OREM — By the end of Day 1 of the 3A state wrestling tournament at UCCU Center, Delta had jumped out to a 10.5-point lead to position itself to win its fifth consecutive state championship.
So, why oh why, would the Rabbits be disappointed?
“We didn’t perform up to par today — not what we expected,” Delta coach Jason Thomas said. “Every time we come to this tournament we expect to dominate every round and we haven’t done that so far. We have a lot of work to do.”
That perfectionist attitude is why the Rabbits have won four consecutive titles. The kings of 3A finished with an overall team score of 107.5 points after Friday's preliminary rounds, while Payson has the next-highest total with 97.0.
“They have tough kids — they really do,” Thomas said of Payson. “The kids that they have — they don’t have as many — but the kids that they have still left in the tournament are fantastic wrestlers. They’re fantastic kids and are coached really well. Coming forward that’s what it’s going to come down to — us and them.”
Heading into the final day Saturday, Delta leads Payson and the chasing pack with nine semifinalists remaining.
“We’ll regroup and gather our guys. We still have the lead. We just have to wrestle better tomorrow,” Thomas said. “Our semifinalists need to push it to the finals and we’ll be fine. Every one of our semifinalists I have a lot of confidence in. They’re wrestling really well and I have all the faith in the world that they’ll come through for us.”
Wasatch (89.0), Uintah (69.0), Union (63.0), Bear River (57.5), Desert Hills (56.0), Tooele (44.5), Spanish Fork (40.5) and Cedar (39.5) round out the top 10.
With the 10.5-point lead, Thomas explained that Saturday he’ll remind the troops that this isn’t the first rodeo the Delta program has participated in.
“We’ve been here before,” he said. “That’s what we tell the kids: 'We’ve been here before and wrestle like we know how and we’ll be fine.'”
3A state wrestling tournament
At Utah Valley University
1. Delta, 107.5; 2. Payson, 97.0; 3. Wasatch 89.0; 4. Uintah, 69.0; 5. Union, 63.0; 6. Bear River, 57.5; 7. Desert Hills, 56.0; 8. Tooele, 44.5; 9. Spanish Fork, 40.5; 10. Cedar City, 39.5; 11. Snow Canyon, 24.0; 11. Stansbury, 24.0; 13. Juab, 23.0; 14. Pine View, 22.0; 15. Hurricane, 21.0; 16. Dixie, 19.0; 17. Canyon View, 18.0; 18. North Sanpete, 17.5; 19. Morgan, 15.0; 20. Juan Diego, 7.0; 21. Park City, 7.0; 22. Ben Lomond, 3.0; 23. Carbon, 1.0; 24. Grantsville, 0.0; 24. Ogden, 0.0.
106 — Jayden Pentz, Morgan vs. Josh Jensen, Payson; Trevor Poulsen, Delta vs. James Wright, Spanish Fork.
113 — Jose Garcia, Delta vs. Jarrid Lavios, Tooele; Mason Colledge, Spanish Fork vs. Nickolas Bingham, Bear River.
120 — Bracken Lovell, Delta vs. Kedric Coonis, Uintah; Josh Pettus, Hurricane vs. Riley Loveless, Payson.
126 — Victor Almanza, Delta vs. Robert Miner, Wasatch; Dusty Hone, Cedar vs. Dominic Kunder, Bear River.
132 — Branson Ashworth, Spanish Fork vs. Garrett Sweat, Wasatch; Beau Blackham, Uintah vs. Hagen Loveless, Payson.
138 — Jed Mellen, Payson vs. Jake Danels, Union; Colton Havens, Uintah vs. Jared Ewart, Delta.
145 — Dalton Harmon, Juab vs. Devan Webb, Desert Hills; Kolby Lloyd, Cedar vs. Morgan Bogue, Delta.
152 — Wyatt Kesler, Union vs. Zach Prince, Hurricane; Spencer Heywood, Wasatch vs. Mcquae Anderson, Delta.
160 — Kaelen Loveless, Payson vs. Bryce Provost, Wasatch; Kaden Campbell, Union vs. Ivan Herrera, Stansbury.
170 — Seth Manning, Tooele vs. Heber Shepherd, Spanish Fork; Steven Welsh, Union vs. Kale Leavitt, Delta.
182 — Taris Schramm, Payson vs. Nokoni Slivers, Snow Canyon; Hunter Neville, Desert Hills vs. William Hortin, Wasatch.
195 — Devan Judd, Payson vs. Cody Stevenson, Desert Hills; Cameron Williamson, Cedar vs. Alex Martin, Delta.
220 — Tyler Stevenson, Desert Hills vs. Logan Baker, Dixie; Aaron Dick, Uintah vs. Joseph Takau, Dixie.
285 — Brodee Stevenson, Bear River vs. Wesley Kauvaka, Pine View; Cole Mair, Uintah vs. Brian Houschouer, Payson.