The 2008 wrestling season was capped with some amazing individual accomplishments, continuing domination by wrestling powerhouses and a school getting a trophy that had been left out for well over two decades.While plenty of excitement occurred during the regular season, including an eighth-annual All-Star Classic that saw the state's top wrestlers honored and showcased, grapplers all measure their team and individual success at one place the state tournament. Here were some of the highlights:
Greatest of all time?
Springville's Jason Chamberlain finished off his remarkable prep career with a 23-8 win over Pine View's Matt McDonald and his fourth state title. His list of accomplishments is long and distinguished and includes 191 career victories the most in state history, being ranked No. 1 in the nation at the 140-pound weight class all season and only two losses to Utahns in his four-years of high school wrestling. His coach didn't hesitate to put him at the top of the list.
"To be honest with you, I think he's probably the best wrestler to ever come through the state," said Springville coach Justin Judkins. "He has the high school state record (for wins). I don't think I'm being too biased in saying that and I think a lot of other coaches would agree with me."There is not really any way to compare Chamberlain to some of the other great wrestlers that have called Utah home, but one thing is certain, he joined the rare company of four-time state champions because he was the best in 2008.
Joining the list
Another wrestler added his name to the distinguished list of four-time state champions. Monticello's Aaron Butler became just the 17th wrestler in state history to accomplish the feat.
"It is pretty awesome to be a four-timer, and then to be the first one from Monticello high school. It is a pretty amazing feeling. It has never been done before at this school," said Butler.Butler capped his career with a pin in the finals. He also had a different type of four-time championship run. Although all four titles were with Monticello, his first came at the 2A ranks while the remaining three were in 1A. His school was reassigned to 1A after his freshman year after capturing a 2A title. He beat Millard's Mason Stott who became a three-time champ at the 2008 state meet in overtime that season to get his first title.
Not a typical wrestler
She was oh-so-close to becoming only the second female in the country to claim a state title. Still, Uintah's Candace Workman made history as she won her first three matches to advance to the 103-pound 3A final. She couldn't quite get over the hump as she lost to Delta's Chasen Tolbert in the championship match, but it was still an incredible ride to a runner-up finish.
"I knew I could do it," said Workman, "and I hope that by my getting here it can inspire all the other girls out there that want to wrestle to know that they can do it if they put the work in and try their best."
Workman was not just a female trying to wrestle. She proved that she is a wrestler trying to win.
"Candace is a technically sound wrestler," said Uintah coach Greg Stensgard. "She might not be as strong as some of her competitors, but she makes up for it in her savvy and knowledge of how to win those close matches."
Backing up her coach's words, Workman won each of her quarterfinal and semifinal matches by one point and gained the respect of her fellow competitors.
"She was a very good wrestler," said semifinal opponent Dallas Gale of Cedar. "I really forgot that she was a female. It didn't matter at all because she knew what she was doing."Only a junior, Workman finished the year with a 36-10 record, a Region 10 individual title, a second-place at state, and the knowledge that next year she will try to make history once again.
Inspiration to us all
Wayne's Jerico Jackson was born without his right arm from just below his elbow, but that didn't stop the 103-pound sophomore from claiming an individual state championship. He won a dramatic 12-10 decision in the finals and brought perhaps the night's loudest cheers from a capacity crowd at the McKay Events Center on the final night of competition. Still, Jackson doesn't see what the big deal was.
"Coach doesn't treat me any differently, and I wouldn't have it any other way," said Jackson. "He still teaches me the same techniques and what I need to do to be successful. I don't really think I wrestle any different than anyone else on the team."Perhaps the only difference is his success. He joined teammates Jeffery Stephenson and Tyson Hunt as the Badgers' individual winners as the team placed third in the 1A competition.
When looking at the team competitions, it is hard not to notice how little has changed. Viewmont won its fourth title in five years. Mountain Crest claimed its third consecutive crown. Wasatch earned No. 6 in a row and eight out of nine. Millard grabbed its third straight and seventh of eight. The only newcomer was Duchesne's first title in 27 years. But upon closer inspection. There was plenty of drama to each of the title chases.
Viewmont had little to cheer for in the championship matches. Only 112-pound Nate Larsen won an individual title for the Vikings. That is why it was funny to hear a roar from the maroon-clad section as Brighton's Jon Gappmaeir won his state title at 140 pounds. But it was that win over Weber's Logan Hubbard that clinched the title for Viewmont. It wasn't a group of studs that won the title. It was an overall team effort.
"It is a credit to these guys that they all did their part to get this title," said coach Brandon Ripplinger. "We are the only team that scored at least one point in every weight class. We had balance, and we had guys that did everything they could to help the team."
Mountain Crest entered the final rounds trailing Box Elder, but an amazing performance by the five Mustangs looking for individual glory also gave the team the title. Zabinidi Smethurst, Raider Lofthouse, Jarrett Morrill, Jake Morrill and Ethen Lofthouse all came up with big wins to clinch the third straight title for the school.
Wasatch's run appeared to be in jeopardy as Delta led through most of the 3A competition. But like Mountain Crest, the Wasps got huge efforts in the finals to overtake the Rabbits and secure a win. Trevor Sweat, Blake Mangum, Jake Salazar, Ethan Smith, Cole Shafer, Garrett Gleave and Sean Sullivan all won individual titles to put the Wasps on top once more.
Millard proved once again that its depth is unmatched in 2A wrestling. The Eagles got individual titles from Kamron Day, Mason Stott and Sergio Pedroza, but it placed an amazing 19 wrestlers in the top-six.
"Our guys that last wrestled were so tough," said coach Blake Turner. "I think sometimes it is more impressive when guys can come back and place after getting a loss. It is tough to overcome the disappointment and then regroup and wrestle tough, but we a had a lot of guys do that. We would have liked to have more individual champions, but you take the disappointment with the good."
Duchesne ran away from the rest of the 1A competition to claim only the Eagles' second title in school history. Lane Lisonbee, Tyler Reinhardt, Selby Reinhardt and Colby Evans led the way with individual titles as well, but it was an overall team effort that basically clinched the championship on the first day."We had a tremendous group of seniors that led us all year," said coach Brandon Moat. "From the time they lost in the semifinals for football, they dedicated themselves to getting this title. They demanded that everyone work as hard as the can and they accepted nothing less than the very best out of everyone on the team."