OREM — The Utah Valley University wrestling team will hit the road for the first time in over a month when it heads to the Dakotas this week for a pair of conference duals. The Wolverines will take on South Dakota State in Brookings, S.D., on Wednesday and No. 25 North Dakota State in Fargo, N.D., on Friday.
Wednesday's contest will take place at Frost Arena at 6:00 p.m. MT. Fans can follow live results by visiting TrackWrestling.com, and live video will also be available for purchase at GoJacks.com. Friday's dual will then begin at 6:00 p.m. MT at the Bison Sports Arena, and live video will also be available for purchase at GoBison.com.
The Wolverines (4-2, 1-1 Western Wrestling Conference) will put their three-dual win streak on the line Wednesday after they've defeated Arizona State (26-15), Northern Colorado (39-0) and Stanford (18-15) in their last three matches. The shutout over the Bears marked UVU's first-ever blanking of a Division I opponent as the Wolverines won all 10 bouts.
Last Friday, UVU picked up its fifth straight win over a Pac-12 opponent as the Wolverines held on to beat the Cardinal, 18-15. Utah Valley jumped out to an 11-3 lead and managed to hold the advantage down the stretch by winning three of its five bouts by bonus points. UVU sophomore Chasen Tolbert (133 pounds), senior Josh Wilson (149) and junior Monte Schmalhaus (174) all won their bouts via major decision, while junior Avery Garner (141) and redshirt freshman Derek Thomas (184) won theirs by decision.
Redshirt freshman Jade Rauser (125) leads the Wolverines on the season with an 18-6 overall record, while Schmalhaus and Wilson are right behind him with identical 17-7 clips.
Rauser and Wilson were both recently ranked 22nd in their respective weight classes in the first of three NCAA Coaches' Panel rankings for the 2012-13 wrestling season. The final rankings will be one of the tools used as part of the selection process to determine the qualifiers for the 2013 NCAA Championships.
About South Dakota State: SDSU is 4-9 and 0-2 in WWC action so far in 2012-13. The Jackrabbits are coming off a 41-3 loss to former WWC foe Northern Iowa last Friday, who is currently ranked 20th in the country. South Dakota State's two conference losses have come by the hands of No. 21 Wyoming (21-13) and Air Force (41-5). The Jacks will enter Wednesday having dropped their last four duals.
Senior 149-pounder Dustin Walraven leads South Dakota State with a 20-10 overall record and an 8-4 mark in dual action. Walraven was ranked 31st in his weight class in the latest NCAA Coaches' Panel rankings. Senior 125-pounder Aaron Pickrel (11-11) will enter the contest on the heels of a big win over UNI's Ryan Jauch last weekend.
This will be the eighth all-time meeting between the conference foes with the Wolverines holding a comfortable 6-1 series advantage. UVU's lone loss to the Jacks occurred on Jan. 20, 2007, in Brookings. The Wolverines have won the last five meetings against SDSU.
About North Dakota State: The Bison are ranked 25th in the country in the latest USA Today/NWCA Coaches Poll and are 7-8 overall and in first-place in the conference standings with a 2-0 WWC mark. NDSU jumped into the rankings and into first place in the conference standings with a big 22-15 win over then No. 14 Wyoming in Laramie, Wyo., on Jan. 27. North Dakota State since dropped a close 21-15 setback to No. 20 Northern Iowa at home last Sunday.
Junior 165-pounder Steven Monk leads NDSU as he is ranked sixth in the nation and is 28-3 and a perfect 15-0 in duals. Senior 125-pounder Trent Sprenkle is also ranked in the top 10 in the country as he comes in at ninth with a 22-4 clip and 13-2 dual record.
Friday will mark the eighth all-time meeting versus the Bison with NDSU holding a 6-1 series lead. UVU's lone win came on Feb. 7, 2009, in Fargo as it defeated North Dakota State, 18-15.
Up Next for the Wolverines: The Wolverines will conclude their three-match road trip by heading to Boise, Idaho, to take on Boise State on Feb. 13. UVU will then return home for its regular season finale against Air Force on Feb. 16.
James Warnick is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information about Wolverine athletics, visit www.WolverineGreen.com.