MILLVILLE — It’s been a solid start to the 2019-20 season for Ridgeline’s wrestling program, which looked sharp in its Region 11 opener.
The Riverhawks secured bonus points in every match they won en route to a 69-9 victory over Logan on Tuesday night. Ridgeline prevailed in pinning fashion eight times, once by technical fall and once by major decision, in addition to picking up 12 points via Grizzly forfeits.
“Coach (Jarrett) Morrill has done a great job of recruiting kids to come out to wrestle,” Ridgeline senior Rhett Gebert said. “We’ve got a lot of first-year wrestlers, but we also have a lot of really good wrestlers, a lot of dudes that are willing to put in the extra time, get the extra work after practice. So, I’m just really proud of my team and all the work that they’ve put in.”
Gebert, who is coming off an outstanding season as a linebacker for Ridgeline’s football team, was one of two Riverhawks who dispatched of their foes in the first round in Tuesday’s dual. The 160-pounder missed some time early in the season, but is rounding into form and is a legitimate contender to place at state.
“It feels good to be going back into the swing of things,” Gebert said. “I was out for a little bit, but I didn’t lose a lot. The grind, it’s always going, so it just feels good to keep going at it.”
One of Ridgeline’s other senior leaders, Colter Ricks, is off to an outstanding start to his final prep season as he has only lost one bout. The 145-pounder is a two-time state placer and is motivated to build on his junior campaign, in which he placed third at the 4A State Championships and lost a 1-0 heartbreaker in the semifinals.
“I’m hungry,” Ricks said. “I want to win it. I’ve been wrestling since I was 4 years old and my dream’s always been to win (a state title). And every day just wrestling with coach Morrill and all of the boys in our room, just trying to get to that title spot, (it’s something) I’ve been waiting for, for a long time.”
Ricks received a pretty good test from Logan’s Seth Lowrey before sticking his former teammate 46 seconds into the second round.
“I used to wrestle for Logan in junior high and so I used to practice with him, so it was just good to see old teammates and wrestle around with them, and especially Seth,” said Ricks, who is the seventh-ranked prep 145-pounder in Utah according to the most recent wrestleutah.com Power Poll. “He’s a decent wrestler and he put up a good fight.”
In addition to Ricks and Gebert, the Riverhawks got pins from Owen Munk (113 pounds), Caleb Pirtle (120), Dylan Nelson (126), Joseph Sena (195), Bridger Hammon (220) and Roman Melani (182), who went undefeated last weekend in a tournament hosted by Highland. Pirtle, Nelson and Hammon came from behind to pin their opponents. In fact, Hammon was trailing Ty Stearns 10-2 early in the third round before reversing his foe to his back. Nelson’s duel with Gabriel Flores was an entertaining one and was deadlocked at 8-8 in the second round before Nelson took control and finished things off midway through the third round via a chicken wing.
Ridgeline’s Ryan Orduno (106) was triumphant by technical fall, while teammate Kaden Kirk (170) won by major decision over Kadin Halona, 11-3.
A pair of veterans reigned supreme for the Grizzlies in Jaque Miller (152) and Quincy Wildman (285), who has shined so far during the 19-20 campaign.
Wildman’s athleticism was on display as he executed a slick move to dispatch of his foe 72 seconds into the opening round. Miller was sharp on his feet and on top in the first two rounds against Ethan Buchanan, but had to survive in the third round. Miller jumped out to a 14-1 lead, but battled hard to avoided getting pinned for the final minute or so of his 14-11 triumph over Buchanan.