It was the start to the 2019-20 season the defending 4A state wrestling champions were hoping for.
Mountain West traveled to Heber City for the annual Wasatch Intermountain Duals last Friday and made a big statement. The Mustangs handily dispatched of all five of their opponents, including defending 5A state champion Wasatch (52-21) and 5A runner-up Payson (44-27), plus 3A power Morgan (53-21), 2A power Millard (49-27) and well-respected 5A program Mountain Ridge (57-17).
Five Mountain Crest grapplers went undefeated at the dual-style tournament in returning state placers Terrell Lee (145 pounds), Gabe Sanders (152), Jordan Wakefield (160) and Walker Hutchinson (195). Lee and Sanders were state runner-ups last season, and Sanders was a 4A champion in 2019.
Lee and Wakefield beat a trio of returning state medalists apiece at the one-day tourney. Lee edged a 2020 5A consolation state champion from Wasatch, while Wakefield pinned a returning 2A state consolation titliest from Millard.
Six other Mustangs each emerged victorious over an opponent who earned a spot on the podium at the state championships last season in Cooper Sanders (138), Cael Smith (182), Gabe Sanders, Brock Guthrie (170), Elijah Larsen (132) and Hutchinson. Guthrie stuck a reigning 3A runner-up from Morgan, while Larsen dominated a defending consolation champ from Wasatch by major decision.
Guthrie, Smith and Easton Evans (113) each went 4-1 at the tournament, Carter Nelson (106) beat four of his four foes, and Cooper Sanders and Larsen finished with 3-2 records.
Mountain Crest welcomed back nine returning state placers, including champions Luke Schroeder and Cooper Sanders. Like Gabe Sanders and Lee, Evans was a silver medalist at the state tournament last season, while Wakefield and Guthrie placed third in their respective weight classes.
Ridgeline was also in action at the Wasatch Intermountain Duals and went 3-2 against some talented competition. The Riverhawks prevailed against Altamont (45-30), Mountain Ridge (38-34) and the Extras squad (52-18), and were outpointed by Wasatch (59-18) and Millard (48-24).
Heavyweight Damien Boehme went 4-0 for the Riverhawks and won all of this matches by fall. Brenden Gessell left Heber City with a 4-1 record and one of the 152-pounder’s wins was against a reigning state consolation champ from Altamont.
Likewise, Kaden Kirk (182) only lost one of his bouts. Kirk, a state finalist as a junior, beat a returning state placer from Millard and pinned a defending consolation state titleist from Altamont.
Ryan Orduno (120) reigned supreme against three of his opponent, while fellow Ridgeline teammates Hudson Mosher (106) and Ptallan Takis (195) both went 2-1.
Sky View, Preston and West Side were also in action over the weekend. The Bobcats traveled to Afton, Wyoming, for the Braves Brawl — a dual-style tourney they have been attending yearly for quite some time — while the Indians and Pirates competed at the Marsh Valley Invitational.
Sky View squared off against and lost to a trio of well-respected wrestling programs in Sugar-Salem (45-24), Star Valley (67-12) and Thunder Ridge (63-16). The short-handed Bobcats forfeited at four weight classes in every dual.
Jared Hepworth (220) and Porter Jackson (285) each won two of their three bouts for the Bobcats.
Preston was led by sophomore Emery Thorson, who went 4-0 and captured the title at 170 pounds at Marsh Valley’s round robin tourney. Thorson earned two hard-fought decisions, including one in overtime.
Caigun Keller went 4-2 and placed third at 145 pounds for Preston, while Brayden Weisback came away with three victories at finished fourth at 132 pounds. Jonathan Seamons (160) also secured the No. 4 position on the podium for the Indians.
All of those wrestlers competed in the A Division. West Side had two grapplers make some noise in other divisions. Wesley Millburn recorded three wins and was the bronze medalist at 160B, while Camilla Tew was also a consolation champion. Tew pinned three of her opponents en route to third place in the girls 125-pound bracket.
Two local high school girls basketball teams notched wins this past Saturday, while the Ridgeline boys lost at home to 5A program Salem Hills.
The Preston girls finished third in their annual tournament by beating Soda Springs for the second time this season — this time by a 37-22 scoreline. Preston (7-2) lost a 53-52 heartbreaker to eventual champion Snake River (8-0) in the semifinals.
Both teams struggled mightily to score in the opening half as Preston took a 8-5 lead into the locker room. Soda Springs was scoreless in the first quarter. The hosts won the third quarter by a whopping 20-4 margin to take control.
Riley Ward buried 4 of 5 3-pointers en route to a game-high 14 points for the Indians, who got nine points from Hailey Meek and four steals, three assists and three blocks from Mickayla Robertson.
Meanwhile, Mountain Crest (2-2) rolled to a 62-45 triumph over visiting Ogden. The Mustangs outscored the Tigers by 10 points in the first quarter (18-8) and by 12 in the second (19-7). Mountain Crest took a 24-point advantage into the fourth quarter.
No individual statistics were available for that game.
Salem Hills jumped out to a 18-12 lead over Ridgeline at the end of the first quarter and slowly pulled away. Spencer Adams led the Riverhawks (3-2) with 14 points, while Jake Smith chipped in with 10. Nine Riverhawks contributed in the final scoring tally.
“Salem Hills came in and really played well, credit them,” RHS head coach Kyle Day said. “There was a lot that we didn’t do well tonight, and that’s on me as a coach to have our guys ready to go in any situation. I know my guys will learn from it and get better.”