The last three weeks of prep wrestling in Utah has been about big-time tournament competition. But with the Divisional tournaments to be held next weekend, most teams avoided tournaments and focused on their last dual meets.
No dual meet was any bigger than Wasatch versus Payson.
The two teams met in a dual meet at the Wasatch Intermountain Duals before Christmas, which was won by Wasatch. The Wasps also placed ahead of the Lions at the Rockwell Rumble, so Payson wanted to roar back and send a statement that they are the team to beat in 5A this year.
There wasn’t an incredible amount of drama as Payson pummeled Wasatch 48-27. All but three of the 14 bouts ended in a fall or forfeit.
Out of the three matches that actually went the distance, Payson won two of those as Cole Jensen (120 pounds) defeated Wasatch’s Deklan Kelly 5-4. Both wrestlers placed second in state last year, Jensen in 4A and Kelly in 5A. This bout was actually the last bout of the night.
The first match of the dual meet was also a close one as Payson’s Wyatt Hone (126) held off Treyson Davis 2-1.
The other match that went the full six minutes was entertaining and featured 34 total points scored as Wasatch’s Charlie Fassold (160) defeated his Lion foe Jason Butler, 19-15.
The bouts started at 126 pounds and after Hone’s close victory for Payson, Wasatch rolled out three straight wins with their star trio of River Wardle (132), Sammy Heywood (138) and Stockton O’Brien (145). Wardle and Heywood won by pin, O’Brien by forfeit, and all of sudden Wasatch led 18-3.
Payson’s Trevor Frank (152) won by fall to cut the Wasp lead to 18-9 before the victories by Wasatch’s Fassold and Brock Lloyd (170) pushed the Wasp lead to 27-9.
But after that, it was all Payson as Braxton Monroe (182), Louis Williams (195) Trevor Guzman (220), Jeffrey Varrant (285), Eduardo Cabrera (106), and Ethan Boulton (113) won either by pin or forfeit. With Jensen’s win at 120 pounds closing out the match, Payson had scored 39 straight points.
Since there are no longer region meets, the region title is decided by dual meet results and Payson finished Region 8 with a 7-0 record while Wasatch was 6-1 in its league duals.
Mountain View clinched the Region 7 title by beating Orem in the Battle of Mace, 66-12. The Bruins went 6-0 in its region meets and went an incredible 24-1 on the season in dual meets.
In the big win against their rival, the Bruins got wins from Kevin Weekes (106), Gable Stoddard (113), Raul Mateos (120), Tyler Blevins (126), Aaron Hyatt (138), Hunter Chariton (145), Cameron Williams (152), Kyle Weekes (160), Alan Aragon (182), Manuel Avila (195), Christopher Esparza (220) and Ryley Horrocks (285). Orem’s two wins by pin came from Kyler Tuley (132) and Jereni Skipps (170). The best bout of the night came at 138 pounds when Hyatt defeated Orem’s Justin Evans in sudden victory, 7-5.
Pleasant Grove took home the Region 4 title last week with its dominating win over Skyridge and didn’t have a league dual this week. The Vikings are setting their sights on their ninth state title in 10 years and will compete at the 6A Divisional this weekend hosted by West High School.
There were some tournaments held this weekend but the typical course coaches took was to sit out any banged up wrestler after a series of grueling weekends.
Pleasant Grove travel to Kamas to compete in the 6-team High-Country Classic hosted by South Summit. But again, many, but not all, of their varsity wrestlers sat out.
Bear River won the tournament, Altamont was second and Pleasant Grove actually finished third.
Jake Richardson (170) did win the tournament for the Vikings while Logan Lemone (113), Philip Boban (220) and Drew Dennison (285) brought home silver medals.
Wasatch traveled north to compete in the Davie Swensen Invitational hosted by Mountain Crest.
Much like Pleasant Grove, the Wasps only sent a few varsity wrestlers.
Wasatch placed third in the 9-team invitational as host Mountain Crest took home the gold trophy while Juab was second.
Heath Clyde (113), Deklan Kelly (120), and Stockton O’Brien (145) all climbed to the top of the podium for the Wasps while Treyson Davis (126) placed second.
In other dual meet action this week Tooele thumped Cedar Valley 71-6, Spanish Fork slugged Provo 54-18, Wasatch whipped Uintah 36-30, Skyridge slammed American Fork 52-21, Westlake crushed Cedar Valley 73-6, Springville slipped past Salem Hills 42-35, while Mountain View mauled Timpanogos 51-21 and tripped up Farmington 41-30.
And in one of the most unusual dual meets Maple Mountain defeated Salem Hills. Maple Mountain played host but found all its gyms not available for competition. But the show went on as the meet was moved to the auditorium and the mat was a perfect fit for the stage.
For the third straight year, an out-of-state team won the Rockwell Rumble, which was held at the Legacy Center in Farmington, Utah, this weekend.
Windsor, Colorado, who had won the last two tournaments, was bested by Clovis, California who ran away with the team title with 337.5 points. Windsor was second at 221.5 points while Juab was the top Utah team in third place with 179.5 points. Mountain Crest (161) and Wasatch (155) rounded out the top five.
