WEST VALLEY CITY — The state’s best prep wrestlers made their way to the Maverik Center to compete in the inaugural UHSAA super state tournament Saturday. The event featured many state champions from all classifications, but wasn’t quite what it could have been — or what organizers hope it will become in later years.
Notable absences included wrestlers from 5A champion Pleasant Grove, which had just two of its potential 11 wrestlers compete, Box Elder, which placed second in 4A a week ago, and Payson — among others.
“It’s disappointing that some of the top programs aren’t participating, but hopefully this becomes a recognized championship event in future years where everyone competes,” said Maple Mountain coach Justin Judkins. “It’s a chance for wrestlers of any class to prove they’re the best and that’s a great thing.”
4A champion Maple Mountain was well-represented with nine of its wrestlers reaching the finals of the super state tournament. Seven of them came away as super state champions.
“It was a fun thing for us and we probably didn’t take it as seriously as we did for the 4A state championships, but like I said, this is a tournament that is a great idea and something we’re more than happy and privileged to participate in,” said Judkins.
Leading the way for the Golden Eagles was three-time 152 weight champion Grant LaMont, who defeated Spencer Heywood of Wasatch 9-0. Younger brother Taylor LaMont took home the trophy for the 113 weight with a victory over teammate Marshall Curtis.
Saturday's marquee match was in the 126 finals where three-time 3A state champion Dusty Hone of Cedar narrowly defeated 5A champion Matt Findlay of Alta, 7-6. The match typified how close the rivalry between the two has become since both were freshmen.
“We had each won two matches against each other coming in, so I knew it would be a tough match,” Hone said. “Matt is a great wrestler and I know every time I go against him that it’s going to be tough and he knows it as well. Fortunately I was able to win tonight and it was just a lot of fun. It’s always fun going against Matt.”
The night’s other marquee matchup was in the 138 weight where 4A state champion Landon Knutzen of Maple Mountain went up against 5A state champion Zane Rich of Syracuse. Knutzen jumped on Rich early and won in a 20-6 route.
The 170 class perhaps typified the intrigue of the tournament — and possibly its potential — the most. DonE Fullmer from tiny 2A Millard High battled through a host of 4A and 5A wrestlers to come away with with the super state championship. He ultimately defeated Maple Mountain’s Kieffer Taylor in the finals 3-1.
While the super state tournament didn’t quite live up to its billing, the hope of administrators is that it will eventually grow into a UHSAA-recognized championship event. The UHSAA did sanction the event this year, and it will show up in each of the wrestler’s official records.
Super state champions
106 — Rock George, Syracuse
113 — Taylor LaMont, Maple Mountain
120 — Andrew Astle, Layton
126 — Dusty Hone, Cedar
132 — Johnny O’Hearon, Maple Mountain
138 — Landon Knutzen, Maple Mountain
145 — Jacob Armstrong, Salem Hills
152 — Grant LaMont, Maple Mountain
160 — Weston Taylor, Maple Mountain
170 — DonE Fullmer, Millard
182 — Josh Searle, Maple Mountain
195 — Jon Wixom, Maple Mountain
220 — Roy Nash, Taylorsville
285 — Michael Grace, Pleasant Grove
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @BrandonCGurney
Copyright 2016, Deseret News Publishing Company