He has great technique and is full of confidence. If he wanted to go and wrestle in college, he’d be a good one. He’s a great athlete. He’s just quiet. —Box Elder coach Mike Ripplinger, on Breckin Gunter
WEST VALLEY CITY — So far, few college recruiters have come knocking on Breckin Gunter’s door in Brigham City.
Despite a stellar four-year career that’s about to finish at Box Elder High, Gunter is still weighing his options. Friday night, he improved his athletic resume even more with an impressive victory in the semifinals of the 4A wrestling tournament at the Maverik Center.
“I’ve been wrestling to make myself a better football player,” said Gunter, who improved his season record to 46-1 after pinning Nate Richardson of Timpview. “I don’t know if I’m stronger than anyone else; I just stay in good position and compete for everything.”
That’s how it has always been for Gunter, an all-state linebacker and running back in football who won an individual state wrestling title two years ago. He will be looking for title No. 2 on Saturday.
“He has great technique and is full of confidence,” said Box Elder coach Mike Ripplinger. “If he wanted to go and wrestle in college, he’d be a good one. He’s a great athlete. He’s just quiet.”
Gunter let his actions on the mat do the talking (again) on Friday — as did a lot of other athletes. Going into Saturday's finals, two-time defending champion Maple Mountain still appears to be the team to beat with 170 points, followed by Mountain Crest (165), Wasatch (143) and Box Elder (116).
The tournament is scheduled to finish Saturday at the Maverik Center with weigh-ins starting at 9:30 a.m., consolation matches at 11:30 a.m. and the championships at 4:30 p.m.
“I was really confident last year, but this year could still could go a lot of ways,” said Maple Mountain coach Justin Judkins.
The Golden Eagles have five wrestlers in the finals, but Judkins said it may be how the teams fare in the consolation matches that determine whether Maple Mountain can keep its title in 4A.
“You can rack up a lot of points in those matches,” he said. “It’s sometimes tough for a kid who has already lost to stay hungry, but they can do us a lot of good if they keep winning.”
Tanner Cox, Ryan Hansen, Trent Kelly, Taylor Lamont, Johnny O’Hearon and Kimball Bastian each won their semifinal matches for Maple Mountain. The Eagles could have been in better position, but Wasatch’s Caden Clyde defeated Marshall Curtis at 120 pounds, 12-8. Had Curtis won, he would have faced his teammate — Hansen — in the final.
Meanwhile, Wasatch has continued its successful wrestling tradition — now at the 4A level. The Wasps sent Braiden Parker, Clyde, Logan Huntington and Payton Mair to championship matches. Huntington’s match was especially exciting. He trailed Mason Kendrick of Mountain Crest most of the match, but rallied to tie with 13 seconds remaining, and then scored first in overtime.
At Maverik Center
Team scores after Day 2
1. Maple Mountain, 170; 2. Mountain Crest 165; 3. Wasatch 143; 4. Box Elder 116; 5. Salem Hills, 101.5; 6. Spanish Fork 90.6; 6. Mountain View 87.6; 8. Clearfield 55; 9. Logan 47.5; 10. Kearns 47.
Friday’s semifinal results
106 — Braiden Parker, Wasatch, def. Raynger Keckler, Logan, 12-5. Riley Labrum, Mountain Crest, def. Corbin Smith, Wasatch, fall.
113 — Tanner Cox, Maple Mountain, def. Karther Knight, Mountain Crest, 3-1. James Wright, Spanish Fork, def. Jakob Discher, Wasatch, 7-3.
120 — Caden Clyde, Wasatch, def. Marshall Curtis, Maple Mountain, 12-8. Ryan Hansen, Maple Mountain, def. Mason Colledge, Spanish Fork, 18-2.
126 — Kyle Larsen, Salem Hills, def. Kyle Smith, Box Elder, 5-4. Trent Kelly, Maple Mountain, def. Lukas Erickson, Olympus, 6-3.
132 — Taylor Lamont, Maple Mountain, def. Connor Kirkland, Roy, Fall. Jaxon Van Tassell, Salem Hills, def. Jake Hopkins, Mountain Crest, 5-3.
138 — Teagan Hubbard, Box Elder, def. Greg Lamb, Corner Canyon, 1-0. Johnny O’Hearon, Maple Mountain, def. Caden Kirkland, Roy, Fall.
145 — Logan Huntington, Wasatch, def. Mason Kendrick, Mountain Crest, 6-4. Branson Ashworth, Spanish Fork, def. Tyson Stander, Roy, 11-2.
152 — Matt Williams, Box Elder, def. Brooks Robinson, Maple Mountain, 8-2. Jordan Wengreen, Mountain Crest, def. Walker Van Tassell, Salem Hills, 7-3.
160 — Robert Heywood, Wasatch, def. Scott Stokes, Mountain View, 8-5. Jacob Armstrong, Salem Hills, def. Kalebb Howell, Orem, Fall, 2:31.
170 — Payton Mair, Wasatch, def. Ben Smith, Timpanogos, Fall, 2:37. Kimball Bastian, Maple Mountain, def. Tosh Wilcox, Olympus, 16-1.
182 — Heber Shepherd, Spanish Fork, def. Haden Phillips, Clearfield, 7-3. Micah Gill, Mountain View, def. Tyrone Grantham, Mountain Crest, Fall, 5:30 p.m.
195 — Breckin Gunter, Box Elder, def. Nate Richardson, Timpview, Fall, 3:00. Jordan Crofts, Skyline, def. Peter Schafer, Olympus, 8-7.
220 — Colton Grossaint, Kearns, def. Schafer Lange, Box Elder, Fall, 2:53. Zach Hansen, Springville, def. Dakota Wickel, Clearfield, 3-2.
285 — Joseph Orizaba, Murray, def. Damian Trujillo, Roy, 6-3; Micah Ngatuvai, Mountain View, def. Lee Freestone, Bountiful, Fall, 1:36.
Bruce Smith grew up in Boise, Idaho, and is a longtime newspaper sports writer. He writes primarily high-school sports articles for the Deseret News.