High school wrestling: State's best wrestlers battle it out on all-star night

By Ryan Love

For the Deseret News

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 7 2014 11:00 p.m. MST

Salem Hills High School's Jacob Armstrong grabs Pleasant Grove High School's Bailey Carlson on Armstrong's way to a win at the Utah High School All-Star Wrestling meet at Utah Valley University Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2014, in Orem.

Tom Smart, Deseret News

OREM — The 2014 Simplii All-Star Dual sure lived up to its name.

From all around Utah, the top wrestlers in the state came together Tuesday night at the UCCU Center to square off against each other in a series of high-profile bouts. At the end of a back-and-forth affair, Team Wild Card gave Team 5A all it could handle, but 5A was able to hold on and escape with first place.

One of the best matchups of the night took place at 132 pounds, where Cedar City’s Dusty Hone battled against Maple Mountain’s Taylor LaMont.

Hone is a senior going for an impressive fourth state title, while LaMont is a sophomore returning state champion.

Both Hone and LaMont competed last month in the Reno Tournament of Champions. Hone was one of three champions from Utah, while LaMont took home third place at 126 pounds.

Hone was able to come away with the narrow victory Tuesday, as he held on to knock off LaMont in the tough bout.

“Well I know he’s (LaMont) a tough wrestler. He goes to these national tournaments and he wins them or he places high in every tournament he goes to,” Hone said after winning his match. “So I knew I had to attack, go right off the whistle, and just go at him and don’t stop.”

Another marquee matchup came at 138 pounds, where Alta’s Matt Findlay took on Maple Mountain’s Johnny O’hearon.

Findlay is a senior also going for a dominant fourth state title this year, while O’hearon is a junior who won The Rumble last year.

O’hearon physically dominated the match from the beginning, but Findlay was able to overcome his early frustrations to come out on top.

“I was the one being physically dominated tonight,” a disappointed Findlay said after hanging on for the win. “Props to Johnny. He’s a great wrestler. He knows how to win, and he came to fight. I don’t know what got to me; I was just out of gas.”

At 170 pounds, Maple Mountain’s Kimball Bastian faced off against Juab’s Dalton Harmon in an instant classic.

Bastian recently won the Reno Tournament of Champions, while Harmon finished in second place in 3A last year. Harmon’s best win this year came when he knocked off Salem Hills’ Jacob Armstrong in the championship match of the Skyhawk Showdown.

Bastian is quite familiar with Harmon, and knew it would be quite a tough matchup.

“I have wrestled him before and he was a really tough guy, so I just went in there solid like I always do,” said Bastian after hanging on to defeat Harmon. “I was trying to score and get another takedown to open it up, because I don’t like close matches. But I was just standing in good position so I held on.”

Many of the wrestlers will next compete in the Beehive Brawl starting on Jan. 24 at the Sevier Valley Center in Richfield before looking forward to the state tournament in mid-February.

Here are the full 2014 UAWF All-Star Dual results:

106 pounds — Nelson Jones (Pleasant Grove-WC) def. Cooper Skinner (Bear River-3A)

106 pounds — Jaxon Cole (North Summit-2A) def. Cameron Hunsaker (American Fork-5A)

106 pounds — Braiden Parker (Wasatch-4A) def. David Vantassell (Duchesne-1A)

113 pounds — Brock George (Syracuse-WC) def. Tanner Cox (Maple Mountain-4A)

113 pounds — Kyson Levin (Pleasant Grove-5A) def. Josh Allen (Delta-2A)