The sophomore 184-pounder went 2-2 at his inaugural Las Vegas Invitational appearance with a pair of dual victories, which included one over Boise State's Kaydn Del Toro (4-1). Sumner, Bastian and Orndorff won their first two respective matches last week to reach the tournament's quarterfinal round. The three Wolverines in the quarterfinals marked a program high for UVU.
Bastian enters rankings for first time
With his seventh-place finish and his 4-2 outing, Bastian entered the top 20 national rankings for the first time in his career this week, as he'll enter Saturday's dual ranked 20th by FloWrestling at 174 pounds. The Wolverine 174-pounder recorded wins over Air Force's Michael Billingsley (4-3), Wisconsin's Ryan Christensen (9-4), Cal Baptist's Nolan Kistler (injury default) and Minnesota's 14th-ranked Nick Wanzek (medical forfeit) in the seventh-place bout. With his four victories, Bastian now holds a team-best 12-6 record on the season.
UVU in dual action
Utah Valley enters Saturday's contest with a 1-1 dual record after splitting a pair of matches against Nebraska-Kearney (35-6) and No. 23 Northern Iowa (12-24) at the UNI Duals on Nov. 11, in Cedar Falls, Iowa. UVU won nine of the 10 bouts against the Division II power UNK Lopers before dropping seven of the 10 to the nationally ranked Panthers on their home mat. Mitch Brown (125), Koy Wilkinson (165) and Orndorff (197) led the way for UVU that day by each winning both of their dual matches.
About the opposition
Boise State enters Saturday's matchup with a 0-1 dual record (0-0 Pac-12) after dropping a tightly-contested 20-17 decision to Purdue on Nov. 18, in Palo Alto, California. The Broncos won four of the six matches on the night to finish just short of defeating the Big Ten Boilermakers. BSU also recently finished 30th out of 35 teams at the 2016 CKLV Invite with 13.5 total points and went 3-9 a season ago and 1-4 in Pac-12 action.
Senior 174-pounder Austin Dewey paces the Broncos on the season with an 11-5 record, while redshirt freshman 165-pounder Demetrius Romero holds a 10-4 clip. Dewey and junior 133-pounder Josh Newberg led BSU at the CKLV Invite last weekend by each going 2-2 at the premier tournament.
All-time series vs. Boise State
Saturday's matchup will mark the 11th all-time meeting between the Wolverines and Broncos. BSU holds a slight 6-4 series advantage, but the Broncos have never lost to the Wolverines on their home mat, as they hold an unblemished 4-0 record over UVU.
Up next for UVU
Utah Valley will return to Orem for its 2016-17 home opener against fellow Pac-12 foe Oregon State on Thursday, Dec. 15. The Big 12 vs. Pac-12 showdown begins at 7 p.m., at UVU's PE Building.
James Warnick is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information about Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.