Ravell Call, Deseret News
OREM — Maple Mountain, as expected, sits atop the team standings after the first day of the 4A state wrestling championships Wednesday. Box Elder finished the day in second and Mountain Crest in third, but both schools will be hard-pressed to catch the Golden Eagles heading into the final day Thursday.
Maple Mountain secured first place at the end of Day 1 with 159.6 points, followed by Box Elder with 133.5 and Mountain Crest with 90.5.
“I wouldn’t want us to be anywhere else heading into the final day and into this tournament,” said Maple Mountain coach Justin Judkins. “You want to be the team to beat at the end and hopefully we can continue this momentum into the final day and win another state championship.”
The Golden Eagles' success in Day 1 came from staying focused and simply doing the things that earned them the top spot going in.
“I just told the kids that if we wrestle like we have all year long that we’ll be OK, and so far we’ve pretty much done that,” Judkins said. “We didn’t have everything go our way today — we lost a few that I expected to win — but that’s what the state championships are all about.”
Maple Mountain secured 12 semifinal berths, headlined by standouts Grant LaMont (152), his younger brother Taylor LaMont (113) and Britain Carter, who is seeking his fourth straight state title at the 120-pound weight. Some other Golden Eagle semifinalists include Tanner Cox (106), Zack Harris (120) and Trent Kelly (126.)
“Maple Mountain is tough and (what) makes them so good is their depth,” said Box Elder coach Mike Ripplinger. “Their strength is at the lower weights, but they remain strong through the middle and heavy weights. We get good at the middle and heavy weights, but it‘s tough to catch a team like Maple Mountain who is so good with almost every weight.”
Box Elder showed strong, but knows it has a lot of work to make up heading into the final day.
“I like where we’re at and we’re winning the matches we’re supposed to win. But we need to win some we’re not supposed to if we hope to win this thing and we haven’t done that so far,” Ripplinger said.
Box Elder secured eight semifinal berths and will have to win most of them if it hopes to win state. Key matches for the Bees next round include Kevin Smith vs. Taylor LaMont in the 106 weight and Jake Tolman vs. Maple Mountain’s Josh Searle in the 182 weight.
The Bees feature three returning state champions including Rasten Yeates (160), Nick Sorenson (170) and Brackin Gunter (195), all of whom advanced to the semifinal round.
“We obviously have to be good when we go up against Maple Mountain, but we need all the matches and we need to make sure we’re good in our consolation matches as well,” Ripplinger said. “You need everything you can get if you’re going to beat a team like Maple Mountain.”
Mountain Crest showed well and has six of its wrestlers advance to the next round, led by Brady Dart (126), who was a state finalist last season.
Other standouts advancing to the semis include Herriman defending champion Chandler Strand (106), Mountain View’s Micah Ngatuvai (220) and Salem Hills' Jacob Armstrong (145).
4A state wrestling meet
1. Maple Mountain, 159.6; 2. Box Elder, 133.5; 3. Mountain Crest, 90.5; 4. Mountain View, 65; 5. Herriman, 62; 6. Westlake, 52.5; 7. Salem Hills, 34.5; 8. Highland, 34; 9. Bountiful, 32.5; 10. Clearfield, 31.
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