Rockwell Rumble founder and tournament director Cole Kelley was more than impressed with Clovis, who crowned four individual champions and placed a wrestler in 12 of the 15 weight classes used in the tournament.
“Clovis is a program that is consistently in the hunt to win the California state tournament and consistently ranked as one of the top programs in the country,” Kelley said. “Attracting the quality of teams like Clovis and Windsor, Colorado, speaks to the quality of competition in Utah and the reputation of the Rockwell Rumble. There are other highly ranked programs that are considering making the trip to Utah in 2021.”
West Valley High School from the San Jacinto, California area also made the trip as two Golden State programs were willing to travel to the Beehive State. The tournament also attracted teams from Idaho, Wyoming and Nevada.
Kelley is also hoping to return the Rockwell Rumble back to Utah County after having the 2017 tourney at the Wasatch Event Center in Heber City and this year’s event in Farmington at the Legacy Center.
“Our first choice for a venue has always been the UCCU Center,” Kelley said. “We hope to return to UVU in 2021, but we often find ourselves taking a back seat to the WAC basketball schedule. The economic impact of this event has been significant and we hope Utah County continues to be the financial beneficiaries of this event.”
Three local wrestlers did pin down titles as American Fork’s Dallan Hunsaker (106 pounds), Wasatch’s Stockton O’Brien (145), and Provo’s Jimmy Tomasi (285) were able to climb to the top of the podium in brackets that featured close to 64 wrestlers.
For Hunsaker and Tomasi, their opponents were more than familiar.
Hunsaker pinned Richfield’s Dayson Torgerson in the second round. The two wrestlers battled at the Dollamur All-Star Dual where Hunsaker won by an 8-3 decision.
Tomasi defeated Fremont’s Weston Warr for the second time in a calendar week as the two grapplers also met at the All-Star Dual. Both matches were close 2-point affairs, but this time Tomasi didn’t need extra time to defeat the Silverwolf grappler, posting a 6-4 win.
Like Hunsaker, O’Brien won by pin in his match against Amado Castellon from Cimarron Memorial out of Las Vegas, Nevada.
Two of O’Brien’s teammates made the championship finals but fell to wrestlers from Windsor.
River Wardle (132) was defeated by Dominick Serrano 15-5, while Sammy Heywood (138) lost to Vance Vombaur, 8-2. Incidentally, Vombaur’s father, Ben Vombaur, actually was the head coach at Wasatch High School for a short time in the early 2000s.
Two other Utah County wrestlers earned silver medals while falling to wrestlers from Clovis. Payson’s Cole Jensen (120) lost to George Rosa, 7-0, while Pleasant Grove’s Jake Richardson (170) was defeated by Giano Petrucelli, 3-0.
Though the competition was keen in all weights, Kelley thought the 138-pound division was extra elite.
“The 138-pound class was a loaded weight class,” Kelley said. “Windsor, Colorado, stand out Vance Vombaur won the weight class, but you had a returning 3-time state champion Tyson Humphreys, who is favored to win his fourth state title in February, take fifth in this weight class. Wasatch’s two-time returning state champion Sammy Heywood was the runner-up to Vombaur. Shadow Ridge out of Nevada and Clovis also brought placers from this weight class.”
Beyond the wrestlers mentioned by Kelley, Juab returning state champion Channing Warner, who beat Humphreys at the All-Star Dual, was also among the tournament’s placers as was Mountain Crest’s Gabe Sanders, a returning 4A state champion who actually placed third. Skyridge’s Hadley Cowan, who has placed second in 5A state twice, placed seventh.
Westlake’s Jacob Finlinson also won a Rockwell watch, a prize given to the top three finishers in their weight class, by placing third at 126 pounds.
Other team finishes for Utah County teams were Pleasant Grove (sixth), Payson (10th), Westlake (24th), Maple Mountain (28th), American Leadership Academy (32nd), Lehi (34th), American Fork (35th), Timpview (37th), Skyridge (40th), Mountain View (43rd), Salem Hills (48th), Spanish Fork (52nd), Provo (54th), Springville (60th), Timpanogos (63rd), and Cedar Valley (69th). A total of 77 teams entered wrestlers in the Rockwell Rumble this year and over 800 wrestlers battled for medals.
There was another large tournament in Davis County called the Rockwell Battle of the Brave hosted by Bountiful High School.
Lone Peak placed fifth out of 24 competing teams as Zeb Mendenhall (160) placed third. Orem was 19th. Canyon View won the tournament.
At the Battle of the Mine hosted at Tintic High School the host school placed third while Maeser Prep placed sixth in the 8-team field. Wayne won the tournament title.
Tintic’s Gage Christensen placed first at 170 pounds as did Maeser Prep’s Hunter Anderton (152).
In dual meet action during the week Provo pummeled Springville, 45-25; Spanish Fork slugged Park City, 55-24; Wasatch walloped Salem Hills, 59-18; Corner Canyon charged past American Fork, 39-33; Mountain Ridge slipped by Lehi, 39-30; Pleasant Grove pounded Skyridge, 60-16, Timpanogos, 64-6; while Lone Peak edged Westlake, 40-37, but lost to Lehi, 57-21.
Complete results of these dual meets and tournaments can be found at www.trackwrestling.com.