"We will have 10 individuals wrestling in March and we want all of them to qualify for Nationals if they can and as many of them to place there as possible," Williams said. "As soon as we start getting All-Americans here, we will start to have more belief that, `hey I can win the whole thing'. Right now I have one guy who I know believes that this is possible and several others who really believe they can become All-Americans."
Last season the Wolverines sent three of their grapplers to the NCAA Division I Championships in their first season in which they were eligible to do so. Benjamin Kjar (125-lbs.), Flint Ray (133) and Brad Darrington (174) were the three that became UVU's inaugural NCAA Qualifiers and this year Williams is hoping to get even more wrestlers to the "Big Show" and UVU's first-ever All-Americans as well.
"I throw out the number five this year but realistically we have seven or eight wrestlers that could make it but sometimes things don't always go your way," added Williams. "There is some luck involved in it and they all have to stay healthy. There is also a number of other things that need to go our way including that they all have to make it in the rankings to insure themselves that you can still make it to Nationals if you get upset at conference."
UVU returns nine letterwinners, seven of the 10 starters and all three NCAA Qualifiers from the 2009-10 roster. The Wolverines also have an upperclass top-heavy lineup that includes five seniors and a junior. UVU also has three wrestlers individually ranked in the numerous pre-season polls. Benjamin Kjar (125) is ranked anywhere from 11th to 15th, Flint Ray (133) from 13th to 18th and Brad Darrington (174) from 16th to 24th.
The Wolverines roster also includes eight sophomores and 15 freshmen, of those 10 are newcomers.
UVU will once again have a challenging schedule this year to help prepare itself for the postseason. Last year the Wolverines finished with a 10-3 overall record, a second place finish in the Western Wrestling Conference at 4-1 and its first defeat of a nationally ranked opponent in the No. 8 Boise State Broncos.
This year UVU will have nine dual dates on its schedule, three of which that are against ranked opponents in Boise State (No. 2), Nebraska (No 12) and conference foe Wyoming (No. 17). The Wolverines will also host three duals in Orem as well as the UVU Open on Jan. 8. UVU will also partake in six invitational tournaments this year, three of which that will feature top-talent from all over the nation in the Kaufman-Brand Open, the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational and the Southern Scuffle.
The Wolverines will also wrestle five of their six fellow WWC foes this year with the lone exception being Northern Iowa. The conference schedule will begin for UVU on Jan. 7, when Northern Colorado comes to Orem and will end on Feb. 18 and 19, when the Wolverines travel to the Dakotas to take on South Dakota State and North Dakota State respectively.
This years NCAA West Regional/WWC Championships will be hosted by the Air Force Academy and will take place on March 6. There, 10 UVU grapplers will be trying to wrestle their way into the 2011 NCAA DI Championships that will take place March 17-19, at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.
The Wolverines probable starting dual lineup includes all five seniors, a junior, a sophomore, two redshirt-freshmen and a true freshman.
UVU will showcase its talents for the first time in 2010-11 with the UVU Intrasquad Dual on Nov. 3, at 7 p.m. in the Activity Center. Admission is free to the public and it will be a great chance to see nearly every Wolverine wrestler in action.
WEIGHT CLASS BREAKDOWN:
125 - At 125-pounds, 2009-10 NCAA qualifier Benjamin Kjar is back for his senior season for UVU. The Wolverine-Star has already become UVU's all-time record holder for most victories in school history, with 99. This year Kjar won't only be looking to make it back to the NCAA Championships but to fulfill his dream of becoming an All-American. Behind Kjar and challenging him will be sophomore Paul Johnson as well as freshman Colby Christensen.
133 - 2009-10 WWC Champion and NCAA Qualifier senior Flint Ray will be the Wolverines starter at 133. This year Ray won't have to surprise people to make it back to the NCAA Championships as he is ranked nationally in the preseason polls. Behind Ray is sophomore Logan Wilson and two newcomers in Derek Malan and Jorden Osbon.
141 - Senior Justin Morrill will look to make the switch from 149 to 141 this year and will most likely get the starting nod here. Morrill had a solid season last year where he went 21-11 and just missed out of qualifying for the NCAA Championships. Behind Morrill will be another one of the Ray brothers in sophomore Wyatt Ray who finished last season as the 141-pound starter. Also at 141 will be sophomore Glenn Terrano, redshirt-freshmen Avery Garner and Sean Porter as well as newcomers Sam Mecham and Kyle West.
149 - Josh Wilson is finally healthy in 2010-11 and will look to be the Wolverine starter this year after redshirting in 2008-09 and medically redshirting last season. Behind Wilson will be Morrill as well as true freshman Bryson Foy.
157 - Redshirt-freshman Abner Cook, an Idaho state standout high school wrestler will most likely be the guy at 157. Behind Cook is sophomore Richard Winger who saw some starting action last year.
165 - Senior Jeb Clark is healthy and ready to wrestle in 2010-11. Clark missed the first half of the season last year but came on strong late as he wrestled his way to a 13-4 record. Behind Clark will be proven starter sophomore Monte Schmalhaus, sophomore Dustin Olsen and newcomer Colby Barlocker.
174 - 2009-10 NCAA Qualifier Brad Darrington will enter his junior campaign this year. The preseason ranked wrestler will only look to get stronger in 2010-11. Olsen and Barlocker who are also backups at 165 will push him.
184 - Casen Eldredge, the three-time letterwinner for UVU, will enter his senior year at 184-lbs. Eldredge will concentrate on wrestling at 184 this season after flirting with some heavyweight last year. Behind him will be freshman Sam Fulton.
197 - With last year's 197 starter gone, Williams will look to a true freshman to start for him in the former Idaho High School Star Trevor Rupp. Another newcomer in freshman Phillip Sorensen will challenge Rupp.
Hwt. - The Wolverines suffered a key injury at heavyweight last year and have had that feat repeated already this season as redshirt-freshman Zac Jensen went down with a knee injury. Sophomore Eric McAllister will bulk-up and look to carry the heavyweight load for UVU in 2010-11.