Wrestling Update: Preparing for Major Divisional Tournaments | News, Sports, Jobs

Wrestlers stand for the national anthem ahead of the 2022 Ross Brunson All-Star Duals at the UCCU Center in Orem on Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2022. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)

It’s been a wrestling-light week as teams focus on their final doubleheaders and generally avoid weekend events to prepare for their upcoming divisional tournaments. And this year, there will be divisional qualifying tournaments for girls, as a substantial increase in numbers makes it necessary to eliminate some competitors.

Girls Fight

Westlake and Corner Canyon will host the Division A and B tournaments on Friday and Saturday, respectively.

Defending 6A State Champions Westlake will enter 25 wrestlers in the divisional tournament while Lone Peak and Skyridge will have much smaller teams.

The Thunder have returning state champions Jamie Barton (110 pounds), Celeste De’Toles (125), Lizzie Shunn (140) and Emmy Finlinson (145). Ashley Cannon (115), Hailey Piig (140/145) and rookie Keilikki Rarick (235) give the Thunder some extra firepower.

Syracuse should also bring a great team but the Titans haven’t shown Westlake’s quality.

The Thunder should run away with the division title hoping they can qualify the bulk of their squad and then drown out the competition with quality and quantity in the state meet. Skyridge will be competing in the Divisional A tournament and Lianny Barrena (110) is definitely a Falcon grappler to watch.

American Fork and Pleasant Grove will head north to Corner Canyon. Neither team will threaten in the tag team race, though Brooklyn Hays (155) of Pleasant Grove hopes to repeat as the state champion. Host Corner Canyon is set to square off with Copper Hills, last year’s 6A finalist, and Riverton for the tag team title.

Brighton High School will host both divisional 5A tournaments.

Maple Mountain, which won the 1A-3A/5A tournament last season, will compete in the Division A tournament, which appears to be the stronger of the two divisions. Mountain View, Northridge and Uintah should pose a formidable challenge to the Golden Eagles.

Maple Mountain has returning finalists Donna Wright (120), Nya Seiluli (190) and Aurelia Ramos (235) to accompany returning state champion Morgan Honsvick (245). Ellie Jensen (110) is another top Golden Eagle wrestler.

Mountain View counts with returning runner-up Zarieh Power (135) and Esther Han (140), a nationally ranked move.

Timpview will enter this tournament with her two stalwart competitors Kaianne Sabagala (130) and returning state champion Taimane Fiatoa (170). Provo’s Katelyn Wolf (130) could challenge Sabagala and is a returning place from the state. Braylin Jones (135) of Salem Hills is also a wrestler to watch.

In the B Division tournament, Springville looks like the team to beat with 12 girls entering the tournament.

Freshman Emeri Mortimer (105) is looking to follow in her older sister Sage’s footsteps and claim a state title. Another Red Devil rookie to watch is Ava Barker (115) while returning runner-up Izzy Clements (125) wants gold this year.

Springville has returning state champ Hotaia Valeti (155) and other key experiences come from returning state placers Laura Weakley (120) and Valery Ethington (125), while Karalie Harris (140) is also notable .

Payson’s January Langston should be a contender at 100 pounds and Cedar Valley has two contenders in AnnaLee Wright (115) and Alexia Woods (120).

The American Leadership Academy (ALA) will participate in the Divisional B tournament for combined classifications 1A-3A.

The Eagles will be led by returning state champions Rachel Camacho (110) and Olivia Carrillo (140). The ALA could be the team to beat in their division, then they hope to challenge Juab, who have been the top team in the small school standings this season.

boys wrestling

Pleasant Grove should be complete with a full roster when the Vikings hit the mats in Corner Canyon’s Division A tournament.

Jacob Carson (120), Koda DeAtley (138) and Kort Wilkinson (285) are returning state finalists who will lead the Viking charge, but Pleasant Grove has plenty of top wrestlers, including Israel Gonzalez (120), Bradley Farrer (132), Damian Neuwirth (132/138), Max Benson (144), Trevyn Gates (175) and Hunter Gillman (175). The Vikings will enter 28 wrestlers with realistic hopes that all of them could qualify for the state tournament.

Skyridge will head north with Pleasant Grove with returning state champion Josh Millward (150) in the lead. Erol Yellowhair (106) and Billy Ferguson (157) are the other top Falcon contenders.

Westlake will host the Division A tournament and hope the home stack advantage will help them defeat Layton, Mountain Ridge and Syracuse in what looks to be the stronger of the two divisions.

Westlake has returning state champ Breydon Robison (132) in the lead, but the Thunder’s other top grapplers are rookie Korbin Chuchran (106) and Josh Fish (125), as well as returning state placers Cameron Baum (138), Tucker Butler (144), Jace Brower (150), Jacob Green (157) and Mason Bodell (285). The Thunder are a deep team, much like Pleasant Grove, and their hopes for a 6A title rest on qualifying most of their 28-team squad in good position for the big tournament.

