High school wrestling: Pleasant Grove captures 4th straight 5A state title

Published: Saturday, Feb. 15 2014 8:55 p.m. MST

Updated: Saturday, Feb. 15 2014 9:38 p.m. MST

Pleasant Grove's Zachary Dawe has the leg of Lehi's Brackin Stringham in their 285-pound match in the Class 5A State Wrestling Tournament at the Maverik Center in West Valley on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014.

Matt Gade, Deseret News

WEST VALLEY CITY — Not long after winning his third straight 5A individual state title, Pleasant Grove wrestler Kyson Levin could be seen walking the concourse of the Maverik Center clutching a big ice cream waffle cone and a soda.

The junior said it was his first ice cream cone since wrestling started, and he can’t wait for many more, saying with a big smile, “It’s unhealthy things for the next while.”

Levin certainly earned the junk food reward as he gutted out an 11-9 victory over Syracuse’s Brock George for the 113-pound title, one of five individual victories for the Vikings, who easily captured their fourth-straight 5A team championship.

Levin was one of three Pleasant Grove lower-weights wrestlers to hold off an opponent late in the match, and he said it’s no coincidence.

“Honestly every Pleasant Grove kid here is in better shape than anyone down there. I know that if it goes in the third period I will win, so does every other Pleasant Grove kid,” said Levin.

Teammate Nelson Jones opened the meet by holding off American Fork’s Cameron Hunsaker 4-2 for the 106-pound title. After Levin did the same to George — who was attended to four times for blood time — Ben Anderson followed by winning his second straight title by pulling away from Fremont’s Dallin Dalton late for the 8-4 win at 120 pounds.

“It all goes back to coaching. We don’t really condition. We do a certain kind of conditioning that most coaches probably don’t do, and that’s what gets us on top,” said Levin.

After Brock Moore led Pleasant Grove to a fourth straight title Saturday, it’s tough to argue with the results.

Pleasant Grove won the 5A title with a commanding 269.5 points, with Layton finishing second with 163.5 and Syracuse in third with 141.

Along with Jones, Levin and Anderson, Pleasant Grove’s other individual champs were TJ Wind (170) and Zach Dawe (285), who both ended their careers as two-time champs.

Repeat champions was the theme of Saturday’s 5A state tournament, with 7 of 8 defending champs prevailing.

Highlighting the repeat winners was Alta’s Matt Findlay, who beat Layton’s Oscar Rodriguez 22-7 to win the 138-pound title, his fourth individual championship.

“It’s just unreal. It’s something I’ve dreamed about for so long, worked for so long,” said Findlay. “To be healthy for four years and ready to go, every year has been a challenge, every year somebody has pushed me.”

After winning his fourth title, Findlay couldn’t help but reflect on his unlikely freshman year. He was an underdog in the semifinals to West Jordan’s Kyler Machan at 103 pounds, but he rallied to win 9-8 despite trailing the entire match.

“I can remember being so ecstatic,” said Findlay, who became the 28th wrestler in state history to win four individual titles.

Other repeat champs on Saturday were Layton’s Andrew Astle (120), Syracuse’s Teague Vigil (145) and Taylorsville’s Roy Nash (220) — who wrapped up his second undefeated season with a 37-0 record.

The only defending champ who didn’t win was Jordan’s Clay Moss at 195 pounds. He led Bingham’s Nick Heninger 3-2 with just seconds remaining, but Heninger recorded a takedown with two seconds remaining, which the refs ultimately determined was a legal takedown, for the 4-3 win.

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