High school wrestling: No. 1 Maple Mountain dominates Region 8 championship as expected
PROVO — Heading into this weekend’s Region 8 wrestling championship, Maple Mountain coach Justin Judkins challenged his heavily favored team to not only win the meet, but dominate in the process.
The No. 1 team in the state did just that.
The Golden Eagles won 11 of 14 individual titles and qualified 25 wrestlers to the 4A state tournament with a dominating two-day performance at Provo High School.
“I’m totally happy with the weekend. We knew what we wanted to do. We had specific goals set before we got here and we attained all those goals. I’m really pleased. The kids stepped up and did what they needed to do,” said Judkins.
Maple Mountain racked up 549 points, easily separating itself from second-place Mountain View at 376.5. Salem Hills, Orem and Springville rounded out the top five in Region 8.
“It shows that our hard work is paying off. It shows that our plan, for lack of a better term, with the schedule we have and wrestling as many varsity matches with our JV as we do, it means that it’s all coming together,” said Judkins. “This doesn’t happen by happenstance. It’s a plan by coaches and the kids fulfilling that plan doing their part.”
Even though only one wrestler per team counts toward the team standings at state this year, Maple Mountain is the favorite to repeat as 4A champ with so many quality wrestlers qualifying for the end-of-season meet.
Among them is Britain Carter at 120 pounds. The senior pinned all three of his opponents at the region meet to claim his fourth-straight region title. His pin of Orem’s J.J. Evans in the championship was particularly impressive considering Carter beat him by just one point three weeks ago.
Carter will now turn his attention toward making it four-straight state titles in two weeks.
Jon Wixom was even more dominant, as he pinned all four opponents to claim the 195-pound title. His victory over Mountain View’s Micah Gill in the championship was his 45th pin of the season, a new state record.
Of Maple Mountain’s 11 individual champs, five beat a teammate in the championship match.
Maple Mountain’s other nine state champs were: Tanner Cox (106 pounds), Taylor Lamont (113), Trent Kelly (126), Johnny O’Hearon (132), Landon Knutzen (138), Grant LaMont (152), Kimball Bastian (160), Kieffer Taylor (171) and Josh Searle (182).
Knutzen had the tightest championship match of them all as he recorded a late takedown to edge teammate Cameron Killian, 10-8.
Salem Hills sophomore Jacob Armstrong spoiled Maple Mountain’s bid of going a perfect 12 of 12 in championship matches it participated in with a narrow 1-0 win over Jesse Carlisle at 145 pounds.
Armstrong opened the third period with an escape to take a 1-0 lead and then avoided Carlisle’s near takedown in the final four seconds.
“The match could’ve gone either way. The kid from Salem is really, really tough. Jesse Carlisle is a returning state champ. It’s a tough, tough match and it could’ve gone either way,” said Judkins. “I thought Jesse wrestled him really well, and we get another shot at him in a week and a half. Other than that, everything else came out like I wanted it to and I expected it to.”
The other two individuals who claimed titles Saturday were Mountain View’s Micah Ngatuvai at 220 pounds and Orem’s Andrew Zollinger at 285 pounds.
Region 8 Wrestling Championships
At Provo High School
1. Maple Mountain, 549; 2. Mountain View, 376.5; 3. Salem Hills, 223; 4. Orem, 123; 5. Springville, 108.5; 6. Provo, 101.5; 7. Timpanogos, 61; 8. Timpview, 51.5.