The Bear River Valley is known for having exceptional wrestlers at every level, including their junior high team which finished their season on Saturday, Jan. 26, taking second place as a team in the 4A division (not fifth place as the Leader erroneously reported in last week’s paper). The Bears placed behind Payson High, a team that will move to 5A next year.
Over the past six years, while the Bear River team has competed in both the 3A and 4A divisions, they have only been runners up three times while capturing three state titles. Those team state titles were in 2018, 2017 and 2016.
This year’s state tournament was held in Richfield, Utah with wrestlers in 4th to 6th grades competing based off of weight and wrestlers in 7th to 9th grades also competing in weight divisions.
Cooper Branch at 119 pounds in the 4th to 6th grade division took first place pinning Tyler Christensen from Millard. Jeshua Koch took first at 210 (7th to 9th grade) pinning Talaiasi Hosea from Juab in the finals. This is Koch’s third individual state title.
Four Bear River wrestlers took second at the tournament and includes Daxston Bingham (67 4th to 6th grade), Randy Smith (180-4th to 6th grade), Kayden Ward (80-7th to 9th grade) and Broncs Rinderknecht (116-7th to 9th grade).
Finishing in the top six at the tournament were Kason Rees, Keaton Smith, Dustyn Deakin, Vincent Fertig, Max Anderson, Chet Kunzler, Max Miller, Caleb Korth, Kyle Detwiler, Dustin Douglas, Dominik Benedetto, Travis Hatch, Kwade Kosoff, Tristen Sorensen and Ryker Hatch.
“The end result is great but it is really about the journey,” said Coach Morgan Robertson. “I have seen so much personal and wrestling growth. It makes me happy.”
To top off the season the Bear River Junior High wrestling program has had 34 individual state titles so far. This youth program feeds directly into the Bear River High wrestling program.
This year’s coaching staff at the state tournament included Josh Staheli, Joe Deakin, Dave Detwiler, LaRon Stokes, Kim Hatch, Chuck Bingham, Randy Hatch, Ricky Hatch, Jeremy Korth, Chris Hawkes, Nate Wright, Dalan Smith, Tymer Yeates and Robertson.