SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -- The Utah Valley University wrestling team opened its 2020-21 season with a bang by crowning six champions at the season-opening Cal Poly Round Robin Tournament on Sunday afternoon at the Mott Athletics Center in San Luis Obispo.
Senior 174-pounder Demetrius Romero and redshirt freshmen Ty Smith (133 pounds) and Kekana Fouret (165) all went 3-0 en route to winning their respective weight classes, while freshman 157-pounder Danny Snediker and sophomore Jacob Armstrong (197) each went 2-0, and freshmen Kase Mauger and Dawson Collins each compiled 1-0 records to share the 125-pound title.
"We are grateful for the opportunity to compete and it felt great to get back out on the mat today," head UVU coach Greg Williams said. "With this format, we had the opportunity to get more matches -- not only for our starters but also our backups. This is necessary this season so that we can see where they are at, and in some weights our backups competed just as well as our starters. So overall, I am happy the ground that has been gained with our depth and how everyone competed as a whole."
After missing all but the first tournament of the 2019-20 season with a knee injury, the 2019 Big 12 champion and sixth-ranked 174-pound senior Romero picked up right where he left off in 2018-19 by going a perfect 3-0 on the day to win his weight class.
After opening with a third-period fall over Christian Rodriguez of Fresno State (5:50) in his opening match, the two-time UVU NCAA qualifier then found himself in a battle with a fellow ranked foe in No. 20 Bernie Truax of Cal Poly. Trailing 3-2 in the third, Romero muscled a double-leg takedown with one minute to go to take a late 4-3 lead. With just under a minute remaining in regulation, Truax managed to gain an escape point to tie the bout at 4-4 and send the contest to overtime. In the first sudden victory period, the redshirt senior Romero used his experience to get in on a shot and score the winning takedown to take the contest by a score of 6-4. Then in his final match of the day, Romero concluded his unblemished outing with a dominant 16-0 technical fall victory over Jared Priest of Cal Poly.
The redshirt freshman Smith too went a perfect 3-0 on the day en route to winning the 133-pound title. In his first action as a Wolverine, Smith picked up wins over Fresno State's Haiden Drury (5-2), Cal Poly's Adam Jacob (4-2) and Cal Poly's Benny Martinez (9-5) on his way to winning the 133-pound title.
At 165, both redshirt freshman Fouret and senior Koy Wilkinson competed well for the Wolverines by compiling a 5-1 combined record. Fouret won the 165-pound bracket by going 3-0 while Wilkinson finished right behind him with a 2-1 showing. Fouret picked up wins over Cal Poly's Nathan Tausch (5-0), Cal Poly's Kendall La Rosa (14-0) and Fresno State's Beau Colombini (medical forfeit), while Wilkinson defeated Fresno's Colombini (10-2) and CP's La Rosa (3-2).
The freshman Snediker also won the 157-pound title after going a perfect 2-0 on Sunday. In his first official collegiate action, Snediker picked up a 7-3 decision over Cal Poly's Max Anderson followed by a quick first-period fall over Cal Poly's Daniel Vizcarra (1:24) to go undefeated on the day.
Up a weight class this season at 197 pounds, Armstrong too went 2-0 on the day for UVU en route to winning his weight class. The UVU redshirt sophomore recorded wins over Cal Poly's Trevor Tinker (8-3) and his teammate Josh Harkey (5-2) to win another title for the Wolverines.
At 125 pounds, UVU freshmen Mauger and Collins split title honors by each going 1-0 with respective 6-2 and 12-3 victories over Fresno State's Anthony Molton.
With a total of 18 Wolverines in action on the day, junior 184-pounder Ashton Seely (2-1), sophomore 133-pounder Kainalu Estrella (2-1), freshman 149-pounder Jaxon Garoutte (2-2), and the senior 165-pounder Wilkinson (2-1) all picked up two wins on the day, while freshman 141-pounder Stockton O'Brien (1-2), 31st-ranked sophomore 149-pounder Cameron Hunsaker (1-3), junior 157-pounder Jed Loveless (1-1), sophomore 174-pounder Chris Fasano (1-2), freshman 184-pounder Hunter Morse (1-2) and sophomore heavyweight Chase Trussell (1-1) all recorded one win apiece.
Two-time UVU NCAA qualifier and ninth-ranked 125-pounder Taylor LaMont and junior 141-pounder Isaiah Delgado were both sidelined on the day due to contract tracing from COVID-19. Both are expected to be back and in time for Friday's home opener.
Originally scheduled for head-to-head dual meets, Sunday's action was switched to a non-team scored round robin tournament to try to get each wrestler more matches, as it featured a pair of wrestlers in each weight class (where available) from UVU, fellow Big 12 Conference foe Fresno State, and the host Cal Poly Mustangs.
The Wolverines will now return to Orem to kick-off a two-match homestand beginning on Friday, Jan. 8. UVU will first welcome California Baptist to town for a traditional dual meet at noon MT at Lockhart Arena on Jan. 8, before hosting the UVU Round Robin Tournament on Saturday, Jan. 23. The UVU Round Robin Tournament will feature No. 11 Arizona State, Wyoming and UVU, and will be contested on two mats that day in the UCCU Center.