The Fresno State wrestling team fell to Utah Valley 26-12 in its Big 12 home opener Friday evening at the Save Mart Center.
The ‘Dogs drop to 3-11 overall and 0-2 in conference competition.
Freshman AJ Nevills, redshirt sophomore Khristian Olivas and sophomore Greg Gaxiola each recorded a win in front of 3,954 fans.
The dual started with redshirt sophomore Dominic Kincaid at 174 pounds. The match ended in an 11-5 decision for Utah Valley’s Kimball Bastian. Bastian quickly jumped out to a 6-5 lead. He extended that lead to 10-5 after a four-point near fall. The Wolverines were the first to take the board, 3-0.
At 184 pounds, Fresno State’s redshirt sophomore Richie Brandt faced his former team and redshirt freshman Gary Jantzer. Brandt was able to make an escape, takedown and a two-point near fall to take a 9-8 lead. But Jantzer came back to secure a 12-9 win.
The Wolverines continued to lead the way in the 197-pound match. ‘Dogs sophomore Josh Hokit was able to tie the match 3-3 against Tanner Orndorff, but was unable to finish after Orndoff took the match 9-4 to extend Utah Valley’s lead to nine.
Nevills put the ‘Dogs on the board with a 7-3 win over senior Dustin Dennison. Ranked 28th in the NCAA Coaches’ Panel Ranking, Nevills improves to a perfect dual meet record of 14-0.
The Wolverines fired back with three straight wins to lead Fresno State 22-2. Sixth-ranked Taylor Lamont won by fall over redshirt senior Sean Williams; Valley native and now Wolverine Durbin Lloren won by a 6-1 decision over freshman Trevor Williams; and Matt Findlay beat freshman Chris De Loza with an 11-3 major decision.
At 149 pounds, former Wolverine and No. 22 Olivas notched a major decision over Fresno native Matthew Ontiveros to give the ‘Dogs four points.
Keeping the momentum going, Gaxiola recorded his first fall of the season over junior Raider Lofthouse. But, the ‘Dogs still trailed 22-12.
The dual concluded at 165 pounds with redshirt sophomore Isaiah Hokit and 16th-ranked Demetrius Romero. Romero won in a 13-5 major decision and secured the 26-12 win for Utah Valley.
Fresno State will be on the road next weekend to compete against Northern Colorado on Jan. 26 and No. 11 Wyoming on Jan. 27.