Simply put, it was a weekend to remember for Tanner Lofthouse, who clearly served notice he is one of the Beehive State’s top high school wrestlers regardless of weight or classification.
The Mountain Crest senior went 6-0 at the Rockwell Rumble, which is far and away Utah’s most prestigious tournament. The second-seeded Lofthouse triumphed over top-seeded Isaac Wilcox of Olympus, 4-3, for the title at 160 pounds Saturday at the UCCU Center in Orem.
It was the best victory by a Cache Valley wrestler this season — if not recent memory — as Wilcox is the third-ranked grappler in the entire state regardless of weight or classification. Wilcox, a returning state champion who dominated everyone at state last year, handed Lofthouse his only setback of the season, a 1-0 nailbiter a couple of week ago.
RJ Bingham, a first cousin of Lofthouse, captured a Rumble title for the Mustangs as a senior a year ago.
“Tanner’s win over Wilcox, it was special, it was amazing,” MC head coach Davie Swensen said. “You know, Wilcox is ranked in the nation, so that was just an exceptional win, and that’s the one that put us ahead of Bear River (in the team standings), plus Uintah and Payson and all of the other 4A teams.”
Indeed, Lofthouse’s win highlighted a memorable tournament for Mountain Crest, which placed fifth out of 81 teams. The Mustangs racked up 148 points and only finished behind Maple Mountain (161), Wasatch (165.5) and two teams from Colorado — champion Windsor (208.5) and runner-up Castle View (170). Bear River was sixth with 145.
The remarkable thing is Mountain Crest surely would have finished second had Eli Wells competed and had Brayden Guthrie not gotten sick. The Mustangs wisely elected to have Wells, a returning state runner-up, wrestle at a much smaller dual-style tournament. The senior has missed more than a month with a knee injury and this weekend was his first action since before the holiday break. Also, Mountain Crest’s Jace Dart suffered a head injury in his semifinal match at 138 pounds, otherwise he likely would have scored more team points.
“They’ve had us ranked 15th in the power rankings all year and I’ve actually been a little bit angry about it,” Swensen said. “I mean, it’s just a total lack of respect, I think, and so I think maybe people better start noticing what’s really happening. ... We’re not the 15th-ranked team in Utah.”
Lofthouse was one of two finalists for the Mustangs. Braydon Mogle, the No. 2 seed at 113 pounds, lost to top-seeded Will Vombaur of Windsor, 10-2. Mogle was the only athlete to go the full three rounds against Vombaur, a 2016 state champion, at the Rumble.
It was only Mogle’s second loss of the 2017-18 campaign and he avenged his only other setback by outpointing Scott Robertson of Bear River, 6-3. Mogle improved to 2-1 against his Region 12 rival this season. Mogle also defeated a returning 3A state runner-up and pinned a ranked opponent in the latest 3A wresteutah.com poll in this tournament.
The Mustangs had two other placers at the Rumble in Dart (sixth) and freshman Tony Lopez, who was fourth at 106 pounds. Lopez won eight matches this weekend, including three against ranked foes. The freshman also gave top-seeded Zackary Bingham of Bear River fits in their third-place bout.
“Tony Lopez, holy mackerel,” Swensen said. “I mean, you go to the biggest tournament in the West, 80 teams and he gets fourth, and I thought he was going to turn Bingham. He rode him the entire third round and Bingham had had enough, and Bingham’s tough. We beat a lot of good kids with (Lopez), it’s amazing. He’s wrestled for like seven weeks in reality. He wrestled a little tiny bit in junior high, but not really. ... I almost can’t fathom what he’s doing.”
Hunter Evans (126 pounds) and Josh Powell (170) won four duels apiece for the Mustangs, while Logan Mano (132) and Kart Smethurst (132) won three each. All four of them bested at least one ranked opponent and both of Mano’s losses were by two points to kids ranked first or second in their classification at 132 pounds. Smethurst dropped a one-point heartbreaker to 4A’s top-ranked 132-pounder. Powell’s loses were by two and three points, respectively.
