Some of the top wrestlers in the state will square off against each other to raise money for a good cause Tuesday at Provo High School. In the third annual Wrestling Against Cancer Duals, 10 schools are scheduled to participate in five duals.
Three of those duals are scheduled for 6 p.m. with two following at 8.
The Wrestling Against Cancer Duals started in 2010 with three competing teams. There were supposed to be eight that first year but predicted blizzard conditions caused five teams to stay at home.
Last year, eight teams competed in a full slate of duals and the event has expanded to 10 teams this year.
The feature dual will pit defending 4A champion Maple Mountain against traditional 5A power Layton. Both teams have plenty of returning talent.
Maple Mountain features a returning three-time individual state champion and another two-time state champion who is considered a threat to win a national senior title in March. Britain Carter hopes to be the school's first four-time state title winner while Grant LaMont is gunning for national glory. Add in returning state champion Jesse Carlisle and returning state runner-ups Kimball Bastian, Josh Searle and Paul Harmon, and the Golden Eagles are the team to beat again in 4A this winter.
In just its fourth year of existence, the Maple Mountain program has made a meteoric rise, winning the state title last year. It is the wrestling hotbed of the state and the program is getting plenty of quality move-ins to augment an extremely talented wrestling base.
Meanwhile, Layton placed fifth in the 5A tournament last year after a runner-up finish in 2010. Ken Astle, who will likely sit out the first stages of the season with an injury, is gunning for a third state title and inside Utah, he gave LaMont his closest test losing to the Golden Eagle star 2-0 in the 2012 All-Star Dual, which pits the best wrestlers from all various classifications against each other.
Layton will definitely be a program to watch in the state's largest classification and Astle's brother Andrew, Davis Marriott, and Brayden Garcia are returning state placers for the Lancer program.
Murray's Dallas Howard will be another wrestler to watch Tuesday as the Spartans take on Mountain View. Howard placed second in the state meet in the 285-pound division last year and is the wrestler to beat this year in 4A.
Last year's dual between the Spartans and Bruins provided an entertaining contest that came down to the second-to-last match with Murray finally prevailing 42-33.
Host Provo will take on Lone Peak. Last year the Knights won this matchup 39-36. Provo built up a 36-9 lead but Lone Peak won the last five matches with three pins and two forfeits to claim victory.
Other duals will have West taking on Timpanogos and Timpview battling Westlake.
Part of Tuesday's proceeds go to the Wrestling Against Cancer Foundation set up by the late Ric Thompson and his wife Angie. Former Provo head coach Brian Preece started the duals after Thompson's death to help raise money for the foundation and honor his one-time coaching rival and friend. Thompson lost his battle with cancer Nov. 11, 2010, just days before the inaugural event.
Ticket prices are $5 for adults, $4 for students with seniors 65 and over free of charge.
Wrestling Against Cancer Duals
West vs. Timpanogos, 6 p.m.
Layton vs. Maple Mountain, 6 p.m.
Murray vs. Mountain View, 6 p.m.
Westlake vs. Timpview, 8 p.m.
Lone Peak vs. Provo, 8 p.m.
Story by Brian E. Preece who is a freelance sportswriter who has been published by the Deseret News, Salt Lake Tribune, Daily Herald and Coaches Quarterly Magazine. He was also the former head wrestling coach at Provo HS from 1994-2006.