The first day of the 5A state wrestling tournament Wednesday merely set the stage for some incredible drama on Thursday.

The state title chase between Payson (currently first with 125 points) and Wasatch (second with 120.5 points) is far from settled and some key matches between the Region 8 rival schools are on tap in the semifinal round.

The fun will start at 120 pounds where both schools will match up in a pair of matches. In the top bracket Wasatch’s Deklan Kelly will meet up with Payson’s Cam Ford while Kelly’s younger brother Austin will battle Cole Jensen in the other semifinal.

Then at 126 pounds, Wasatch’s Treyson Davis will square off with Payson’s Layne Shepherd. Payson again doubled up in the weight class as in the other semifinal Wyatt Hone will take on Colton Erickson of Woods Cross.

At 132 pounds, another Wasatch vs. Payson duel takes place with River Wardle of Wasatch and Deegan Palmer of Payson. Wardle is searching for a third state title while Palmer wants to make it to his second straight trip to the championship match.

But these aren’t the only wrestlers each school still has going for the gold.

Payson also has Eduardo Cabrera (106 pounds), Tucker Naccarato (170), Louis Williams (195) and C.J. Vasquez (285).

Vasquez pulled off two huge upsets pinning Farmington’s Skyler Hall and Hillcrest’s Jason Barnes.

Cabrera outlasted Jake Goodrich of Woods Cross in sudden victory 7-5. Goodrich had won the Divisional A tournament the week prior while Cabrera placed fifth in his divisional. But Cabrera came up with the big points when needed to spark a great quarterfinal round for the Lions.

“I just wanted to be the toughest,” said Cabrera whose double leg shot and finish provided the winning margin.

Cabrera’s opening round victory was also huge as it came at the expense of Wasatch as he defeated the Wasp’s Duncan Watt in a high-scoring 12-8 affair.

Wasatch also has plenty of firepower left with Heath Clyde (113), Ryder Robinson (113), Sammy Heywood (138), Stockton O’Brien (145), and Brock Lloyd (170) joining the aforementioned Kelly brothers, Davis and Wardle as semifinalists.

O’Brien, who is seeking his fourth state title, did beat Payson’s Trevor Frank in the quarterfinals.

Mountain View had an excellent day one and looks to challenge Box Elder for third place.

The Bruins put six grapplers in the semifinals with Cody Burr (106), Hunter Chariton (145), Radi Stafford (170), Elijah Stafford (182), Christopher Esparza (220) and Ryley Horrocks (285). Mountain View sits in fourth with 75 points, 15 points ahead of fifth place Viewmont but just four points behind Box Elder.

Maple Mountain, eighth with 42 points, put four in the semifinals with Brock Morris (113), Cooper Cox (132), Quinlin Jackson (160) and Andrew Jensen (170).

Timpview, ninth with 34 points, put three in the semifinals doubling up at 182 pounds with Conner Morris and David Fox, along with Cael Richardson at 220 pounds.

Spanish Fork’s Dawson Shepherd reached the semifinals at 138 pounds. Shepherd’s younger brother Layne wrestles for Payson but the oldest sibling proved to be a bit of a thorn in the side of the Lions as he beat Kelton Smith by a 12-5 count in the quarterfinals. Shepherd will now draw Brighton’s Anthonee Ouk in the semifinals, and the Bengal sports an impressive 47-1 overall record.

Salem Hills’ Monson Morley (160) won an exciting 6-4 quarterfinal over Timpanogos’ Ethan Miles to advance to the semifinals to take on Viewmont’s Jeremy Evans.

Provo’s Jimmy Tomasi won both of his matches by pin to keep his dreams of repeating as a state champion. Tomasi boasts a 37-1 record but his lone loss was to Box Elder’s Kellen Collier, his semifinal opponent. Last year Tomasi lost to Box Elder’s Ryan Gunn in the divisional tourney but avenged that loss in the state championship match. The Bulldog will hope to repeat that magic again Thursday morning.

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