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Westlake’s Emmy Finlinson wins twice at All-Star Duals

By Brian E. Preece - Herald Correspondent | Jan 12, 2022
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Wrestlers warm up before competing in the 2022 Ross Brunson All-Star Duals at the UCCU Center in Orem on Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2022. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)
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Springville's Valery Ethington (left) tries to escape during the 2022 Ross Brunson All-Star Duals at the UCCU Center in Orem on Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2022. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)
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Timpanogos's Connor Knudsen pulls free during the 2022 Ross Brunson All-Star Duals at the UCCU Center in Orem on Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2022. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)
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Maple Mountain's Ellie Jensen battles for positioning during the 2022 Ross Brunson All-Star Duals at the UCCU Center in Orem on Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2022. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)
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Wrestlers stand for the national anthem before the 2022 Ross Brunson All-Star Duals at the UCCU Center in Orem on Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2022. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)
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ALA's Andrew Fox works to get free during the 2022 Ross Brunson All-Star Duals at the UCCU Center in Orem on Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2022. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)
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Timpanogos's Connor Knudsen celebrates winning during the 2022 Ross Brunson All-Star Duals at the UCCU Center in Orem on Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2022. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)
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Juab's Joey Kay is proclaimed the winner of her match during the 2022 Ross Brunson All-Star Duals at the UCCU Center in Orem on Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2022. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)
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A Wasatch wrestler prepares to compete during the 2022 Ross Brunson All-Star Duals at the UCCU Center in Orem on Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2022. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)
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Westlake's Korbin Chuchran twists away during the 2022 Ross Brunson All-Star Duals at the UCCU Center in Orem on Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2022. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)

For Westlake’s Emmy Finlinson, wrestling is a family affair and Finlinson had plenty of family support as she actually won twice in the Ross Brunson All-Star Dual Tuesday night held at the Utah Valley UCCU Event Center.

Finlinson’s two wins were equally dominant as she pinned Rich’s Annie Peart (145 pounds) and Mountain Crest’s Talia Johansen (155) respectively.

Finlinson’s parents were both wrestlers. Her mother Emily, who serves as an assistant coach for the Thunder program, was one of the female wrestling pioneers in Utah participating in the sport in the 1990’s competing against the boys.

Emily Finlinson is very excited that her daughter gets to participate in an event like the All-Star Dual wrestling against other female competitors.

“It’s amazing to me, not just that the high school my daughter wrestles for is unstoppable, but girls wrestling is unstoppable,” Emily Finlinson said. “I was super proud to watch my son wrestle under the lights here at UVU and have this opportunity, but I never dreamed I would be able to watch my daughter do the same thing. I’m just amazed by it.”

Emmy Finlinson’s father Jason Finlinson was a 2-time state placer at West High School in the mid-1990s and Emmy Finlinson has plenty of uncles who took to the mats over the years.

Her older brother Jacob Finlinson won three state titles for the Thunder program and was the first boy state champion for Westlake, while Emmy Finlinson took home the first official 6A state gold medal for the girls program.

“Wrestling is definitely a family thing for sure,” Emmy Finlinson said.

She added that she also feels blessed to wrestle in the Westlake program.

“It’s fabulous (to be in the Westlake program) from the coaches to my teammates,” Emmy Finlinson said.

Westlake won four of five matches in the girls competition to lead the 6A team to the team victory with 50 points. The 1A-3A team was second with 42 points followed by the 5A team with 37 points. The 4A team was a distant fourth with 19 points.

Joining Emmy Finlinson in the winner’s circle were her teammates Ashley Cannon (115), Celeste DeToles (125), and Likki Rarick (235).

For Detoles, it was her third time wrestling in the All-Star Dual but definitely felt that the atmosphere at the UCCU Event Center was definitely superior to last year’s event that was held at Telos Academy in Orem because of COVID-19. She is also excited about how girls wrestling is increasing in numbers.

