High school wrestling: Powerhouse Millard wins 13th state title in 16 years
Ravell Call, Deseret News
OREM — The Millard Eagles entered Saturday’s championship round of the 2A wrestling tournament at UCCU Center as heavy favorites to ultimately win the classification's team title.
It was easy to see why.
Millard had four individual champions and rode its tremendous depth to secure its 13th state championship in the last 16 years. The Eagles beat second-place Beaver 286.5 points to 216.5.
While Millard has been so enormously successful and has won so many championships over the years, coach Blake Taylor said afterward that each one still feels very special.
“Each team is its own," he said. "It makes each state championship ... a little bit different. We talk about dynasties, well yeah, but each one is so individual. That’s what’s amazing about it. This group works hard. I couldn’t ask for a harder working group of kids. I’ve been very impressed. I’ve coached these kids through little league and all that for the past eight years and being able to coach them in high school has been awesome.”
Saturday, it wasn’t just fans and opponents who could sense the imminent coronation of the Eagles. Taylor felt it too.
“Once we got through the first round we kind of saw how the points were going,” Taylor said. “We weren’t nervous about points. It was a little bit closer than we were expecting, but we were never nervous about not winning another state championship.
“You worry about that match you’re coaching right then," Taylor added. "You’re worried about that boy you’re coaching right now. If he’s successful then the team is successful and the matches take care of themselves."
That's what Millard did, and the result was another championship.
While Millard relished the feeling of a team victory, North Sevier’s Cash Allred found a new way to express the excitement of an individual state championship. He defeated Anthony Gibson (Beaver) by pin at the 3:39 mark.
“This is the most amazing feeling ever,” Allred said. “My brother was on a (LDS) mission with a two-time state champion from my school and he said the only thing that compared to winning the state championship was finally getting someone to commit to baptism.”
In the feel-good story of the 2A championships, Oaks Morley brought home American Leadership Academy’s first wrestling state championship.
“I didn’t know what to do with myself when I heard the pin go down,” Morley said. “I just jumped up and flexed every muscle in my body. It’s one of the greatest feelings I’ve ever felt in my life. My teammates have been so supportive to help me bring the first championship to our school. Just saying that gives me goosebumps. It’s so amazing.”
1. Millard, 286; 2. Beaver, 216.5; 3. North Sevier, 212; 4. Manti, 122; 5. South Summit, 109; 6. Richfield, 106; 7. South Sevier, 105; 8. Gunnison, 82; 9. Emery, 77; 9. Enterprise, 77.
106 – Championship, Kyle Evans, Beaver def. Camron Dickinson, Richfield, 9-5; 3. Tim White, Millard; 4. McKoy Christiansen, Emery; 5. Braxton Maxwell, North Sevier; 6. Paden Woolstenhulme, South Summit.