The two-time 5A defending champion Wasatch Wasps don’t want to give up the 5A title without a fight and this past weekend Wasatch met up with Payson, last year’s 4A state champs that have moved up a classification. Wasatch won an epic dual meet, coming from behind to slip past Payson 34-33 to defeat the Lions at the Wasatch Intermountain Duals in Heber City on Saturday.

With Payson ahead 33-27, Declan Kelly (126 pounds) and River Wardle (132) secured a major decision and decision victory respectively to give the Wasps the dramatic victory.

The bouts started at 138 pounds and Wasatch’s Sammy Heywood, a two-time returning state champion, secured a victory over Trey Hiatt, 7-2.

Heywood’s win was followed by Stockton O’Brien, a three-time state champion, who earned a fall. The Wasps kept pouring it on as Alex Hendrix (152), Kolby Cluff (160) and Charlie Fassold (170) all picked up victories. Hendrix and Cluff won by pin where Fassold won a wild 18-14 decision over Payson’s Jason Butler.

Now trailing 24-0, the Lions finally got on the scoreboard as Braxton Monroe (182) picked up a 7-5 win in sudden victory over Brock Lloyd in a battle of returning state placers.

The shift in momentum was evident when Payson got a pin by Louis Williams (195), two forfeit victories at 220 and 285 pounds and a pin by Aaren Garcia at 106 pounds. Suddenly Payson had surged to a 27-24 lead.

Wasatch finally reversed the fortunes with a win by decision at 113 pounds by Heath Clyde which tied the score at 27-27.

Payson’s Cole Jensen (120) picked up a win by fall to put Payson ahead 33-27 but it just set up the heroics by Kelly and Wardle who delivered for the home crowd. Wardle, a two-time state champion, beat Wyatt Hone, who placed second in 4A last year, 6-1.

But Payson then bounced back to beat Mountain Crest who beat Wasatch so this meant all three teams finished the tournament 8-1 in their duals. The Lions overcame a 24-6 deficit to defeat Mountain Crest 36-34 winning six of the last eight bouts to win the match. Layne Osborn (145) clinched the Lion victory with a third round pin over Clay Gunnell.

But after adding up the points the three teams had earned over the weekend, Mountain Crest was deemed the tournament winner with Payson and Wasatch finishing second and third respectively.

The tournament featured the 4A, 5A and 6A returning state champions along with powerhouse out-of-state programs that included Kuna, Idaho, along with Green River and Sheridan from Wyoming.

Pleasant Grove finished 3-5, as did Maple Mountain, though the Vikings did prevail over the Golden Eagles head-to-head, 54-24.

Pleasant Grove was without three of its best wrestlers at this event as Oakley Ridge (152) and Drew Dennison (285) sat out the weekend while Jake Richardson (170) went with other Viking JV grapplers to compete in the varsity portion of the Viewmont Invitational.

Richardson, who placed fourth at Reno Tournament of Champions the previous weekend, went up a weight to put himself on a collision course with Box Elder returning state champion Lucas Cochran. Richardson fell short losing to the Bee star 4-2.

Thanks to the efforts of Richardson, Pleasant Grove actually placed ninth at the 16-team event. Timpanogos and American Fork finished eleventh and twelfth respectively

American Fork’s Dallan Hunsaker (113) placed second as he lost his first match of the season dropping a 9-4 decision to Box Elder’s Bridger Ricks, a returning 5A state champion. At 220 pounds, Breydon Jorgensen of Timpanogos earned a silver medal losing a heartbreaking 1-0 decision to Logan George of Highland, Idaho.

Duchesne, 2A powerhouse, actually won the tournament slipping past Highland. Host Viewmont was third, Box Elder fourth while Delta rounded out the top five.

A good share of Utah County teams were at the Christmas Clash, an invitational tourney hosted at the Legacy Center in Farmington and ran by USA Wrestling Utah.

Westlake finished second in the tournament as Spring Creek, Nevada lapped the competition for the second straight year.

Westlake crowned three individual champions with Jacob Finlinson (126), Dominic Castro (138) and Anthony Stockwell (285). Castro defeated Spanish Fork’s Dawson Shepherd in the championship match.

Three other Utah County grapplers climbed to the top of the podium with Lone Peak’s Zeb Mendenhall (170), Mountain View’s Radi Stafford (182) and Provo’s Jimmy Tomasi (285). Stafford defeated Westlake’s Ethan Shunn in the championship match while Mountain View’s Ryley Horrocks reached the final before falling to Tomasi, who was named as the Outstanding Wrestler of the Meet in the upper weight divisions. American Leadership Academy (ALA) had three silver medalists with Sage Mortimer (106), Skyler Rasmussen (113) and Hyrum Morley (145).

Mountain View was a distant third to Westlake in the team race. Other valley teams in the 33-team field were ALA (7th), Lehi (10th), Spanish Fork (13th), Springville (15th), Lone Peak (16th), Timpview (18th), Provo (19th), Orem (24th), and Cedar Valley (27th).

In other dual meet action during the week, Provo pummelled Cottonwood 66-12, Skyridge slammed Lone Peak 48-23, Juab beat Payson 41-31, Pleasant Grove pounded Corner Canyon 58-15, Westlake whipped American Fork 61-17, Skyridge ripped Riverton 40-24, Wasatch mauled Maple Mountain 52-21, Mountain View trounced Timpview 68-9, Juab agitated ALA 66-13 and Spanish Fork slipped past Springville with no score reported.

In a noteworthy result, Payson defeated the second team of Pleasant Grove at the Wasatch Intermountain Duals 84-0. And since it was a varsity competition, the Lions have tied the national record with a perfect 84-0 dual meet score. Lone Peak also defeated Granger 84-0 several years ago while Provo was actually the first Utah school and third nationally to accomplish the feat in 1997. And also unique to Provo’s 84-0 win over its rival Timpview was there were no forfeit victories as 14 actual bouts were wrestled.

Payson did accomplish the feat with 13 wins and one forfeit and the winning wrestlers for the Lions in order were Cole Carter (126), Wyatt Hone (132), Trey Hiatt (138), Layne Osborn (145), Trevor Frank (152), Braxton Kilmer (160), Jason Butler (170), Braxton Monroe (182), Louis Williams (195), Trevor Guzman (220), Jeffrey Varrant (285), Aaren Garcia (106), Ethan Boulton (113) and Cole Jensen (120).

Greg Wright, a member of the 1997 Provo team, officiated at the Wasatch Intermountain Duals this weekend.

Complete results of these tournaments and dual meets can be found at www.trackwrestling.com.