High school wrestling: Clearfield edges Bountiful for third straight Region 6 title

By Ryan Love

For the Deseret News

Published: Saturday, Feb. 1 2014 8:10 p.m. MST

MAGNA — After going 17 years without capturing a region wrestling title, the Clearfield Falcons have completely revamped their wrestling program and made it their area of expertise.

The Falcons chalked up their third straight region championship Saturday afternoon with a convincing win over the Region 6 field at Cyprus High School.

“This team is really coach (Dustin) Rock’s team, and I came in just hoping to add to what he already built,” Clearfield coach Tom Schmidt said. “So we just go every day, work as hard as we can and take it one tournament at a time.”

Clearfield and Bountiful went back and forth all afternoon, but the Falcons narrowly took home the team title with 332.5 points, followed by Bountiful in second place with 322 points and Woods Cross in third with 237 points.

“It feels pretty good to win a third straight title,” said Rock. “It’s completely on the team; they are outstanding.”

A year ago, Clearfield comfortably topped Highland by a margin of 52 points for the region title. The Falcons nearly clinched first place before the championship matches had even started with outstanding wrestling in the consolation rounds.

Saturday's meet followed a similar script, as Clearfield owned a healthy lead over second-place Bountiful prior to the start of the championship matches.

“Really, the consolation bracket is where the tournament is won,” Schmidt added. “If you have a strong consolation bracket with guys in it coming up, that’s where tournaments are won. ... So consolation is very, very important.”

The Falcons do have some horses as well, though, as Logan Swallow (106, 34-7), Daxton Arnold (126, 21-14), Ben Bolingbroke (145, 37-9) and Kolton Burgess (170, 35-6) all won individual titles.

“They are all outstanding wrestlers and they have worked really hard,” said Schmidt. “They all deserve to be here.”

Despite some of its top wrestlers graduating last year and having a new head coach at the helm, not too much has changed in Clearfield’s approach and style of wrestling this winter.

“It has been good to see another style of wrestling because we got new coaches,” said Swallow, who’s been in the program at Clearfield for three years now. “He (Schmidt) has different techniques than Coach Rock (had). There aren’t a ton of differences, but the little differences definitely help our team see the different sides of wrestling.”

Swallow, who easily won the 106-pound title last year, defeated Brandon Meikel of Kearns in his championship match to extend the Falcons’ lead over Bountiful.

Arnold beat Cyprus’ Brody Zlemski to earn his first individual title in the 126-pound class.

In perhaps the most important matchup of the afternoon, Bolingbroke topped Bountiful’s Lamar Gimmeson — who forfeited due to an injury — to basically secure the Region 6 title for Clearfield.

“As far as Ben’s match, Ben wrestled really, really tough,” Schmidt added. “They have met a few times and Bountiful has won. It’s too bad he had to get an injury default on that and we hope the best for him, but it was a solid match.”

Lastly, Burgess (170) knocked off Kearns’ Sherwin Lavake to give Clearfield its fourth individual champion of the afternoon.

All 11 wrestlers who qualified for next week’s 4A state tournament will look to have the same success they have had all season long.

“We are just going to work hard this week, take it one match at a time, and hopefully we can get all of these kids who worked hard and deserve to be here where they want to be, too,” Schmidt said.