Pleasant Grove took its first step toward claiming a third straight 5A state wrestling title Thursday with a dominant performance at the inaugural 5A divisional qualifying meets.
The Vikings finished with six individual winners and qualified 20 wrestlers into next week’s 5A state tournament to easily win the 12-team Division A qualifying meet at Alta High School with 497.5 points.
Syracuse finished second with 399.5 points, followed by Weber, Alta and Davis.
Layton, regarded as Pleasant Grove’s top challenger at state, easily took care of business at the Division B qualifying meet at Jordan High School.
The Lancers finished with two individual champs and qualified 18 wrestlers for the 5A state tournament. Fremont, Viewmont, Bingham and Lone Peak rounded out the top five.
This was the first year 5A used two divisional tournaments to qualify wrestlers for the state tournament instead of the traditional region tournaments. Roughly 80 percent of the coaches voted for the change, which they believed increased the odds of the top 16 wrestlers in each weight qualifying for the state tournament.
Regardless of the format to get there, Pleasant Grove is the clear favorite next Wednesday and Thursday at UVU.
Of Pleasant Grove’s six divisional champs Thursday, sophomore Kyson Levin is the only defending state champ. He pinned three of four opponents at the divisional meet and won the championship match of the 113-pound weight class with a major decision.
Other winners for the Vikings were Benjamin Anderson (106), Landon Gates (120), Bridger Cutler (145), Brandon Dennison (220) and Zachary Dawe (285).
Alta’s Matt Findlay, one of four defending state champs in 5A this season, easily won the 126-pound weight class on his home mat. Syracuse defending state champ Zane Rich also won easily at 138 pounds.
Other wrestlers who earned No. 1 seeds for the state tournament from the Division A qualifier were West’s Zach Colangelo (132), Syracuse’s Zane Rich (138), Syracuse’s Teague Vigil (152), Weber’s Hunter Riggs (160), Weber’s Zach Huntsman (170), Weber’s Devon Childress (182) and Kearns’ Colton Grossaint (195).
At the Division B meet, Layton only finished with two individual champs, but its overall depth carried the Lancers to the team title.
Ken Astle, a defending state champ for Layton, pinned his opponent in the opening minute of his 145-pound championship match to claim the No. 1 seed for Division B. Layton’s other individual champ was Colton Marshal at 160 pounds.
Viewmont finished with the most individual champs at three, but finished third in the team standings. The Vikings’ individual winners were Taylor Porath (106), David Kim (126) and Tanner Law (152).
Other wrestlers who earned No. 1 seeds for the state tournament from the Division B qualifier were: Cottonwood’s Jacob Knapp (113), Fremont’s Jaydon Rogers (120), Fremont’s A.J. Arteaga (132), Cottonwood’s Jed Diederich (138), Lone Peak’s Rigel Hodson (170), Jordan’s Clay Moss (182), Fremont’s Tate Calvert (195), Taylorsville’s Roy Nash (220) and Lone Peak’s Austin Kruger (285).