Matt Gade, Deseret News
WEST VALLEY CITY — As Payson freshman Jed Loveless walked up to the mat to compete in the first championship match of the evening, he already knew his team had clinched the team state title.
However, Loveless’ desire to compete and take home the 106-pound individual state title for the first time in his young wrestling career remained the same.
“We already sealed it as a team, so it was mostly just kind of for me, but I really just wrestled my match and gave it everything I had,” Loveless said. “I was just telling myself, ‘Do not give up. You have to hang in there,’ and I did. Overall, it was just a really good match.”
Loveless knocked off Pine View’s Drew Hansen 12-8 to be crowned the 106-pound champ.
With powerhouse and five-time defending champion Delta now in 2A, Payson easily took home first place in the 3A team standings. The Lions topped second-place Juab 218-173.5 Saturday night at the Maverik Center.
They cruised throughout the majority of the tournament, as they had the trophy locked up before the championship matches even commenced Saturday night.
“I’m really proud of my team today. We had a lot to lose last night in the semis, but they showed their true character by coming back,” Payson coach Chris Loveless said. “Most of them took third and came back and placed in state, so I couldn’t be more proud of them. It feels great.”
The Loveless family proved to be the difference-maker once again for the Lions, as both Jed and Hagen topped their opponents to take home individual titles, while Riley finished second in the 126-pound class after getting beat by Uintah’s Kedric Coonis, 1-0.
“It’s great to have as many Lovelesses as you can. It was a heartbreaker with Riley, but that’s just the way it goes sometimes,” said Coach Loveless. “He will come back next year even stronger. But Jed and Hagen stepped up, came in and won a state championship. It’s nice to have brothers both win championships.”
Juab did as much as it could to stay in contention, but the Lions’ two individual champions and 11 other top-six finishers propelled them to the top of the 3A class.
“It feels good. It’s a little nerve-wracking down here sometimes, but it feels great,” Loveless said. “The kids have worked all year long, spent a lot of time in the room, and they have wanted it since we lost by seven last year to Delta. So we’ve been working on it since that day.”
Class 3A wrestling championships
At the Maverik Center
3A state championship team results: 1. Payson, 218.0; 2. Juab, 173.5; 3. Uintah, 166.5; 4. Desert Hills, 139.0; 5. Union, 131.0; 6. Bear River, 114.5; 7. Cedar, 98.5; 8. Pine View, 97.5; 9. Morgan, 86.5; 10. Dixie, 72.0; 11. Canyon View, 59.0; 12. Hurricane, 52.5; 13. Tooele, 48.0; 14. Stansbury, 38.5; 15. Richfield, 34.0; 16. Snow Canyon, 25.5; 16. Snow Canyon, 25.5; 17. Ben Lomond, 16.0; 18. Grantsville, 12.0; 19. Carbon, 10.0; 19. Carbon, 10.0; 21. North Sanpete, 6.0; 22. Park City, 3.0
3A individual state championship results
106 — Championship: Jed Loveless, Payson def. Drew Hansen, Pine View (Dec. 14-8). Third place: Cooper Skinner, Bear River def. Dylan Brown, Union (Dec. 8-3).
113 — Championship: Nickolas Bingham, Bear River def. Tanner Memmott, Juab (Fall 3:10). Third place: Cameron Dickinson, Richfield def. Carlos Nava, Morgan (Fall 1:29).
120 — Championship: Jarrid Lavios, Tooele def. Jayden Pentz, Morgan (Dec. 7-2). Third place: Josh Jensen, Payson def. Josh Pettus, Hurricane (Dec. 4-2).
126 — Championship: Kedric Coonis, Uintah def. Riley Loveless, Payson (Dec. 1-0). Third place: Jace Roundy, Cedar def. Owen Pentz, Morgan (Dec. 6-5).