OREM — Pleasant Grove wrestled away the title at the Rockwell Rumble this past weekend at Utah Valley’s UCCU Event Center.
Nearly 70 teams and more than 700 wrestlers took part in this year’s version, which featured teams from Colorado, Idaho, Washington, Wyoming and Utah.
But once the dust settled, the three-time returning 5A state champions led the pack with 223 points while two-time 4A champs Maple Mountain took second with 186 points and Mountain Crest was in third four points back. Rounding out the top five were Idaho schools Centennial and Post Falls with 174.5 and 167.5 points respectively.
The Vikings are once again a powerful dynastic juggernaut steeped with talent. Pleasant Grove actually entered two full squads in the varsity Rumble, with its junior varsity team placing 34th out of 68 teams and its third- and fourth-string wrestlers placing second in the 34-team field junior varsity Rumble behind Bear River.
The Vikings crowned two champs in Kyson Levin (113 pounds) and Zac Dawe (285), who had five pins on their way to the top of the podium.
Levin barely wrestled over a regulation six-minute wrestling match in pinning his five foes in six minutes and 55 seconds, including a stunning 16-second pin in the championship finals over Spanish Fork’s James Wright, a 3A silver medalist from last year. But the junior and two-time state champion was simply a wrecking ball that couldn’t be stopped.
Levin took Wright down in a low single leg attack and made a quick transition into the pinning maneuver.
“I pinned him in a bottom-leg cradle,” Levin said. “It was quick.”
Dawe’s fifth pin came in the finals against West Jordan’s Stephen L’heureux, who Dawe expects to be among his main competition in the state tournament next month.
“It feels great (to win the Rumble),” Dawe said. “L’heureux is a good wrestler, and I expect to meet him again at state.”
Maple Mountain crowned two individual titlists with Johnny O’hearon (138) and Kimball Bastian (170).
O’hearon perhaps pulled off the biggest shocker of the tournament with his third-round pin against Alta’s Matt Findlay, a returning three-time 5A champion.
The two staged a hard-fought battle at the Simplii All-Star dual nearly two weeks ago, won by Findlay by a single point.
But O’hearon overwhelmed the Alta star right off the bat with a takedown and a near-fall. He maintained a five-point lead going into the third round, and Findlay had to take some chances to have a chance to tie or win the match. That’s when O’hearon threw Findlay again to his back and secured the fall with just nine seconds left in the bout.
“He beat me at the all-star dual,” O’hearon related. “I studied a lot of film of him and wanted to show him that I was the better wrestler.”
This was one of two rematches from the all-star dual. The second involved O’hearon’s teammate Taylor LaMont (132) who again came up short against Cedar City’s Dusty Hone, losing 3-1.
LaMont is a sophomore and a defending champion while the Oklahoma State-bound Hone is a senior with three state titles.
Hone used an escape while LaMont’s lone point came via a stalling call in the third round. The penalty point seemed to spur on Hone, who went on the attack, securing a takedown in the match’s final points to secure the victory.
The pair could meet again at a dual meet tournament hosted by Delta next week.
Taylorsville’s Roy Nash (220) remained unbeaten this season. He was the lone Utah wrestler to go unblemished last year and moved his mark to 24-0.
Bingham’s Nick Heninger tested his wares in the finals of this tournament, losing 7-0. Heninger did knock off former 5A rival Colton Grossaint in the semi-finals. Both met several times last year, including the 5A state finals, but this time the Miner grappler bested Grossaint 5-1. The Cougar battled back to take third.
Centennial’s Jon Jay Chavez won the 160-pound weight class in a rematch of his Reno Tournament of Champions final with Salem Hill’s Jacob Armstrong. Chavez won the Reno final 3-0, but this time opened up the margin a bit, beating the Skyhawk grappler 9-2.
Fans of Region 5 wrestling saw a familiar rivalry between Box Elder’s Matt Williams and Mountain Crest’s Jordan Wengreen. Williams won 3-2 in the ultimate tiebreaker. Both wrestlers failed to take down each other and secured escapes in both regulation and the first set of tiebreakers. But Williams won the right to have his choice of either top or bottom in the ultimate tiebreaker by scoring the match’s first point. The Bee then chose down and quickly escaped to win this meeting.
The two met last week with Wengreen winning in the finals of the Richardson Memorial. It is possible that the two could meet three more times as the two teams dual each other next week, and the two schools also are in the same league and classification.
Other champions included American Fork’s Cameron Hunsaker (106), Hurricane’s Josh Pettus (120), Post Falls' Darek Huff (126), Centennial’s Hayden Tuma (145), Broomfield, Colorado’s, Zach Stodden (182), and Fruita Monument, Colorado’s, Justin Seely (195).
Before the finals of the tournament, former Hurricane wrestling star Brian Scott, who recently lost his battle with leukemia, was honored with a moment of silence.
Complete team and individual results can be found at www.trackwrestling.com.
Brian Preece is a freelance sports writer and former head wrestling coach at Provo High School from 1994-2006.