OREM The race for the team championship in 5A wrestling tightened up after Thursday's consolation rounds and semifinals.
The consensus coming into the three-day tournament was it was a two-team race for the title between Region 1 foes Weber and Viewmont. The prediction has rung true. Weber holds a narrow lead with 115.5 points compared to Viewmont's 112. West Jordan and Spanish Fork are still in contention with 103.5 and 103 points respectively, and Lehi and Davis complete the top six teams.
"I was proud of how our guys fought hard today," said Weber coach Jody Warren. "We don't have quite as many kids left that can place compared to Viewmont, but those that we have can really come through and give us a chance. Every single wrestler that we have left has worked hard and we expect them to keep doing it tomorrow."
Weber moved three wrestlers through to the finals as Logan Hubbard, Lew Woolsey and Dustin Martin are all back to the championships for the second consecutive year. West Jordan also got three through to the title matches as did Lehi, but it was Spanish Fork that advanced the most with four wrestlers. Viewmont, the favorite entering the tournament, has only one. However, it is far from over for the Vikings as coach Brandon Ripplinger said that the tournament can still be won from the consolation rounds.
"We are going to have to come back and battle hard for every single point out there," he said. "We did not have the type of day we would have liked, so we will have to see if the kids come back tomorrow and want to wrestle or if they are going to pack it in."
Third place West Jordan has made a valiant run for its retiring coach, Larry Jaramillo. The Jaguars would be a huge long shot to come back and win it all, but a top-four finish is almost assured.
"It is starting to sink in that this is it for me," Jaramillo said. "When I see a kid win, I never want it to end, and when they lose, I sometimes think it will be all right to not have to go through the pain."
The classification's three unbeatens continued their dominance. Alta's Carson Kuhn (103, 48-0), Viewmont's Nate Larsen (112, 43-0) and Layton's Adam Fager (189, 39-0) all advanced to the finals and all did so with a pin. In fact, except for a first-round technical-fall by Larsen, they all have pinned every opponent they have faced.
"I love getting the pin, but I don't necessarily go into every match looking for it," Fager said. "I just try to wrestle my best, and it seems like most of the time I get in a position to finish a guy off."
The three defending state champions Kade Moss (119, Bingham), Paul Johnson (130, Lone Peak) and Woolsey (152, Weber) also advanced to the finals with a chance to defend their individual titles.The wrestling continues today at the McKay Events Center with the consolation semifinals beginning at 11:30 a.m. and the finals capping the evening starting at 7.