It was also a very good weekend for Ridgeline’s Chance Parker, who gamely bounced back from his loss to Dart earlier this week in a region dual. Parker went 6-2 and placed fourth at 138 pounds. The junior outpointed a pair of ranked foes and nearly upset second-seeded Shawn Sorensen of North Sevier in the consolation finals.
Parker rode Sorensen, a returning state champ, the entire third round and nearly secured back points. However, Sorensen got out of a bad situation and escaped with a 3-1 decision.
“Chance is just a hard-nosed, grind-it-out type of kid, but he is never out of a match, and that’s what we love about Chance, and his desire and love for wrestling,” RHS assistant coach Dustin Lowe said. “... What an outstanding job by Chance to place fourth at this tournament.”
Colter Ricks (126), Garrett Roberts (170) and Matt Thalman (195) emerged victorious three times each for the Riverhawks at the Rumble. Ridgeline finished 30th, which is a noteworthy accomplishment for a second-year program at a tournament like this.
Another local grappler who shined was Preston’s Ben Seamons, who made it all the way to the consolation finals at 182 pounds. The returning state titleist got the best of six competitors at the Rumble — three ranked foes, including a returning state champion from Nevada by a convincing major decision. The senior’s only loses at the tournament were to the No. 1 and 4 seeds in the bracket.
Wells dominated all of his opponents for Mountain Crest’s JV squad, which competed at a varsity tournament at Northridge High. Green Canyon was also at that tourney and it had two athletes combine to go 10-0 in Jackson Hancey (113) and Hayden Harris (182). Hayden Bennett (138) went 4-1 with four pins for the Wolves.
It was a solid weekend for Sky View and Logan at a 18-team bracketed tournament that concluded Saturday at Bountiful High School. The Bobcats finished fourth with 126.5 points, while the Grizzlies were seventh (85 points). South Sevier edged Gunnison for team bragging rights, 204-198.
Sky View crowned two champions and had two other finalists, while Logan went 1-1 in the championship round. For the third time in the past nine days, Sky View’s Ryan Hansen outpointed Logan’s Lance Sanchez — this time 9-2 in the finals at 145 pounds.
“There’s obviously some things that we need to work on with Ryan,” SV head coach Bardett Bagley said. “Sometimes it’s hard to find him good matches and kids that will push him a little bit. That’s why last week we wrestled Brock (Hardy of Box Elder), so we could see some stuff he needed to work on. So that’s the biggest thing is just really getting him tuned up, but he is looking really good.”
A pair of Bobcats squared off for the top spot of the podium at 195 pounds, and it was a thriller. Hunter Larsen edged Trevor Barrus, 8-7, in triple overtime with an escape point. Barrus decisioned Larsen for third place at the Richardson Memorial earlier this month.
“I just wanted them on different sides of the bracket and hoped they’d meet in the finals, which they did, and it was another classic match between the two of them,” Bagley said.
Logan’s Isaac Semadeni beat all comers in his second tourney in as many weeks. The senior earned a convincing 11-4 championship round victory over Taylorsville’s Caleb Schulte, who is ranked third in 5A at 160 pounds.
Sanchez battled his way to victory over a ranked opponent in the semifinals. In addition to Sanchez and Semadeni, other medalists for the Grizzlies were Jacqe Miller (sixth, 152), Jose Romero (fifth, 220) and Quincy Wildman (sixth, 285). Logan finished second in the JV tournament, only two points behind the titleist.
“Isaac wrestled a close match until the third period, when he really took control and scored a bunch of points.” LHS head coach Andrew Semadeni said. “This was a good tournament for our kids and our team did well.”
Sky View’s other finalist was Payton Bagley (132), who only lost by five points. Tony Torres was the consolation champ at 170 pounds for the Bobcats. Other Sky View placers were Gino Demuzio (sixth, 120), Antuan Phillips (fifth, 138), Terrell Buttars (fifth, 160) and Desmond Phillips (sixth, 170).
Ridgeline brought some of its JV kids to this varsity tourney and Brendan Gessel won three matches and finished sixth at 126 pounds.