College wrestling: Fager soars to top of his class
Adam Fager's stock has been rising this year.
Wait a second. Is his stock rising or is the number on the scale?
Fager faced a wrestling dilemma. After winning two state individual titles and compiling a 132-24 record at Layton High School, Fager took his headgear to Utah Valley University.
He started at 197 pounds as a freshman and finished the season with a 30-10 record and proved to be a promising piece to a college program on the rise. But then Fager called a timeout.
He took two years off to serve a church mission then redshirted a year after returning.
With one successful season wrestling at 197, he faced a major decision. Cut weight and drop from 230 to 197 or bulk up and compete as a heavyweight.
"I got married last summer and that played a role in my decision," Fager said. "My wife said she would rather have happy 250 then grumpy 197."
Pass the dessert.
It's turned out to be a good decision. Fager entered the week 18-10 this season. He's ranked No. 25 and has an RPI of 24. He will enter the Western Wrestling conference tournament March 9 as the No. 1 seed. A win in the conference tournament will qualify him for an NCAA berth.
"He's having a really good season," UVU coach Greg Williams said. "I'm not surprised he's done well. Unfortunately we had our other heavyweight get hurt, so he's really had no one to wrestle against or push him in practice, but he has huge upside. He's going to keep climbing in the polls over the next two years. A lot of it will be up to him and how much he wants it."
Fager has learned that wrestling at heavyweight takes a different mentality.
"This is a completely different style," he said. "As the season has progressed, I've gotten more and more comfortable with it. It's always a gamble of what you are going to get. You have heavyweights who are big fat guys, and then you have some smaller ones. It's hard to tell what you're going to get."
Fager currently weighs in at 250 and fortunately he is still the little brother, literally. His brother John (290) and Noah (250) are the wrestling coaches at Layton High and still get down on the mat with him. The help he's received from his brothers along with that of UVU's coaching staff has made for a smooth tradition for Fager.
"To qualify for the NCAA would be big for me," he said. "I'm planning on it with confidence, not cockiness. The next two years will be important for me. It will allow me to put on better weight and become better heavyweight."