It was sweet redemption for Ridgeline standout wrestler Grace Montierth.
The senior pinned both of her opponents at the Ross Brunson High School All-Star Dual, which took place Tuesday at Telos High School in Orem. The All-Star Dual is one of the Beehive State’s most popular high school wrestling competitions.
Montierth dispatched of Lusimoni Vakalahi of Copper Hills early in the second round to earn another shot at Maple Mountain’s Nya Seiuli. Seiuli beat Montierth 5-2 in the 245-pound championship match at the Lady Pirates Invitational a month ago, but the two-time defending state champion got her revenge as she stuck Seiuli 33 seconds into the third and final round.
Montierth also competed in the All-Star Dual as a junior, where she lost by decision to Layton’s Kathleen Janis. Montierth was able to avenge that loss at the state tournament with a 3-0 victory over the six-time freestyle and folkstyle All-American in the 200-pound title bout. Janis, a former NHSCA national champion, is now wrestling at King (Tennessee) University.
Indeed, Montierth is a very accomplished grappler.
“We couldn’t be prouder of our Grace,” Ridgeline head coach Melanie Montierth said. “She’s worked hard having to battle it out with the boys the last two years and has come back strong after multiple injuries. It’s a good feeling to see that hard work and dedication pay off, and watch her shine during what is arguably the toughest competition of the season. It was great to see her come back after the earlier season loss against Nya.
“It’s been awesome to see the growth of girls wrestling here in Utah and (that they’ve been given) a chance to wrestle against their peers now.”
Montierth was one of nine athletes from Cache Valley who showcased their talents at the 21st installment of this event. Mountain Crest was represented by Easton Evans (106 pounds), Terrell Lee (145), Gabe Sanders (152), Brock Guthrie (170), Cael Smith (182) and Walker Hutchinson (195), while Green Canyon had its first two All-Stars in program history in James Shumway (126) and Garrett Herzog (285).
Mountain Crest’s Cooper Sanders (132) and Ridgeline’s Kaden Kirk (170) were also selected to participate at the event, but elected to pull out as they try to get more healthy.
It was a challenging day for the local competitors on the boys side as Smith and Gabe Sanders were the only ones to prevail. Most of the local grapplers squared off against opponents who were either state champions or runner-ups a year ago.
Smith, who represented the 4A squad, and Sanders, who was on the Wildcard team, both secured hard-fought wins. Smith edged Beaver’s Cort Raddon, 7-5, while Sanders held off Pleasant Grove’s Zeke Kelley, 4-3. Raddon is a returning 2A state runner-up at 160 pounds, while Kelley is the second-ranked 145-pounder in Utah regardless of classification.
Like Montierth, Smith wrestled twice Tuesday as he lost to Mountain View standout Radi Stafford later in the evening. Stafford is the state’s third-ranked 182-pounder in the most recent wrestleutah.com individual power poll.
Bear River also had an All-Star in Landon Cabral, who held on to beat Milford’s Blake Barnes, 6-5.
Cabral and all of the local boys with the exception of Sanders and Guthrie competed for the 4A All-Stars. Sanders and Guthrie represented the Wildcard squad, which dominated the competition with 57 points. The 6A All-Stars were second with 39 points, followed by the 5A All-Stars (35), 3A All-Stars (21), 1A-2A All-Stars (21) and 4A All-Stars (20).
Because of COVID-19, the 2021 All-Star Dual was divided into three different sessions. Each participant was allowed to bring two spectators and no full teams were permitted to watch like in past years. The venue was cleared after each session.
A complete rundown of all the results can be found at trackwrestling.com.