High school wrestling: Juggernaut Maple Mountain claims 4A title in dominating fashion
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
OREM — For most of the wrestling season, there was never any doubt that Maple Mountain would win the 4A state championship.
That wasn’t really good enough for coach Justin Judkins.
“Sometimes as a coach you’ve got to brainwash them a little bit, and I told them, ‘We’re going to win this thing. That’s not a question. The question is how much can we win it by?'” said Judkins. “We really made a statement and dominated tonight. Until tonight I didn’t think we were there, but now I do.”
Maple Mountain finished with seven individual champs and placed 15 wrestlers in the top six at the UCCU Center on Thursday night to claim the 4A state title with a staggering 360 points.
Box Elder was impressive in its own right, finishing second with 301.5 points, followed by Mountain Crest (175.5), Mountain View (108) and Herriman (99).
Maple Mountain’s dominance started with Taylor LaMont’s win at 113 pounds and ended with Jon Wixom’s individual title at 195 pounds as the team went 7-2 in championship matches.
Sandwiched in there was Britain Carter’s major-decision triumph over Orem’s J.J. Evans at 120 pounds. The win put him in very elite company as he became just the 25th wrestler in Utah history to win four state titles.
“After the match, I had a flood of memories that came over me about all the different matches and all the other state championships. And then coach Judkins just said, ‘It’s done,’” said Carter, who is moving on to wrestle at Columbia.
Just before Carter wrapped up his fourth career title, freshman teammate LaMont began his own epic quest as he pinned Herriman’s Jaron Jensen at the 4:43 mark in a dominant display at 113 pounds.
Carter couldn’t help but think of his conversations with LaMont throughout the season.
“Me and Taylor, we’re dueling partners. All the time I’m telling him, ‘You’ve got to make sure you push it. Make sure you get this one 'cause you can be a four-timer. I was in your same position and you can do it too,” said Carter.
Judkins couldn’t stop talking about all seven of his champs, particularly Landon Knutzen and his win over Box Elder’s Teagen Hubbard at 138 pounds.
“Landon Knutzen missed weight by two ounces last year at region, and didn’t get to come to state to prove himself. He’s been waiting a year for this, and comes back and gets his match,” said Judkins.
Maple Mountain’s Grant LaMont dominated at 152 pounds as usual, improving to 61-2 this season on his way to a third straight title.
Teammate Kimball Bastian denied Box Elder’s Rasten Yeates his third title with a 5-3 win at 160 pounds.
Josh Searle overcame an early deficit to Mountain Crest’s Taylon Niederhauser to win at 182 pounds, while Wixom jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead on Box Elder’s Breckin Gunter at 195 pounds on his way to a 7-3 win.
Despite a couple losses in the finals Thursday night, Box Elder still finished with three individual champs as Shand Hardy (132), Nick Sorenson (170) and Joe Flores (220) all prevailed. Sorenson finishes his career as a two-time state champ.
Herriman junior Chandler Strand won his second straight title as well at 106 pounds.
Other individual champs were Mountain Crest’s Brady Dart (126), Salem Hills’ Jacob Armstrong (145) and Logan’s Jacoby Wildman (285).