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UVU wrestling: Utah Valley announces competitive 2018-19 schedule

Utah Valley junior 197-pounder Tanner Orndorff yells in excitement. He is one of UVU's four returning NCAA qualifiers back for the Wolverines in 2018-19.
Utah Valley junior 197-pounder Tanner Orndorff yells in excitement. He is one of UVU's four returning NCAA qualifiers back for the Wolverines in 2018-19.
UVU Athletics

Utah Valley University head wrestling coach Greg Williams has announced his team's 2018-19 schedule, and it features a highly-competitive slate that includes dual meets against 12 perennial top-25 programs, as well as home matches against West Virginia, Wyoming, Northern Iowa, Fresno State, CSU Bakersfield and Western Wyoming.

The Wolverines will also take on nine teams that finished the 2017-18 campaign ranked in the final NWCA/USA Today Top 25 Coaches Poll in 2018-19, as well as 13 of the final top-35 teams from the 2018 NCAA Championships.

"We are excited about the challenging schedule we have been able to set up for our program," Williams said. "We have a very talented team and feel that we are ready to make this step in preparing our guys for a successful run at the NCAA tournament this year."

After the annual UVU Green and Black Intrasquad Dual on Nov. 1, at Lockhart Arena, Utah Valley will officially open its 2018-19 campaign at the Journeyman Duals on Nov. 10, in Albany, New York. The Wolverines will face a pair of Big Ten schools at the event in Nebraska and Rutgers, as well as Niagara. The following day, Nov. 11, the Wolverines will take part at the Journeyman Open, before heading to DeKalb, Illinois, and on to Madison, Wisconsin, the following weekend. In DeKalb, UVU will face a trio of foes at the NIU Duals in Northern Illinois, Clarion and Tiffin, before closing the weekend with a Sunday afternoon contest at Wisconsin.

Following the Thanksgiving holiday, Utah Valley will head to Las Vegas for the annual Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational on Nov. 30-Dec. 1. A year ago, Taylor LaMont became the first Wolverine grappler in program history to win the prestigious tournament after going a perfect 6-0. Prior to Christmas, a few Wolverines will head to Reno to compete at the Reno Tournament of Champions on Dec. 16, before closing the calendar year at the South Beach Duals on Dec. 29-30, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. There, UVU will face four tough foes in NC State, Minnesota, Purdue and Virginia.

Utah Valley will then host its first official home contest of 2018-19 on Thursday, Jan. 10, when Western Wyoming comes to town for a dual meet. That weekend, UVU will return to the road for duals against Ivy League foe Harvard and Pac-12 foe Stanford on Jan. 12, in Palo Alto, California. The following week, the Wolverines will return home to open Big 12 Conference action against Fresno State on Jan. 18, before hosting the annual UVU Open on Jan. 19.

UVU will remain home on Jan. 25, for a pair of duals against West Virginia and CSU Bakersfield. That evening, the Wolverines will first host the Big 12 Mountaineers before taking on the Pac-12 Roadrunners in the nightcap. Utah Valley will then hit the road the very next week for Big 12 duals at South Dakota State, North Dakota State and Iowa State. UVU will first face the Jackrabbits in Brookings on Jan. 31, before taking on the Bison in Fargo on Feb. 1 and the Cyclones in Ames on Feb. 3.

The Wolverines will then host their final two home duals of the season on Feb. 8 and 9, when fellow Big 12 affiliates Wyoming and Northern Iowa will visit Orem, respectively. Utah Valley will then close its 2018-19 regular season at Northern Colorado on Feb. 15 and at Air Force on Feb. 16. The Big 12 Championships will be held March 9-10, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, while the 2019 NCAA Championships will take place on March 21-23, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

In all, UVU is scheduled to compete in a program-high 24 dual meets in 2018-19, with nine of those being Big 12 competitions.

The Wolverines had a breakout year a season a year ago where they went 8-6 overall, 4-4 in Big 12 action and earned their first top-25 team ranking in program history. Utah Valley also sent a program-best five wrestlers to nationals in 2017-18 and will welcome four of the five returning national qualifiers back this year.