FARGO, N.D. – The Utah Valley University wrestling team fell in its season finale 25-10 at North Dakota State Saturday night. With the loss UVU finishes the regular season 5-4 and 3-2 in the Western Wrestling Conference, while the Bison finish 10-4 and 3-3 in the WWC with the win.
The dual started at 184 pounds and NDSU got off to a solid start as it won the first four matches of night by decision to take an early 12-0 lead.
The Wolverines then got hot as 13th ranked Flint Ray at 133-pounds got UVU going. Ray rolled to a 12-4 major decision win over Justin Solberg. Ray ended up clinching the major in the final seconds of the third period by picking up a three-point nearfall over Solberg as time expired.
UVU’s Justin Morrill (141 lbs.) and Josh Wilson (149 lbs.) then picked up two more wins in a row as they both won their matches by decision to cut the team score to 12-10. Morrill defeated Geoff Martin 7-1 and Wilson beat Mark Erickson 7-3.
With a whole new dual meet, No. 18 Vince Salminen for the Bison picked up a major decision victory over Richard Winger (157 lbs.) to put NDSU up 16-10.
UVU still had a good chance in the dual with 165-pounder Jeb Clark and 174-pounder Brad Darrington yet to come. NDSU’s Steven Monk and Tyler Wells had other ideas however as they both picked up wins over the two Wolverine grapplers. Clark dropped his bout by fall and Darrington lost a narrow 3-2 decision to give North Dakota State the 25-10 win.
“We felt good about our chances being down 16-10 going into our final two matches (165 and 174),” UVU head coach Greg Williams said. “We made a big mistake at 165 and got caught and came up short at 174. We don’t feel good about the outcome but will use it as motivation for the upcoming conference tournament.”
In the first four matches of the night Casen Eldredge (184 lbs.) dropped his match 6-3, Trevor Rupp (197 lbs.) fell 5-1, Christian Denny (Heavyweight) lost a hard fought 6-5 decision and 13th ranked Benjamin Kjar found himself on the wrong end of an 8-4 score to NDSU’s 19th ranked Trent Sprenkle.
In Kjar’s match, Sprenkle took an early 5-0 lead through the second period. Kjar then battled back in the third with a quick reversal and followed it up with takedown but he couldn’t complete the comeback as he dropped the match to the ranked foe.
The Wolverines will now look forward to punching their tickets to the NCAA Championships, as they’ll next take part at the WWC Championships/NCAA West Regional that will be held on March 6 in Colorado Springs, Colo. This year’s NCAA Championships will be held in Philadelphia, Pa., March 17-19.
North Dakota State 25, Utah Valley 10
184 – Kenny Moenkedick (NDSU) dec. Casen Eldredge (UVU), 6-3
197 – Drew Ross (NDSU) dec. Trevor Rupp (UVU), 5-1
285 – Will Johnson (NDSU) dec. Christian Denny (UVU), 6-5
125 – No. 19 Trent Sprenkle (NDSU) dec. No. 13 Benjamin Kjar (UVU), 8-4
133 – No. 13 Flint Ray (UVU) maj. dec. Justin Solberg (NDSU), 12-4
141 – Justin Morrill (UVU) dec. Geoff Martin (NDSU), 7-1
149 – Josh Wilson (UVU) dec. Mark Erickson (NDSU), 7-3
157 – No. 18 Vince Salminen (NDSU) maj. dec. Richard Winger (UVU), 9-1
165 – Steven Monk (NDSU) fall Jeb Clark (UVU), 1:38
174 – Tyler Wells (NDSU) dec. Brad Darrington (UVU), 3-2
Courtesy of James Warnick, Utah Valley University Athletics, Asst. Sports Information Director