Ravell Call, Deseret News
Note: For a complete recap of all the region wrestling tournaments the past two weeks, visit the Deseret News' new Wrestling Page.
Note: To view brackets, schedule and Deseret News Academic All-State teams, view the Official UHSAA state tournament program.
OREM — Thousands of individual high school wrestling matches have taken place over the course of the last few months, culminating in one desired destination.
For many athletes, the dream of being on the sport's biggest stage has arrived, the wait is finally over.
The state championship tournaments at Utah Valley University will pull out the mats on Wednesday and Thursday for the 5A and 4A classifications, followed by 3A, 2A and 1A over the weekend.
Here's a look at each classification to ease the anticipation for one more day:
In its Region 4 championship victory, defending state champion Pleasant Grove strung together a near-perfect performance.
The Vikings, in search of their 14th state title in school history, qualified 25 wrestlers in the 14 weight divisions in their impressive 229-point region win. Behind two-time state champion Korbin Levin's (120 pounds) 48-0 record, the Vikings are the predominant favorite once again this season.
Alta coach Barry Harrington, whose team captured the Region 3 championship in similar fashion, didn't hesitate mentioning that Pleasant Grove was still the top dog.
However, Alta will be considered a legitimate contender to dethrone the Vikings along with Region 1 champion Fremont and Region 2 champ Viewmont.
"I think we can surprise some people. I think we're going to be in it to win it and we can shock some upper teams," said Silver Wolves coach Cody Storey after Fremont seized its first region championship in school history. "I felt that we've progressively gotten better to the point that we can compete with the best of them."
Other returning state champs are Layton's Ken Astle (125 pounds), Brighton's Rami Haddadin (112) and Alta's Matt Findlay (103).
Yet again, the defending state champions are the front-runners for the 4A crown. Box Elder, which dominated last year's competition, is back on top after winning another region championship last week, when the Bees qualified 17 wrestlers for the state meet.
Clearfield captured its first region title in 17 years, but Maple Mountain looks to be the main threat to ending the Bees' run of 4A supremacy. The Golden Eagles flew past the Region 8 field with 524.5 total points and will send 25 wrestlers to the state championships.
"We beat them them earlier this year in a dual. I feel like our JV is really, really tough, and that's where it's going to be won or lost. Can our guys that took third or fourth at this tournament go to state and win matches and earn a place," said Maple Mountain coach Justin Judkins.
An interesting side story is Olympus' Brandon McBride in the 170-pound weight class.
The undefeated senior's miraculous wrestling career is coming to a close. He's looking to become a four-time state champion after winning a title his freshman season in Idaho, his sophomore year in Illinois and as a junior with the Titans.
Returning state champs in 4A are: Olympus' Brandon McBride (171), Box Elder's Rasten Yeates (135), Maple Mountain's Grant LaMont (130), Maple Mountain's Britain Carter (112) and Maple Mountain's Brandon George (103).
The Tortoise and the Hare is a well-known childhood coming-of-age story. The quick and speedy hare challenges the slow-paced tortoise to a race but eventually loses after foolishly taking a nap.
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