American Fork and Lone Peak lack the depth of Westlake but have stars that will impact team racing.

The Cavemen have Dallan Hunsaker, a three-time runner-up and state champion two years ago, likely to fight at 132 pounds. Freshman Tege Kelley (120) is also a strong contender and Wade Mecham (113) seems to be showing well.

Lone Peak was bolstered by the transfers of Skyridge brothers Cayaen (175) and Mahkyi (190) Smith, both ranked number one in their weight classes. But the Knights also put him back Cooper Mumford at 285 pounds and Corbin Baumgartner (165) had a good season.

Most schools in the Utah Valley compete in 5A. Payson is the defending state champion, but Uintah, who went from 4A to 5A this season, is the favorite this year. But Payson, and even Wasatch, still have gold trophy aspirations.

Payson and Wasatch will face off in the Divisional B tournament hosted by Alta on Friday and Saturday.

Payson had a great combination of power and star depth, as evidenced by his JV team going 4-1 against college competition in the 5A Duals two weekends ago.

The Lions are led by returning state champ Aaron Garcia (113), but the Lion’s other top grapplers include returning state placers Eduardo Cabrera (120), Ethan Boulton (126), Will Dixon (130) , Colton Theobald (144), Trevor Frank (150), Kelton Smith (157), Layne Osborn (165) and Landen Shurtleff (175). Angel Fuentes (215) has also won or been a runner-up in several major tournaments this year and Quayde Beck (165) is turning heads.

Heath Clyde (126), Ryder Robison (132) and Austin Kelly (138) give Wasatch tremendous firepower at the lower middleweight. But the Wasps are bolstered by returning state runner-up Bryson Lloyd (144), along with Parker Hayes (120), Christian Slack (157), Charlie Fassold (165) and Kolby Cluff (175). Other Wasps to watch include Miles Kohler (120) and Hank Hanssen (138).

Lehi and Mountain View aspire to finish in the top five of the state tournament and need a strong division to put that in place.

Lehi’s strength comes from his top weight wrestlers, as Will McCleary (190) and Isaac Terrell (285) are strong threats to win the division and state titles. Danny Hoyal at 215 pounds is also a solid Pioneer grappler.

Mountain View has two returning state finalists. Gable Stoddard (113) took second place in the state last year while Cody Burr (132) was a state runner-up two years ago. Tyson Blevins (144) and Cameron Williams (165) also had strong seasons for the Bruins.

Timpanogos will compete in the B Division tournament and will be led by freshman sensation Connor Knudsen (106). Christian Beesley (119) and Michael Fox (150) are wrestlers to watch for Provo and Timpview respectively.

Several county teams will travel to Vernal for the Division A tournament as Uintah hosts.

The Utes should win the division fairly easily, but several Utah County teams will be battling for the top spots.

Salem Hills came out strong in the 5A Duals at Mountain View and Breyton Banks (106), Luke DeGraffenreid (150), Dawson Wood (175) and Monson Morley (215) are contenders in their weights.

Opponents should also be wary of Spanish Fork as the Dons have several outstanding wrestlers in Karson Shelley (106), Evan Propokiw (132), Junior Wetzel (132/138), Bridger Warren (138) and Ammon Anderson (157).

Maple Mountain has 2020 state champion Andrew Jensen (195) in the lead, but other top Golden Eagles wrestlers include Hixon Canto (150), Joshua Biesenger (175) and Joshua Jackson (285).

Springville has two serious contenders in Andrew Weakley (144) and Tevita Valeti (175). Other Valley wrestlers to watch are Braiden Balmforth of Cedar Valley (113) and Hudson Dousett of Orem (190).

ALA will participate in the 3A Divisional B tournament which will take place at the Sevier Event Center in Richfield. The Eagles will be led by three-time state finalist and 2019 state champion Lukus Carrillo (144). Andrew Fox (113) is a serious title contender and brothers Kendal (132) and Traeton (138) Rasmussen are also hoping to soar for the Eagles.

The top eight wrestlers from each division will qualify for the state championships.

In last week’s doubles competition, Morgan beat Wasatch 33-32, Mountain View mauled Timpanogos 46-22, Timpview doubled Provo 48-24, Tooele passed Cedar Valley 35-30, Skyridge slammed Farmington 51-27, Salem Hills edged Maple Mountain 38-37, Payson pinned Corner Canyon 48-17, Copper Hills edged American Fork 40-35, Emery facilitated by Maple Mountain 45-33, and Riverton beat Mountain View 33-28 . And in the Battle of the Forks (and brothers Kip and Eric Spencer as each school’s head coaches), Spanish Fork beat American Fork 36-33.

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