Chandler Gubler, UVU Athletics
Utah Valley redshirt freshman Grant LaMont (top) takes on his Air Force counterpart in a Big 12 Conference dual in Orem in January 2017. LaMont earned his second podium finish of the weekend by wrestling his way to a second-place finish at University Freestyle Nationals on Sunday.
Led by a pair of second-place finishes from the LaMont brothers, four Utah Valley University wrestlers earned podium finishes at the University Freestyle Nationals on the campus of the University of Akron on Saturday and Sunday in Akron, Ohio. The four place winners gives UVU eight medalists at the 2017 UWW Cadet and University Nationals as four more Wolverine grapplers previously placed at the University Greco-Roman Nationals on Friday.
Brothers Taylor LaMont and Grant LaMont led the way in the freestyle competition by each placing second in their respective weight class, while fellow Wolverines Kimball Bastian and Matt Findlay took fifth and seventh, respectively. The fifth-place finish by Bastian and the second-place outing by Grant LaMont marked their second podium finishes of the weekend, as they previously placed fourth and fifth in their respective weight divisions at the University Greco-Roman Nationals.
Just a week removed from when the LaMont brothers earned silver medals at the City of Sassari International Tournament in freestyle in Sassari, Italy, both Taylor and Grant LaMont again wrestled their way to a second-place finish in freestyle at the University Freestyle Nationals on Saturday and Sunday. Taylor LaMont breezed through his first three bouts at 61 kilos—winning them by a combined 35-4 score en route to reaching the semifinal match against the former four-time NCAA qualifier from Ohio State Johnni Dijulius. Taylor LaMont then took care of business with a 6-3 win over Dijulius on his way to reaching the title bout against William Erneste of the Missouri Wrestling Foundation. Trailing 2-1 with just seconds remaining in the final period of the championship match, Taylor LaMont looked to have scored, but the points were wiped away as Erneste managed to escape with a controversial one-point victory. Taylor LaMont went 5-1 on the way to earning his second-place finish at the 2017 University Freestyle Nationals.
After placing fifth in his weight class in the University Greco competition on Friday, Grant LaMont earned his second medal finish of University Nationals by wrestling his way to a second-place finish in freestyle on Sunday. Grant LaMont went an impressive 6-1 with a pair of technical falls in a loaded weight class that featured multiple NCAA All-Americans in the freestyle tournament en route to making the title bout at 70 kilos. After pulling out a win by fall over Coe College’s Cole Erickson in the semis, Grant LaMont then had his 2017 University Nationals run come to a close with a 4-0 setback to Iowa All-American Brandon Sorensen in the championship match. During his impressive run, Grant LaMont managed to overcome an eight-point deficit on the way to scoring a 20-17 come-from-behind victory over North Carolina’s Kennedy Monday, who is the son of former Olympic Champion Kenny Monday.
Bastian earned his second podium finish of the weekend by going 8-2 on the way to securing a fifth-place finish at 80 kilograms in freestyle. After dropping a second-round contest, Bastian won six-straight bouts in the consolation bracket en route to securing his podium finish. During his strong run, the Wolverine 174-pounder picked up a 10-0 dominant victory over Purdue NCAA qualifier Jacob Morrissey on his way to placing fifth.
Findlay rounded out UVU’s placers at the 2017 University Freestyle Nationals by going 7-2 on his way to earning a seventh-place finish at 65 kilos. Findlay had a number of impressive victories at the tournament, which included scoring wins over Oklahoma State All-American Kaid Brock, the former top-ranked high school wrestler of the nation at Nebraska Chad Red, and two-time NCAA qualifier from NC State Jamal Morris to reach the medal rounds.
Eleven other Wolverines competed in the freestyle event on Saturday and Sunday, and Kieffer Taylor led the group by going 4-2 at 80 kilos. Gary Jantzer (86 KG) and Landon Knutzen (70 KG) were next by going 3-2, while 2017 NCAA qualifier Tanner Orndorff (97 KG), Benjamin Andrew (125 KG) and Chase Call (65 KG) went 2-2; fellow 2017 NCAA qualifier Dustin Dennison (125 KG) and Will Sumner (86 KG) each finished 1-2; and Abel Gomez (86 KG), Durbin Lloren (61 KG) and Jarod Maynes (65 KG) went 0-2.
James Warnick is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information about Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.