5A high school wrestling championships: Pleasant Grove notches 14th title

Published: Thursday, Feb. 16 2012 11:00 p.m. MST

Pleasant Grove's Korbin Levin (top) beat Antonio Meikel, Kearns, in the 120-pound class in the 5A tournament.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

To view more photos from this event, click here.

OREM — Black is the absence of light. It evokes an ambience of intimidation that many sporting teams use to influence an onset of emotional butterflies for opponents.

So, it comes as no surprise that Pleasant Grove uses the praxis of dyeing hair midnight black specifically for the state tournament qualifiers.

"It's just a tradition that we started a couple years ago," said PG captain Korbin Levin. "We just always do it for state — we dye it black."

Black is back.

The Vikings raided the 5A state tournament at Utah Valley University on Thursday night to treasure the wrestling championship for the 14th time in school history with an overall score of 237.0.

"Awesome," said Vikings coach Brock Moore when asked what it meant to the program to win its second consecutive 5A championship. "It's keeping the Pleasant Grove tradition alive. We're going to keep setting new goals and getting tougher each year."

Viewmont finished second, compiling a total score of 209. It marks the return as an upper echelon program for the Vikes, who had won six of seven titles before disappointingly finishing in 11th place last year.

Alta (152.0), Fremont (139.0), Layton (116.5), Kearns (111.5), Weber (101.5), Syracuse (82.0), Bingham (79.0) and Jordan (67.0) completed the top 10 in a field comprised of 24 schools.

Pleasant Grove will hang its 28th state championship collectively since opening its doors in 1912 with the wrestling program accounting for exactly half.

"The community supports Pleasant Grove and it feels good to have half of the school's state titles. There's going to be a lot more to come, pretty soon we're going to have a lot more than the school has together," said Levin. "Pleasant Grove wrestling is back. It feels good to be back-to-back as a team — I can't even explain."

Levin (120 pounds), won his third individual state championship and was named the most outstanding wrestler. He was one of two Vikings to stand atop the podium, along with his freshman brother Kyson.

"I always dreamed when I was watching my cousins when I was little. I wanted to be like them one day," said Korbin."

Kyson defeated fellow PG teammate Parker Christensen for the 106-pound belt.

"It's always a competition in the house (on) whose better," said Kyson after looking up to his brother for years and finally having the opportunity to win a title for himself. "My goal was to be a four-timer and he's only a three-timer. Hopefully I can get the next three years.

"I know I'm not better than him," quipped Kyson. "Maybe in the long run I will be, but for the next few years he'll always be able to whoop on me."

Korbin Levin was one of four 5A players to repeat as individual state champions: Alta's Matt Findlay (113), Brighton's Rami Haddadin (126) and Layton's Ken Astle (138).

Syracuse's Zane Rich dramatically claimed the 132-pound belt in the bout of the night against West Jordan's Cody Paraso. The grapplers were deadlocked at six points apiece to force sudden-death overtime.

In the extra period, Rich quickly succeeded with a two-point takedown for the win.

Other individual medalists were: Fremont's Brandon Barela (145), Alta's Gavin Godfrey (152), Weber's Mack Hunstman (160), Kearns' Brad Mortensen (170), Bingham's JJ Larsen (182) and Paul Langi (195), Viewmont's Tanner Palmer (220) and Layton's Carlos Turner.

Email: tphibbs@desnews.com

5A wrestling