High school wrestling: Defending state champs look to defend their crowns
Despite losing three of its dominant individual state champions in Nick Sorenson (120), Don E. Fullmer (170) and Jeremy Aleman (220), Millard’s expectations remain the same.
With 10 state placers returning from last year, including individual champions Chase Kelly (132) and Rudy Alcala (138), and another 2A divisional A victory under their belts, the Eagles have the talent and depth to be a front-runner in 2A once again.
“We have put together a pretty good lineup. We aren’t a team with a bunch of star power,” Millard coach Blake Turner said. “We are just a real solid team, and it’s going to take a full team effort to have a shot at winning it this year.”
Beaver finished right behind Millard in 2A last year, and with the two-time defending 3A champs, the Delta Rabbits, coming to 2A this year, the Eagles will have their work cut out for them in a competitive 3A state tournament.
Delta came out on top on the other side of the 2A divisional (B), which was no surprise to anyone, and had an impressive eight first-place finishers.
The Rabbits’ first-place finishers — Trevor Poulsen (106), Josh Allen (113), Bracken Lovell (126), Victor Almanza (138), Morgan Bogue (145), McQuae Anderson (152), Kyle Leavitt (182) and David Schena (195) — will all look to help Delta chalk up another state title.
The Beavers finished right behind Delta in the 2A divisional B tournament to take home second place, and return seven state placers from last year’s squad, including individual state champ Kyle Evans (106).
“They (Delta) do have a great team and a great lineup, and I’m sure they are picked to be the favorite. But with a lot of hard work, hopefully we can get there,” Turner added.
With the majority of individual state champions back from last year, Class 1A figures to produce a very competitive and exciting tournament this season.
Two-time defending state champion Altamont took home first place at the 1A Northern divisional meet last weekend and returns five top-three finishers from last year, including individual champ Brady Farnsworth (113).
“It’s going to be very close. Between Monticello and us, we should be in the top two, I think,” Altamont coach Cory Allred said.
Altamont also qualified 19 wrestlers for the state tournament, including seven first-place finishers, as the Longhorns look to three-peat in an impressive 1A class.
Altamont’s first-place finishers from last weekend’s Northern divisional meet include Farnsworth (120), Austin Atwood (126), Domanik Stansfield (145), Derrik Thompson (160), Michael Foy (170), Tony Brown (195) and Talon Gines (285).
Altamont did lose five top-three state placers from last season, but its experience and depth should be enough to make another deep run at a state title.
Monticello finished second at state last year and returns individual state champions Hunter Bowring (120), Cole Eldredge (145) and Austin Wilcox (182).
Monticello came out on top at the 1A Southern divisional meet last weekend, as the Buckaroos qualified 15 wrestlers and had an impressive seven first-place finishers, including Shandon Bradford (120), Bowring (126), Brandon Musselman (138), Eldredge (152), Eric Anderson (170), Wilcox (182) and Parker Knudsen (285).
Other returning 1A individual state champs are Duchesne’s Lane Coil (106) and Piute’s Zack Allen (132.)
The high school state wrestling tournament kicks off Thursday night at the Maverik Center in West Valley City.
Ryan Love is a full-time student at the University of Utah studying communications, and has been a part-time sports reporter and scoreboarder for the Deseret News since Oct. 2012.
Follow him on Twitter @RLove7724