original photo courtesy of UVU athletics
This week’s college wrestler of the week is an NCAA qualifier from Utah Valley that entered the weekend ranked 13th in the nation at 285 lbs. Needless to say, after his performance, he will be much higher in the upcoming national rankings. The scene of Tate’s big weekend was the Journeyman/NE Duals and Collegiate Challenge in Troy, New York. The sophomore Orndorff, started his season with a pair of first period falls on Saturday in the Wolverines duals with Sacred Heart and Purdue. Those wins were expected as both of his opponents were unranked sophomores. At the individual portion of the event, on Sunday, Orndorff started his day off with a 16-3 major decision over Oklahoma’s Connor Webb. In his next bout, Tate would face All-American Jordan Wood (Lehigh), the third-ranked 285 lber in the nation. Wood had finished fourth at the NCAA Championships in March. The two had met last season at this event and it was Wood who prevailed, 6-0. Orndorff was able to turn the tables and notched a 5-2 win based on a pair of third-period takedowns. The first was scored with Orndorff pushing the pace, while he fended off a late charge by Wood on the second takedown. Tate’s day was not finisher; however, he still needed to get by another former NCAA third-place finisher, Tanner Hall (Arizona State). From the opening whistle, Orndorff controlled the hand-fighting battles and the center of the mat against the fourth-ranked Hall. Two of Orndorff’s three points were from stalling calls against the Sun Devil big man and he came out on top, 3-1.
Tate recently represented the United States at the U23 World Championships in Greco-Roman. Orndorff was able to win his opening match before falling in the quarterfinals. As a freshman, in 2018-19, Tate finished third in the Big 12 and was able to win two bouts at the NCAA Championships before his elimination. Utah Valley will be off next week, but Orndorff will see if he can continue his hot start when the Wolverines host Wisconsin on November 23rd. That sets up a potential matchup with another All-American, Trent Hillger, who is currently 5-0.