ALUMNI NOTEBOOK: Nevada Union grad Will Sumner pins down spot at NCAA Championships
Early on in the wrestling season Will Sumner was already turning heads with strong performances on the mat. The 2014 Nevada Union graduate was nationally ranked for the first time in his college career and said he was excited to see what he could accomplish in his senior season at Utah Valley University.
“I really think I can do some special things if I stick to my process,” he said back in December.
Sumner stuck to his process at the Big 12 Championships over the weekend and now the redshirt-senior is heading to the NCAA National Championships for the first time.
“It was a really fun experience,” Sumner said in a video posted on http://www.gouvu.com. “I came in with big goals, but my main focus was to keep my routines and stay consistent. Just do the same stuff I’ve been doing all year, keep my mental process going and just have fun.”
The talented grappler went 4-2 and placed fourth in the 184-pound weight class at the highly competitive conference tournament.
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“He’s continued to progress and his attitude is great,” UVU head coach Greg Williams said of Sumner. “He just goes out there, wrestles hard and tries to score points … He’s confident and trusting in what he can do.”
Sumner, ranked No. 25 in the nation in his weight class, opened the Big 12 tourney with a 5-0 win over Norther Colorado’s Dalton Robertson. Sumner then lost to Oklahoma State’s Dakota Greer, 7-6. With his back against the wall, Sumner then won three straight matches, including a 3-2 win over No. 16 ranked Tate Samuelson of Wyoming to clinch his spot at the national championships. He would lose to Greer in the third place match to conclude his Big 12 tourney.
The NCAA Tournament is set for March 21-23 in Pittsburgh.
“I believe in myself and I know how good I can be and I’m right there with all those guys,” Sumner said. “I really want to go up there and break some brackets and just have a lot of fun. It’s my last year. I want to enjoy every second of this.”
As a team Utah Valley will be sending five wrestlers heading to the NCAA Championships, which matches a school record.
Sumner has made steady progress since he first stepped on the mat with Utah Valley. He went 10-14 as a redshirt freshmen, including a 5-0 run at the UVU Open to win the tourney title in the 184-pound weight class.
As a sophomore, Sumner’s overall record improved to 12-14, including a 3-1 run at the Cowboy Open to finish in third place.
In his junior season, Sumner posted a 15-9 overall record. He also won the UVU Open again, and took third place at the Wolfpack Open. Sumner also led his team in technical falls with seven.
While at Nevada Union, Sumner wrestled four years at the varsity level and earned two Sierra Foothill League titles, and won the Sac-Joaquin Section championship at 170-pounds in 2014.
WOMEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL
Aycee Willis, a 2017 Nevada Union graduate, and the Sierra College women’s basketball team had their run through the postseason come to a close Saturday with a loss to San Joaquin Delta College, 70-66, in the third round of the California Community College Athletic Association playoffs.
For Willis, a sophomore guard and team captain, the loss concludes an impressive season in which she averaged 14.3 points per game, 7.7 rebounds and 2.8 assists. Willis also earned 2018-19 All-Big 8 honors after helping Sierra finish third in conference play.
Sierra wraps the season with a 22-8 overall record.
Garrett O’Callaghan, a 2014 Nevada Union graduate, and the Holy Names baseball team split a four-game series with Biola University last week.
O’Callaghan, a left-handed hurler, earned the win in his only appearance on the bump. The senior tossed seven strong innings, allowed six hits and two earned runs while striking out 10 in a 3-2 victory.
For the season, O’Callaghan is 3-2 in five starts with 29 strikeouts and a 4.57 ERA.
Holy Names (5-12) is a Division II school that competes in the Pacific West Conference.
Dalton Maxwell, a 2015 Nevada Union graduate, and the Menlo College Oaks struggled to get on the field due to rain last week, but managed to squeeze in a 3-2 victory over Arizona Christian University.
Maxwell, a senior second baseman and designated hitter, tripled in the tying run in the fifth inning, and scored what would be the game winning run when he crossed the plate later that inning.
Menlo and Arizona tried to get in another game, but it was suspended due to darkness. Maxwell was 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI before players were called in.
Menlo (6-7) is a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) school that competes in the Golden State Athletic Conference.
Matt Lopez, a 2016 Bear River graduate, and the Sierra College Wolverines lost their only game last week, falling to Sacramento City College, 7-2.
Lopez, a sophomore first baseman, went 2-for-4 from the plate with an RBI.
For the season, Lopez has started in all 18 of Sierra’s games, has two home runs, 22 RBIs, 19 runs scored and is batting .350.
Sierra College (15-3) competes in the CCCAA’s Big 8 Conference.
Andrew Schnitzius, a 2016 Nevada Union graduate, and the No. 20 Lyon College Scots won four of five last week, sweeping a three-game series with William Baptist University and splitting a doubleheader with No. 6 Freed-Hardeman University.
Schnitzius, a junior catcher, played two of the five games, going 1-for-6 with three RBIs across the contests.
For the season, Schnitzius has played in 14 of the teams 25 games, has 11 starts, is batting .333 and has 16 RBIs.
Lyon (20-5) is an NAIA school which competes in the American Midwest Conference.
Have we missed anyone? If you know of a college or professional athlete with local ties, email email@example.com or call 530-477-4232.
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