It’s time for one of the Beehive State’s most popular high school wrestling events, and it will be well represented by athletes from Cache Valley.
That’s because 10 local grapplers were selected to compete at the Ross Brunson High School All-Star Dual, which will take place Tuesday at the UCCU Center in Orem. The action starts at 4:30 p.m. with six girls and six boys junior high school matches, followed by the high school bouts at 5:45.
In addition to highlighting some Utah’s top prep wrestlers, this event serves as a fundraiser for Utah Valley University’s program.
Cache Valley will be represented by one junior high athlete—future Ridgeline student Kemrie Grange—and nine high school athletes. Grange will square off against Maquelle Pace of the Champions club in the 90-pound weight class.
Grange’s older sister, Keagan, a current Ridgeline freshman, will also be in action as she will compete in the 105-pound class for the Wildcard squad. Keagan Grange’s opponent is Duchesne sophomore Breann Ivie, who is a defending state champion in the 1A-2A-3A division.
“The Granges are an asset to our program,” Ridgeline head coach Melanie Montierth said. “Daniel is one of our assistant coaches. … It’s wonderful to see the beginning of this family of wrestlers and know there is more talent and hard work entering our program in years to come. We are humbled to be able to represent Ridgeline in the All-Star Duals again this year. This is our first time having two female high school wrestlers at the All-Stars.”
Ridgeline’s other All-Star is senior Emi Stahl. The 125-pounder’s opponent is returning 5A state consolation champion Kathryn De Groot of Woods Cross. Stahl was the 4A state runner-up to Mountain Crest’s Eastyn Nyman as a junior.
“Emi has done a lot of offseason work—freestyle, camps, preseason, BJJ (Brazilian Jiu Jitsu), boxing—whatever keeps her working hard and learning,” Montierth said. “It’s a dedication that has surpassed what I’ve seen from her in preceding years.”
The 23rd installment of the All-Star Dual will feature fewer athletes than the previous several years as there will be 58 high school competitors on the girls side and 61 on the boys. The wrestlers used to be divided into six different teams, but there are four this year. The 5A and 6A All-Stars have been combined into one team this season, as have the 3A and 4A All-Stars and the 1A and 2A All-Stars. Per usual, there is a Wildcard squad.
The Mountain Crest girls led all local programs with four All-Stars. Showcasing their talents for the two-time reigning 4A state champion Lady Mustangs will be their four returning individual state champs in Mattee Turnbow (110), Jacie Shock (120), Eastyn Nyman (130) and Gracie Howard (170). All four of them will represent the 3A/4A squad.
“We are so excited to send four girls to the All-Star matches,” MC head coach Susan Dart said. “All four girls that are going are deserving of the honor and are some of the best wrestlers in the state. I am confident that they will each represent the 3A/4A team well.”
Nyman and Turnbow were also All-Stars a year ago and both athletes were triumphant. Turnbow prevailed in a thrilling 9-7 overtime match, while Nyman earned a dominant 14-4 major decision triumph over eventual 1A-2A-3A state champion Grace Holman of Juab.
Ironically enough, one of Nyman’s teammates will be squaring off against Holman this season in Shock, a sophomore who is aiming to become a four-time state champ. Holman is a senior.
Nyman, who is yet to lose a match this season, will face Panguitch sophomore Kieran Mooney. Nyman is arguably the best 130-pounder in the Beehive State.
Turnbow’s opponent is South Sevier freshman Shaynna Fillmore, while Howard will take the mat against Tintic sophomore Addison Kriegh.
The Mountain Crest boys will be represented by a trio of athletes in Carter Nelson (120), Easton Evans (126) and Jace McBride (157). Nelson and McBride will compete for the 3A/4A squad, and Evans for the Wildcard squad. This is the 22nd time at least one Mountain Crest boy has been selected for this meet.
This will be an especially big opportunity for Evans, who is making his third appearance at the All-Star Dual. The senior lost as a sophomore and prevailed in pinning fashion in just 80 seconds as a junior.
Evans, a two-time 4A champion and three-time finalist, will square off against Richfield standout senior Dayson Torgerson, who is aiming to become a rare four-time state champion. Both grapplers are currently ranked among the state’s top wrestlers regardless of weight class or classification as Torgerson is 20th in the Beehive Top 25, while Evans is 24th.
“That’s one we want,” MC head coach Jay Tovey said. “If there’s any match in the whole world that we want to prove that we’re the guy, this is it, so that one will be personal. ... I don’t want to speak for Easton, but I think we’re ready. We’re excited for that one; we want it. It’s a big deal.”
Mountain Crest’s other two matchups in the boys competition will be against foes from reigning 2A state champion Millard. Nelson will be making his second straight appearance at the All-Star Dual as he was edged by two points a year ago by a two-time state champion from Payson.
Nelson, a senior and returning 4A titleist, will face Millard senior Camden Moat. Moat was a 2A finalist as a junior. McBride, a senior and returning 4A runner-up, will take the mat against Millard sophomore Kaden Turner. Turner was a 2A runner-up as a freshman.
“For our program we’ve always had guys go to the All-Star meet and with them kind of slimming it down, we weren’t really sure who would go,” Tovey said. “And I’m excited for Jace. I know think that Jace has ever gone before. ... But Carter, he’ll do great. I’m excited for him. They need that kind of exposure —- tough matches in kind of a fun environment, so they deserve it. They’re all seniors, so that’s exciting for them. We’re excited for all three of those guys.”
In addition to the aforementioned athletes, Region 11 will also be represented by five Bear River girls at the annual event in Sadie Hardy (100), Abigail Trayhorn (140), Rhees Hatch (145), Bretlee Potter (235) and Sydnee Nelson (190). Hardy and Hatch are both returning 4A state champions, while Trayhorn was a 4A runner-up while competing for Sky View a year ago. The Lady Bears finished second to the Mustangs at the first two 4A State Championships.
Additionally, Bear River has three All-Stars in the junior high girls competition in Brook Misrasi, Londyn Gamble and Ameris Koch.