“It’s way nicer (being at UVU),” DeToles said. “Girls wrestling is growing so much and I have a lot more girls in my brackets. That’s super fun.”

One of the big upsets in the All-Star Dual was pulled off by Timpview’s Taimane Fiatoa (170), who blanked Copper Hills’ Anya Hatch, 8-0. Hatch hadn’t lost a match since girls wrestling was sanctioned, but Fiatoa dominated the action to pocket the victory.

“I totally respect her (Hatch),” Fiatoa said. “We’ve been teammates (on national teams) and she’s a great teammate. I love her so much.”

In a battle between two Utah County returning state champions, Pleasant Grove’s Brooklyn Hays (150) pinned Springville’s Hotaia Valeti in the third round.

Other Utah County girl wrestlers that were victorious were Springville’s Valery Ethington (125), Timpview’s Kaianne Sabagala (135) and Maple Mountain’s Nya Seiuli (190).

Boys Results

In one of the more anticipated matches at the All-Star Dual, Skyridge’s Josh Millward defeated Uintah’s Dillon Dick 3-1 in sudden victory overtime.

Millward beat Dick 6-4 in the championship finals of the Layton Invitational Tournament, but this match was much closer and required extra time for the Falcon 3-time finalist and returning state champion to secure the winning takedown.

“I surprised him a bit with an outside step high-crotch,” said Millward on his winning takedown. “In the first match I took him down and was able to turn him at the same time. That lead made it easier to wrestle him in the later rounds. This one being tied, I couldn’t give up any points or make any mistakes.”

Lehi’s Isaac Terrell showed that football isn’t the only sport where he dominates. Though Terrell’s attempted blast double leg in the early stages of the match went way off the mat onto the adjacent mat resulting in no points scored, it sent the message he was looking for as the Pioneer grappler defeated Westlake’s Mason Bodell, 7-2.

“Sports are 90 percent mental and as soon as you’re not in it mentally, they’re not going 100 percent,” Terrell said. “So if you’re near the out-of-bounds, take a shot and go for it.”

The Pioneer grappler, who is just a junior, is one of the most gifted football players in the state and says wrestling helps him on the gridiron.

“It helps with conditioning, being mentally tough, works on your balance, your emotions, your hand work, keeping your head up on your making moves, level changes, everything,” Terrell said.

In a bout between two county wrestlers, Maple Mountain’s Andrew Jensen avenged a loss he incurred last weekend against Lone Peak’s Maykyi Smith at the Uintah Tournament of Champions by defeating the Knight grappler at the All-Star Duals, 2-1.

On the team front, the Wildcard team actually scored the most points with 44 points. The 5A boys took second with 37 while 6A pointed 27. The 4A team was fourth with 21 points while the 1A/2A and 3A teams tied for fifth scoring just 12 points.

COVID-19 is still rearing its ugly head and, along with injuries, required some last minute changes to the line-ups and match-ups. Some wrestlers filled in at the last minute, while other wrestlers actually wrestled twice at the request of event organizers.

One late replacement was Spanish Fork’s Junior Wetzel who represented the Wildcard team well and picked up a nice 4-2 win against Ridgeline’s Ty Winward. Lehi’s Will McCleary also filled in at the last minute and defeated Ridgeline’s Ronan Melani, 5-3.

Meanwhile, Wasatch’s Austin Kelly (138) took to the mats twice, first downing Beaver’s Russell Evans 8-6, but then Kelly was defeated in his second match 6-4 by Pleasant Grove’s Koda DeAtley.

Other victorious area wrestlers included Timpanogos’ Conner Knudsen (106), Payson’s Aaron Garcia (113), Wasatch’s Ryder Robinson (132), Pleasant Grove’s Trevyn Gates (175) and Kort Wilkinson (285), and Westlake’s Korbin Chuchran (106) and Brayden Robison (132).

Complete results of the 2022 Ross Brunson All-Star Dual can be found at www.trackwrestling.com.

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