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.
Nick Sorensen (120 pounds), Chase Kelly (132 pounds), DonE Fullmer (170 pounds) and Jeremy Aleman (220 pounds) all won individual titles for the Eagles.
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.
113 – Championship, Matt Lee, South Summit def. Tyson Roberts, Manti, pin 3:26; 3. Damon Quintana, Beaver; 4. Payton Stott, Millard; 5. Gage Lindquist, Grand; 6. Kenyon Green, Beaver.
120 – Championship, Nick Sorensen, Millard def. Devin Morrison, Richfield, pin 3:26; 3. Garrett Chlarson, Millard; 4. Grady Murdock, Beaver; 5. David Avila, Gunnison; 6. Henry Bills, North Sevier.
126 – Championship, Kameron Fowles, Manti def. Dillon Thurston, North Sevier, 10-8; 3. Wyatt Oveson, Emery; 4. McCrae Thatcher, Millard; 5. Cezley Collard, Emery; 6. Caleb Jones, South Sevier.
132 – Championship, Chase Kelly, Millard def. Cody Curtis, Richfield, 3-2; 3. Devin Bishoff, South Sevier; 4. Clayland Curtis, North Sevier; 5. Logan Lozano, Beaver; 6. Logan Johnson, Millard.
138 – Championship, Kevin Hill, North Sevier def. Rudy Alcala, Millard, 2-1; 3. Dallin Jacobsen, San Juan; 4. Tyrell Myers, Beaver; 5. Jacob Clark, Enterprise; 6. Dagen Thomas, Gunnison.
145 – Championship, Brendon Sorenson, North Sevier def. Jamen Littlefield, Beaver, TF 18-1; 3. Colton Tingey, Millard; 4. Ryan Cox, Emery; 5. Justin Sorenson, Millard; 6. Braxton Baker, North Sevier.
152 – Championship, Cash Allred, North Sevier def. Anthony Gibson, beaver, 4-2; 3. Trenton White, Grand; 4. Chance Niesporek, South Summit; 5. Kaden Masner, Millard; 6. Rylon Brinkerhoff, Millard.
160 – Championship, Quinn Hicken, South Summit def. Quigley Whitaker, Millard, 6-3; 3. McKade Cox, Gunnison; 4. Bailey Bradshaw, Beaver; 5. Clarence Grant, South Sevier; 6. Cole Guymon, Emery.
170 – Championship , DonE Fullmer, Millard def. Travis Gilman, Beaver, 3-2; 3. Blake Sasine, Summit Academy; 4. James Oldroyd, South Sevier; 5. Quincy Cox, Gunnison; 6. Nathan Adair, Manti.
182 – Championship, Dylan Brown, Manti def. Rob Reber, Enterprise, 10-9; 3. Gordon Whitaker, Millard; 4. Vidal Salas, Gunnison; 5. Ryan Fisher, Richfield; 6. Ty Clegg, South Summit.
195 – Championship, Colin Lyman, North Sevier def. Jadon Ross, Richfield, SV-1 8-6; 3. Bryce Bair, South Sevier; 4. Victor Young, Millard; 5. Benson Porter, American Leadership Academy; 6. Nate Bowan, Kanab.
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220 – Championship, Jeremy Aleman, Millard def. Dylan Tripp, Enterprise, pin 2:59; 3. Brenz Staples, North Summit; 4. Jesse Durrant, North Sevier; 5Trevor Williams, American Leadership Academy; 6Tyler Terry, Beaver.
285 – Championship , Oaks Morley, American Leadership Academy def. Koleton Moon, Manti, pin 3:30; 3. Edgar Gomez, Grand; 4. Braden Dixon, Millard; 5. Carson Kinross, Beaver; 6. Trent Christenson, South Sevier.
Jonathan Boldt is a sports writing intern for the Deseret News covering the Utah Valley. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @jboldt24 - www.boldted.com