Led by a trio of nationally ranked senior wrestlers with undefeated records this season, the second annual Utah High School Wrestling Super State Championships will take place this Saturday at Corner Canyon High School in Draper.
The tournament, presented by LifeVantage, is fully sanctioned by the Utah High School Activities Association (UHSAA) and will feature state place winners from each of the five UHSAA classifications.
USA Wrestling Utah will run the tournament, led by executive director Jeff Newby. Wrestling will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday with the semifinals starting at 1:30 p.m. and the championship matches beginning at 4:30 p.m.
"Having an opportunity for those who have proven they are at the top of their classification to test their abilities and preparation against wrestlers from the other classifications provides for great competition," said Bart Thompson, an assistant director at the UHSAA.
"We are pleased that the organizers of this event have sought and received the sanction of the UHSAA to ensure that this competition will be conducted in accordance with the goals of education-based competitive events," Thompson added. "The additonal challenges these student athletes have willingly accepted by participating in this event make them all winners."
Dusty Hone, Kimball Bastian and Roy Nash, all nationally ranked seniors, look to close out their high school careers and remain undefeated on the season.
Hone (55-0) is a four-time 3A state champion from Cedar City and ranked No. 14 nationally by Flowrestling in the 132-pound weight class.
Bastian (56-0) is a two-time 4A state champion from Maple Mountain and currently ranked No. 10 nationally by Flowrestling at 170 pounds.
Nash (37-0) is the top-ranked wrestler in the country at 220 pounds and is a two-time 5A state champion representing Taylorsville.
Hone and Nash look to win their second straight Super State Championships, while Bastian will look to claim his first Super State title.
The deepest weight class in the Super State Championships looks to be in the 182-pound weight class, which features three state champions.
Fresh off his first 5A state championship last weekend, sophomore sensation Wyatt Koelling (43-2) from Davis will take the top seed at 182, where he could meet the winner of a possible semi-final matchup between seniors, 4A state champion Micah Gill (35-5) from Mountain View and Dylan Brown (8-0) from Manti. Brown recently returned from an injury in time to win his second 2A championship.
Another bracket with intriguing possible matchups is the 113-pound bracket where we could see a final between sophomore state champs in 4A winner Tanner Cox (44-11) from Maple Mountain and 2A winner Paden Woolstenhulme (37-13) from South Summit. This is provided Woolstenhulme can get by 5A runner-up and defending Super State champion Brock George (36-9), a senior star grappler from Syracuse.
Region 1 powers Layton and Syracuse lead all high schools with nine participants each, while 4A team runner-up Maple Mountain enter five participants along with 3A power Morgan and 5A Jordan.
"The idea of this tournament is exciting, and it would be great to see all of the Utah wrestling community support it," said Layton head coach John Fager, who is also president of the Utah Wrestling Coaches Association. "Even without full participation from all the schools, this tournament will be very unique and entertaining. There is not another tournament that the wrestlers will participate in all season which every wrestler in the bracket is a state placer.
"I'm excited just as a fan to watch this event, then I think about the opportunity my wrestlers have to once again step out on the mat with the best in Utah," Fager continued. "It is an honor to be a part of this great sport in this state."
Other returning Super State champions include two-time 5A champion senior Andrew Astle (37-4) from Layton at 126 pounds, nationally ranked sophomore and two-time 4A champion Taylor Lamont (52-5) from Maple Mountain, who will look to unseat Hone at 132, and junior two-time 4A champion Jacob Armstrong (54-3) from Salem Hills at 160 pounds.
Additonal participating state champions include a quartet of seniors. There is four-time 5A champ Matt Findlay (33-2) from Alta at 138. Also in the field is two-time 5A champion Teague Vigil (44-3) of Syracuse at 145, 5A champion Colton Marshall (31-5) of Layton at 152 pounds, and Dalton Harmon (50-4) of Juab, the 3A champion at 170 pounds.
Rounding out the participating state champions are freshman Ashton Seely of Juab at 160 and 2013 2A champion Kade Evans, a 120-pound sophomore at Beaver.
Brian E. Preece is a freelance prep writer and was the head wrestling coach at Provo High School from 1994-2006.
Copyright 2017, Deseret News Publishing Company