During the 2019 Dollamer Utah All-Star Dual, 12 young ladies stepped onto the mat to square off against each other.
The 13th, American Leadership sophomore Sage Mortimer, wasn’t one of them.
No, Mortimer wanted to face one of the guys and she made the most of her opportunity as she squared off against Bowdy Larsen of Duchesne.
“I like wrestling against boys because it makes me stronger,” Mortimer said. “I’ve wrestled against them my whole life because there aren’t that many girls that compete in Utah. I’ve had to go out-of-state to wrestle against other girls.”
Mortimer took care of business, pinning Larsen at the 3:25 mark of her 106-pound all-star match.
“I feel like I was good on my feet out there,” she said. “In the hand-fighting, I was able to open up some shots. We then got in a tight scramble and I was able to get the pin.”
The Eagle wrestler said she was a little concerned about how sharp she would be at the meet.
“I’m just getting back from a broken hand,” Mortimer said. “I’ve only wrestled a few matches. It was tough and I didn’t know if I prepared enough. But there is only one way to be in shape and that it to get in there.”
She knows that injuries are part of the sport, but that was driven home later in the evening when her older brother, ALA senior Quenton Mortimer had to withdraw from his 132-pound match against Wasatch’s Sammy Heywood when Quenton ended up twisting his ankle under them.
The resulting injury — hopefully just a sprain although the extent won’t be known until further tests are done — kept Quenton Mortimer from continuing.
It’s a harsh reality, particularly at an event that the wrestlers look forward to so much.
“All the wrestlers want to be in it,” said Payson head coach Jeb Clark, who had four wrestlers at the Dual. “It makes a kid’s day when they find out they are going to be in an All-Star match. As a coach, it’s nice to get in as many as you can.”
He credited the tournament organizers for creating and maintaining something so unique.
“I was just talking to some friends from out of state who wrestled and they said they never got to do something like this,” Clark said.
This year’s inclusion of so many girl wrestlers is an exciting development, especially for Sage Mortimer.
“This is my third time in the All-Star Dual and it’s a lot of fun,” she said. “You get great matches in the spotlight. I feel like I have helped more girls get into the sport. Younger sisters of wrestlers have come to watch and seen me and decided to try it or moms have gotten their kids into wrestling. I like seeing more competition in Utah because I know when I get to a certain level I will be wrestling only girls.”
Sage Mortimer wasn’t the only Utah Valley girl to experience the thrill of winning at the All-Star Dual.
Abi Archibald of Maple Mountain pinned Christina Smothers of Weber at the 2:38 mark in the 138-pound division, while Marlynne Deede of Springville pinned Mykenna Staheli of Bear River at the 3:11 in the 160-pound classification.
One of the most dramatic matches came in the heavyweight division as Sam Dawe of Spanish Fork got a takedown in the final minute to edge Box Elder’s Ryan Gunn, 9-7.
Other local high school winners included Stockton O‘Brien of Wasatch at 138 pounds; Cole Zorn of Pleasant Grove, Zak Kohler of Wasatch and Cade Bowring of Juab at 145 pounds; Porter Chamberlain of Wasatch at 170 pounds; Parker Gasser of Maple Mountain at 182 pounds; Cooper Legas of Orem at 195 pounds; McCoy Cook of Payson at 220 pounds; Lukas Carrillo of ALA at 106 pounds; Cole Jensen of Payson at 113 pounds; Jacob Fininson of Westlake and River Wardle of Wasatch at 120 pounds; and Connor Ingram of Juab at 126 pounds.
For complete details from the 2019 All-Star Dual, go to https://TrackWrestling.com.