We had 13 out of 14 kids make it into the finals today. This is a good tuneup for state. We hadn't had a match in three weeks. We will have our hands full at state. It's a tough field. —Viewmont coach Brandon Ripplinger.
KEARNS — The Region 2 wrestling tournament had a lot of the old, and a little bit of the new Thursday night at Kearns High School.
To nobody's surprise, Viewmont won the team competition. The Vikings won region for the 18th straight year and qualified an amazing 23 athletes to next week's 5A state meet. They had six individual winners and accumulated 468 points.
Kearns finished second, followed by Taylorsville, West, Hunter and Granger.
While the team title was never in question, there were plenty of individual heroics from virtually every team, each anxious to show they could compete with the Davis County juggernaut that moved from Region 1 this season.
"Viewmont had a lot of depth in all weight classes," said West coach Mike Schmidt. "They have a big advantage on us because we (Salt Lake District schools) don't offer wrestling in our junior highs."
"It's hard to compete against a team like them," added Kearns coach Tyson Linnell. "They're a dynasty. They're solid."
Tanner Luke, Austin Johnson, Kanchi Abe, Matt Wilcox, Lawson Essig and Colton Hadley each earned individual crowns for Viewmont and each hope to give the Vikings momentum next week. Viewmont has won seven state wrestling championships in its 48-year history, but all have come in the last 10 years.
"We had 13 out of 14 kids make it into the finals today," said coach Brandon Ripplinger. "This is a good tuneup for state. We hadn't had a match in three weeks. We will have our hands full at state. It's a tough field."
Viewmont got a taste of how tough it can be at various times Thursday.
Most of their defeats came to the hands of Kearns wrestlers, but one little West athlete made a name for himself.
Will Lang, a freshman who moved to Salt Lake from New Jersey a couple of years ago, continued his phenomenal season by beating Viewmont's Korbin Smoot in a close decision, 5-4.
Lang became West's first region champion since 2007, Schmidt said. When it was over, he couldn't have been prouder.
"He's a freshman and came in seeded number one, so it was no upset," Schmidt said. "(Having a freshman win) doesn't happen often. It's the first time since I've been here."
Linnell was also feeling pretty excited about Kearns' finish. He noted the Cougars had five region winners (Arthur Tomas, Issac Juarez, Brad Mortensen, Colton Grossaint and Leki Finefeuiaki).
Linnell considered two of those victories to be upsets, and was especially proud of Grossaint and Finefeuiaki.
"Grossaint's win was big," he said. "That was huge for him, and should give him a lot of momentum going into state."
Grossaint is a sophomore and trailed for most of the match. However, he was awarded a two-point takedown near the end of the second round after a long discussion by the referees.
Finefeuiaki is a junior and both gained huge amounts of experience in this tournament.
Finefeuaiaki was an offensive lineman on the Kearns football team and listed at 250 pounds. Linnell said he dropped 40 pounds between the end of the season (early November) and now. He compiled a 22-7 record during the season, pinned a Viewmont opponent in the semifinals and then edged the Vikings' Tanner Palmer 3-2 in an exciting, two-overtime decision.
Other interesting outcomes included:
— At 170 pounds, Kearns' Mortensen edged Taylorsville's Dylan Wilson (the quarterback on the Warriors' football team) in an exciting match, 10-6.
— At 182 pounds, Colton Hadley of Viewmont ended Kearns' Danny Kierstead's upset hopes with a pin in the third round with Kierstead ahead, 3-2.
REGION 2 WRESTLING TOURNAMENT
At Kearns High School
1, Viewmont 468.0. 2, Kearns 271.5. 3, Taylorsville 239.0. 4, West 152.0. 5, Hunter 93.0. 6, Granger 60.0.
106 — 1, Tyler Jensen, Hunter. 2, Devin Porschatis, Viewmont. 3, Mario Flores, Kearns. 4, Cody Jensen, Hunter. 5, Moris Marquez, Kearns.
113 — 1, Tanner Luke, Viewmont. 2, David Kim, Viewmont. 3, Andy Le, Taylorsville. 4, Cedric Bristow, Granger. 5, Carter Syphus, West.
120 — 1, Austin Johnson, Viewmont. 2, Antonio Meikel, Kearns. 3, Townes Falcon, Kearns. 4, Matt Tingey, Viewmont. 5, Hunter Holtkamp, Taylorsville.
126 — 1, Kanchi Abe, Viewmont. 2, Victor Samaniego, Taylorsville. 3, Zach Colangelo, West. 4, Connor Duncan, Viewmont. 5, Austin Kennedy, Kearns.
132 — 1, Arthur Tomas, Kearns. 2, Drew Linton, Viewmont. 3, Phillip Teixeira, Taylorsville. 4, Cam Nuckols, Viewmont. 5, Emilio Quintana, West.
138 — 1, Matt Wilcox, Viewmont. 2, Colton Anderson, Taylorsville. 3, Jeppe Albertsen, Viewmont. 4, Luis Rubio, Taylorsville. 5, William Chavez, West.
145 — 1, Issac Juarez, Kearns. 2, Weston McCloy, Viewmont. 3, Keifer Corona, West. 4, Luke Gibbs, Viewmont. 5, Nick Hanson, Hunter.
152 — 1, Will Lang, West. 2, Korbin Smoot, Viewmont. 3, Johann Rubio, Taylorsville. 4, Alex Graham, Viewmont. 5, Hyrum Avalos, Granger.
160 — 1, Lawson Essig, Viewmont. 2, Daniel Pankey, Taylorsville. 3, Doug Schulte, Viewmont. 4, Sione Finefeuiaki, Kearns. 5, Alex Brock, Kearns.
170 — 1, Brad Mortensen, Kearns. 2, Dylan Wilson, Taylorsville. 3, Colby Morley, Viewmont. 4, Toby Kidd, West. 5, Blair McFarland, Viewmont.
182 — 1, Colton Hadley, Viewmont. 2, Danny Kierstead, Kearns. 3, David Vagaia, West. 4, Esteban Jijon, Taylorsville. 5, Willy Langi, Granger.
195 — 1, Colton Grossaint, Kearns. 2, Jared Smith, Viewmont. 3, Jake Bednar, Viewmont. 4, Jonathan Cox, Taylorsville. 5, Chris Brady, Hunter.
220 — 1, Leki Finefeuiaki, Kearns. 2, Tanner Palmer, Viewmont. 3, Mike Bargeron, Viewmont. 4, Jesse Anae, Hunter. 5, Josh Baker, Taylorsville.
285 — 1, Joel Gardner, Taylorsville. 2, Joe Anitoni, Kearns. 3, Kolby Gines, Hunter. 4, Chris Shell, Granger. 5, Spencer Condon, Viewmont.