High school wrestling: State tournaments begin Wednesday at UVU
Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News
OREM — If wrestling happens to be your passion in life — get ready for complete and ultimate nirvana.
The state championship tournaments get underway tomorrow at Utah Valley University in UCCU Center.
The four-day tournament will award first- and second-place trophies in all five classifications as well as six individual places garnishing medals.
The two largest classifications, 4A and 5A, will have the floor tomorrow and Thursday. The first matches will start roughly at noon with wrestle-in matches in a single- elimination format with 10 mats going simultaneously.
After that, the fun really starts.
With five mats, the road to the championship begins and will continue throughout the remainder of the two days with the final championship matches taking place Thursday night.
The same schedule will be in place for 1A, 2A and 3A on Friday and Saturday.
Viewmont, Payson, Delta, Millard and Altamont all enter the tournament as the defending state champions, with most having a legitimate shot at claiming the crown once more.
However, the race in the 4A classification is certain to come down to the wire.
Box Elder needs to be considered the top threat to upend Payson for the title. The Bees had an outstanding showing in the 4A Northern Divisional Tournament last week, along with Mountain Crest, and look to be perhaps the best team in the state this season.
Box Elder coach Mike Ripplinger said he believes the 4A title will be up for grabs between Payson, Box Elder, Mountain Crest and Maple Mountain — who took care of things in the 4A Southern Divisional Tournament.
The Bees' and Mustangs' depth most likely will come into play.
If Box Elder and Mountain Crest can use their abundance of talented wrestlers to push through into the championship rounds — the game play will highly favor them, but if things start dwindling down to a points style match — Payson should reap the benefits.
Layton came into the season as the clear-cut favorite with strong wrestlers such as Derek Thomas, but as the year continued to tick along, teams such as Pleasant Grove and Syracuse started stealing the spotlight.
In the Region 1 Tournament, Syracuse ran away with things.
"We had 17 placers, but we did have some kids take sixth, and they don't qualify for state," said Syracuse coach Troy Brown at the Region 1 tournament. "(It) would've been nice to get a few more qualified for next week. That would've helped. It can be done, though. Viewmont did it last year."
Layton found itself finishing third behind the Titans and Davis and Viewmont placed fourth.
Pleasant Grove won the Region 4 Tournament in impressive fashion, sending 14 wrestlers to the championship round alone.
Wasatch is on the tail of Delta, and South Summit is making a strong case to be in title considerations.
The moral of the story:
It's anyone's game this year.
State wrestling tournaments
At Utah Valley University
Wednesday, Thursday for 5A, 4A classifications
Friday, Saturday for 3A, 2A and 1A classifications