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BYU/UVU notes: Mantz, Cougar men’s cross country win Griak Invitational

By Daily Herald - | Sep 24, 2021

BYU Courtesy Photo

Conner Mantz led No. 3 BYU men’s cross country to its second-straight meet title at the 35th annual Roy Griak Invitational at Les Bolstad Golf Course on Friday.

Mantz and Wesley Kiptoo of No. 10 Iowa State remained neck-and-neck for much of the men’s 8K and finished within one second of each other after a final burst from Mantz as the two All-Americans approached the finish.

Mantz seized first place from Kiptoo with an 8K time of 23:53.9. The reigning individual national champion has now recorded four consecutive first place finishes and eight for his career.

Three more BYU runners accompanied Mantz in the top-10, powering the Cougars to a first-place finish with 34 points.

Casey Clinger clocked a 24:37.4 to finish fourth in his first meet since the 2020 National Championships. Clinger has finished in the top-5 in five of his last six meets.

Aidan Troutner and Brandon Garnica finished within 0.2 seconds of each other at sixth and seventh place, respectively. Lucas Bons finished 16th in just his second collegiate cross country meet.

Freshmen Davin Thompson and Joey Nokes made their BYU debuts in St. Paul and finished in the top-50 with times of 25:27.6 and 25.33.3, respectively.

BYU and Iowa State finished just as tight as Mantz and Kiptoo. The Cougars narrowly edged the Cyclones 34-35, while No. 26 Michigan State took third in the team standings with 86 points.

BYU also overpowered host Minnesota (137) and WCC-foes Santa Clara (sixth, 178) and Pepperdine (15th, 435).

BYU men’s and women’s cross country will next compete at the Steve T. Reeder Memorial at the Steve and Dona Reeder Cross Country Course in Logan, Utah on Friday, Oct. 8.

Former Orem star Dalton Stanger joins UVU women’s golf staff

Head UVU women’s golf coach Juli Erekson has announced the hiring of Dalton Stanger as an assistant coach on her staff.

Stanger comes to UVU after spending time as a volunteer assistant for the men’s golf program at BYU. He hails from here in Orem and went on to golf collegiately at BYU, BYU-Hawaii and Dixie State.

“I’m super grateful for Dalton joining our staff. He brings experience, knowledge, and energy to our program,” Erekson said. “He’s awesome to work with and I’m looking forward to him helping us elevate our women’s golf program.”

Stanger grew up in Orem and golfed at Orem High School during his prep days. He was a three-time 4A First Team All-State honoree and a four-time first team All-Region recipient while at Orem HS. He also played baseball in high school and was a first team All-Region shortstop for the Tigers.

He went on to golf collegiately for two years at BYU, before transferring to BYU-Hawaii for a year, and then on to Dixie State for his senior campaign. Stanger posted a 73.67 scoring average during his sophomore campaign at BYU (2015-16) and later helped the Seasiders win the 2017 PacWest Championship by tying for 15th at the event with a 3-over-par 219. He capped his junior season (2016-17) at BYU-Hawaii with a 73.91 scoring average before going on post a 74.22 stroke average during his senior year at Dixie State (2017-18). During his senior season, Stanger recorded one top-five finish, three top-10 finishes, and helped the Trailblazers win the 2018 PacWest Championship by placing 38th at the event. He also went on to be Dixie State’s top finisher at the 2018 NCAA West/South Central Regionals by capping his collegiate career by tying for 26th with a 7-over-par 220.

Stanger has since spent the last couple of seasons as a volunteer assistant coach for the BYU men’s team in Provo. He also has spent time as both a teaching professional at Fox Hollow Golf Club in American Fork and a fitting specialist at PXG (Parsons Xtreme Golf).

Wolverine volleyball falls to NMSU late Thursday

Utah Valley dropped a hard-fought match to New Mexico State, 3-1 (20-25, 25-20, 24-26, 20-25) in Lockhart Arena Thursday night. With the loss, the Wolverines fall to 5-7 on the season, including 0-1 in the WAC. The Aggies improve to 10-3 on the year and 1-0 in conference play.

“You have to give New Mexico State credit,” Utah Valley head volleyball coach Sam Atoa said. “They did a really good job, they were well coached, and their girls executed. They hit much better than we did. We played on our heels a little bit and we didn’t execute the way that we feel we can. If we can be confident in our execution then we will be fine, but it didn’t work for us tonight.”

NM State got off to a quick start, taking an early 4-1 lead. UVU used a 4-1 of its own to tie the set up at 5-5, but the Aggies pushed back with a 5-2 run to regain the lead, 10-7. NMSU never relinquished the lead as the Wolverines tied the set on four occasions but were never able to take the lead. NM State finished the set on a 5-2 run to take the set, 25-20, extending its streak to 19-straight sets won.

The Wolverines came out firing in the second set, racing out to an early 7-2 advantage. The Aggies countered with a 5-2 run but Sadie Hamson and Kazna Tanuvasa led UVU on a 5-2 run to extend the lead back out to 14-9. After both teams went back and forth, Kristen Bell led a 5-1 surge to push the lead to 21-14. Utah Valley was able to coast to the win from there with Abbie Miller getting the final kill to give the Wolverines the set, 25-20. With UVU leading the set from start to finish, Utah Valley snapped a 26-set streak of having a lead at some point during the set.

Jules Fink and Hamson led Utah Valley to an early 4-2 advantage. Both teams alternated the next 10 points as the Aggies tied the set up at 8-8. UVU and NMSU then alternated the next 14 points before Tanuvasa led Utah Valley on a 4-0 surge to go up 18-14. The Aggies stormed back with an 8-4 run to tie it up at 22-22 but a quick attack by Natalie Palmer put the Wolverines up 23-22. NM State scored four of the last five points in the set to take the set, 26-24, and put the Aggies up, 2-1.

Both teams went back and forth to start the fourth set before NMSU scored four-straight points to go up, 7-3. Tanuvasa and Kalea Kennedy brought the Wolverines back to within a point 12-11 as both teams alternated 11-straight points. The Aggies used a 5-0 burst to extend its lead to 17-11 but used a 3-0 run to cut the deficit to 17-14. NM State made a final 3-0 push that the Wolverines weren’t able to overcome as the Aggies took the fourth set, 25-20, winning the match 3-1.

Tanuvasa led the Wolverines with 16 kills while Bell added nine kills and six digs. Fink chipped in eight kills to go along with four blocks and Hamson led UVU with six blocks to go along with five kills. Miller had with a double-double, finishing with 18 assists, 10 digs, and a pair of aces. Palmer collected 18 assists to go along with seven digs and Bryton Bishop led Utah Valley with 14 digs.

The Wolverines continue WAC play as Utah Valley welcomes Grand Canyon to Lockhart Arena, on Saturday, Sep. 25 at 1:00 p.m. MT. UVU then travels to Chicago State on Thursday, Sep. 30, at 5:00 p.m. MT.

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