NORTH LOGAN — For the first time in school history, Green Canyon has a wrestling team that can compete with some of the better programs at the 4A level, although standout James Shumway isn’t about to be satisfied with a moral victory.
“Testing them is not what we were going for,” Shumway said. “We go out for blood, we go out to compete and make them scared of our team. ... But I can’t be disappointed tonight. We put up a great fight with all of our wrestlers and that’s all we can ask for.”
Make no mistake, Thursday’s 39-33 nailbiting loss to perennial 4A contender Bear River was a very promising sign for Green Canyon. The Bears and Wolves each won seven matches, but the visitors were able to pick up more bonus points in the Region 11 opener for both teams.
“I want to be careful about not getting too high,” GC head coach Ryan Webb said. “It was very encouraging, but we sat down in the wrestling room afterwards and I said, ‘listen, as good as this feels, this needs to be more of the norm moving forward. We need to have an expectation that we can compete with people (like Bear River).’ And so, yeah, it’s good to celebrate for about five minutes and then let’s get our noses back to the grindstone.”
Green Canyon got off to a strong start and ended the dual in style by winning four of the final five matches. However, Bear River was able to build a commanding 27-9 lead by prevailing in five consecutive duels — four in pinning fashion. Additionally, the Wolves had to forfeit at 220 pounds, albeit they would have been the underdog in that matchup.
Will Wheatley helped the hosts get back on track with a thrilling victory at 195 pounds. The freshman dug himself a 13-5 hole — partly due to conceding four technical violation points — but came storming back in impressive fashion to pin Justice Dworshak 38 seconds into the third round. Wheatley had just taken the lead when he finished off Dworshak.
“I just thought ... after the match it was all going to be worth it if I pushed my hardest, and it paid off after that, so yeah it felt great,” Wheatley said of his comeback. “It was a good win for me and the team.”
In addition to Wheatley, Shumway (126 pounds), Mason Morris (138) and Garrett Herzog (285) all stuck their opponents for the Wolves. All three of these athletes are having great seasons.
Morris is a two-time state placer who faltered a bit at the end of his junior season. The senior completed dominated Bear River’s Brayden Morgan in a showdown of grapplers ranked in the top five in their respective weight class in the most recent wrestleutah 4A poll. Morris just missed out on being selected for next week’s All-Stars Duals. The Wolves will be represented at that annual event by Shumway and Herzog.
“The honest truth, I don’t think Mason cares a bit about the All-Stars,” Webb said. “He hasn’t even mentioned it, I haven’t mentioned it. But I do think he’s ready to end his career on a high note and yeah he does feel like he had a pretty off divisionals and state last year, so he wants to right that wrong and finish strong and feel satisfied with his efforts. And he’ll do that.”
In the final bout of the evening, Shumway reversed his opponent straight to his back midway through the second round and secured the pinning combination.
“I love to test other wrestlers on their top position,” Shumway said. “I love to be on bottom and that’s where I feel like I succeed the most.”
A trio of Wolves were triumphant by decision in Daxton Darley (113), Aaron Shumway (120) and Jaron Darley (132). Daxton Darley and Shumway were pretty much in control the entire match, while Jaron Darley earned a hard-fought 8-5 win. He recorded takedowns in the final four seconds of the second and third rounds.
Bear River got pins from Dustin Douglass (145), River Smith (152), Cael Wilcox (160), Landon Cabral (170) and Kayden Ward (106). Green Canyon’s Lucas Blake (182) hung tough with Kaeson Burn, who is ranked in 4A, before falling 7-0.
OTHER THURSDAY DUALS
It was a great start to Region 11 action for Mountain Crest and Ridgeline, who both buried the competition on the road. The Mustangs blanked Sky View, 82-0, while Ridgeline dispatched of Logan, 69-6.
The Mustangs got pins from Easton Evans (113), Luke Schroeder (126), Elijah Larsen (132), Terrell Lee (145), Gabe Sanders (152), Jake Wakefield (160), Brock Guthrie (170), Cael Smith (182), Andrew Belles (220) and Jorgen Miller (285) — Lee, Gabe Sanders and Wakefield all in less than one minute. Cooper Sanders (138) and Walker Hutchinson (195) won by technical fall for Mountain Crest, which won the other two matches by forfeit.
“For (our) first competition in a while, I thought the team as whole did very well,” MC head coach Jay Tovey said. “Individually, we have a lot of things we can go over and improve on. We’re grateful for the opportunity to compete and hope to get better each time out.”
Prevailing in pinning fashion for Ridgeline were Hudson Mosher (106), Ryan Orduno (120), Ty Winward (126), Cam Craney (132), Brenden Gessell (145), Ethan Buchanan (152), Ptallan Takis (182), Roman Melani (195) and Damien Boehme (285). Logan forfeited at two weight classes.
Sam Pirtle (160) and Easton Dahlke (220) both overcame third-round deficits to win narrow decisions for the Riverhawks.
“It was a nice win,” Ridgeline head coach Jarrett Morrill said. “Logan fought hard. Several of their better guys matched up with some of our better guys, so we were able to win some of those matches, but (Logan) fought really hard. But I was happy too with the way our guys battled and we were able to pull out some close matches.”
Veteran Jacqe Miller (170) won by fall for the Grizzlies.