OREM — The sport of wrestling may be down internationally, but it's not out — at least not in the state of Utah.
Despite a vote from the International Olympic Committee to leave wrestling off the Olympic program in 2020, local support for the millennia-old sport is at an all-time high.
That much was evident Friday night when 2A schools across the state converged on the UCCU Center in Orem for the opening night of the 2A wrestling championships.
Fans poured into the arena to cheer on their respective teams in the state's second-to-smallest classification. The opening day of competition proved to be a simmering pot, which will inevitably come to a boil Saturday.
Millard, which has claimed 12 of the past 15 state titles, has dominated the competition so far. The Eagles reclaimed the 2A crown last year and are well on their way to a repeat, leading with a score of 147.5 points, 32 better than Beaver (115.5). North Sevier is nipping at the heels of Beaver to round out the top three with a score of 100.
Millard's Braden Dixon is set to take on American Leadership Academy's Oaks Morley in a 285-pound category semifinal. Morley is hoping to bring home ALA's first ever individual wrestling state championship in any division. The winner of that match will take on the winner of the other semifinal featuring Edgar Gomez of Grand and Koleton Moon of Manti.
Meanwhile, Millard star Tim White is well on his way to repeating as a state champ, defeating Dalton Jones (North Sevier) and Domonik Perkins (San Juan) — both by pin in under 1:10.
Saturday's action gets underway at 10:30 a.m. in the semifinal round at the UCCU Center on UVU's campus in Orem. Later at 5 p.m., the tournament will wrap up with 2A's championship bouts.