It’s the 18th year of the All-Star Dual that pits some of the best prep wrestlers in the state against each other.
The event will take place Tuesday night at the Utah Valley UCCU Event Center with the high school bouts starting at 6:30 p.m.
As in the past several years, some of the best junior high-age wrestlers will grapple before the high school matches with the action starting at 5 p.m. Proceeds for the event will go to support Utah Valley wrestling.
There has been a number of wrinkles in the event which originally started with a lot fewer wrestlers than it has now.
For the first few years, it was the smaller classifications (1A-3A) versus the larger classifications (4A/5A). Then several years ago, the dual was expanded to four teams (1A/2A, 3A, 4A and 5A). The last three permutations of this event have seen six teams with each classification having a team plus a wildcard team, which is put together from the best wrestlers from all the classifications.
In 2018, the Utah High School Activities Association realigned to six classifications. But the All-Star Dual selection committee didn’t necessarily want to disband the wildcard team but instead recombined the 1A and 2A into a squad thus maintaining the wildcard team and the six-team format.
However, the biggest new twist in the All-Star Dual may be the inclusion of three matches of the top female wrestlers in the state. These will take place right toward the start of the high school matches. Three local girl wrestlers will participate in these matches.
Wrestling on the center mat will be freshmen Sage Mortimer from American Leadership Academy (ALA). Mortimer is a freshman who competes at 106 pounds. Mortimer mixes it just fine with the boys. For example, she placed second at the Skyhawk Showdown in a weight class that had nearly 20 competitors.
Mortimer wrestled in the All-Star Dual last year as a junior high wrestler against Spanish Fork’s Layne Shepherd, the wrestler that actually defeated Mortimer to win the Skyhawk Showdown this year. Mortimer will be taking on Bonneville’s Kierstien Bush. The Laker sophomore qualified for state in 4A last year going 1-2 in the tournament.
Mortimer’s older brother Quenton, a junior who placed second in 4A state last season when wrestling for Maple Mountain, will represent ALA on the 3A team at 126 pounds.
Also competing in the All-Star Dual will be Hailey Cox (132 pounds) of Maple Mountain. Cox is a junior and recently won her weight class at the JV Bulldog Brawl on Saturday. Cox has been one of the best female wrestlers in the country for several years and the younger sister of Tanner Cox, a former two-time state champion for the Golden Eagles. Cox’s younger brother Cooper is turning heads as a freshman. Hailey Cox will be battling against Stansbury’s Maite Figueroa.
Also competing in the All-Star Dual will be Springville’s Marlynne Deede (160), who takes on Copper Hills’ Jazmin Herrerra.
Utah and Wasatch counties will have a strong presence in the All-Star Dual, especially on the 5A team.
Wasatch will have four wrestlers doing battle with Spencer Heywood (126), Stockton O’Brien (132), Zak Kohler (138) and DJ Cohen (195). Heywood and O’Brien will mix it up with a pair of Layton Lancer returning state champions in Terrell Barraclough and Tyson Humpherys respectively. Maple Mountain’s Brandyn VanTassell will bring some additional muscle to the 5A team.
Two Utah Valley wrestlers are on the 4A squad with Mountain View’s Gabe Terry (132) and Payson’s Wyatt Monroe (182).
The 6A team will have three Utah County representatives. American Fork’s Josh Bartholomew will battle at 145 pounds while Pleasant Grove has Harrison Sperry (152) and Maika Tauteoli (220). The Vikings have two other grapplers competing on the wildcard team with Cole Zorn (132) and Keegan Wilkinson (285).
Winning the big tournament in 4A could come down to the strength of the JV wrestlers who can qualify for state and earn points. Payson put its JV team in a varsity tournament and came away with the first-place trophy at the Bulldog Brawl hosted by Provo. Payson went 5-0 in its duals, besting Provo, Timpview, West, Salem Hills and Springville in that order. The Lions had six wrestlers go undefeated, including Deagan Palmer (113), Ethan Penrod (126), Shawn Marvin (138), Jordan Roper (152), Louis Williams (182) and Dakota Boss (285).
Host Provo placed second going 4-1 in its duals and avenging an earlier season loss to rival Timpview. Gabe Wolf (106), Alex Gordon (132) and Ben Badonie (170) won all five of their matches.
Other undefeated wresters included Timpview’s Tino Leilua (195) and Springville’s Simote Iloa (220).
Orem had a big weekend going 9-0 to win the Cavemen Classic hosted by American Fork. Orem and American Fork tied in their dual at 39-39, but the Tigers were declared the winner because of criteria. Cooper Legas (195) led the Tigers by winning all nine of his matches. Spanish Fork placed fourth and Mountain View fifth in the 10-team field.
While the junior varsity was doing its thing in Provo, Payson’s varsity competed at the Richardson Memorial hosted by Box Elder. Viewmont won the tournament, but the Lions finished a strong fourth in the 16-team field with Monroe bringing home a gold medal.