The Southern Utah State College Centrum seemed like a three-ring circus during Day 3 of the 1988 Utah Summer Games competition Wednesday afternoon.
With the Centrum's court covered with three circular wrestling mats and with championship matches occurring on each match, the indoor arena took on a circus atmosphere.But it was fun-and-games activity, with gold medals riding on championship finals in the middle-school, high school and open divisions. In other words, it made for a smorgasbord of wrestling - and help yourself to all sorts of on-the-mat treats.
Want some collegiate flavor? How about the 163-pound division of the open category, featuring Chris Humphries and David Marsh. Humphries was a former 3A prep state champion at Mountain View High before joining the BYU varisty team and earning a WAC championship. Meanwhile, Marsh earned a 4A prep title at Granger High before advancing to the Weber State varsity squad.
For the record, Humphries edged Marsh on points, 3-1.
How about prep-type pairings? The 132-pound division in the high school category was considered the toughest, thanks to six state place-winners with West Jordan's Chris Ogura and Piute High's Dean Westwood earning berths in the finals. Both had to rely on upset victories in the semifinals to advance - Ogura upset a state champion, while Westwood overcame a 13-2 deficit to pin his opponent.
In the gold-medal match, Ogura outdistanced Westwood 16-5 in a spirited affair.
And some matches featured nationally prominent performers - such as the junior high square-off between 103-pounders Dave Wilson of Orem and John Kelly of Salt Lake City. The former is a state freestyle champion and a third-place finisher in the national Greco-Roman competition, while the latter is a 4A sophomore titlist and first-place finisher in the western region nationals.
Kelly claimed the gold by pinning Wilson with less than 30 seconds left in their match.
ATHLETE COUNT: Midway through the weeklong Utah Games, 2,600 athletes have either participated or pre-registered to compete later this week. Of the actual 2,608 count, nearly two-thirds are male. Also, the average age of the Summer Games competitor is 22, with the oldest participant being 75 and the youngest 5.
Meanwhile, the participant totals are expected to increase, thanks to anticipated late registrations in several of the end-of-the-week sports, especially track.
MEDAL COUNT: Remember, this is the first year of the Governor's Cup Award, the trophy which is awarded to the region - North, Salt Lake, Central or South - earning the highest rating in medals earned, participation rate and sportsmanship.
As of Wednesday night, the breakdown of gold medals won by each region was as follows: Salt Lake, 130; North, 71; South, 33; and Central, 32. And the breakdown for overall medals: Salt Lake, 326; North, 196; Central, 93; and South, 91.
The North and Salt Lake regions' early advantage can be attributed to their strong participation in the early week sports of gymnastics, swimming and karate, all of which feature many individual events and separate competitive divisions.
TENNIS: In its first year at the Summer Games as an exhibition sport, tennis wrapped up its three-day competiton Wednesday. Of note, Sandy's Jeff Weichers, who played both singles and doubles as a freshman at the University of Utah last year, easily defeated Escalante's Anthony Saras, 6-0, 6-0. Weichers' straight-sets win was probably his last competitive outing for the next couple of years - he leaves on an LDS Church mission to Ohio next week.
MIDWAY: Where do the competitions stand midway through the six-day affair? With the conclusion of Wednesday's schedule, six sports - boxing, gymnastics, karate, swimming, tennis and wrestling - have finished competition.
Cycling and volleyball, which both started Wednesday, will continue through the end of the week, with the remaining dozen sports - ranging from track to basketball and from fencing to softball - being saved for the final three days.