Everyone was looking past us. They thought we were going to be just another team for (Wasatch) to beat. —Viewmont senior Colin Smith
OREM — For most of the season, the Viewmont Vikings had to deal with being just another 5A wrestling team and it stung.
“Everyone was looking past us,” said senior Colin Smith. “They thought we were going to be just another team for (Wasatch) to beat.”
They weren’t alone in that, as every 5A school was just another team when compared to the three-time defending state champion Wasatch Wasps.
Wasatch started the season ranked as the top team in the entire state, not just 5A, and for much of the year more than justified the hype.
With elite wrestlers like Zak Kohler (138), Stockton O’Brien (132) and DJ Cohen (195) it seemed only a matter of time before the Wasps hoisted their fourth straight state championship trophy.
The Vikings had other plans, however, and they made good on them at the state championships, held at UVU’s UCCU center Wednesday and Thursday.
Led by individual state champs Parker Frasure (106), Smith (170) and Andrew Bargeron (285), who were merely the tip of a sizable spear of state placers, Viewmont handled the wrestling teams of 5A over the course of the two-day tournament, earning themselves the state title.
“It feels so good,” said Smith. “I know the team is excited about it. Everyone was looking at Wasatch, but we came, we saw and we conquered.”
Smith’s own title-winning match was less conquer and more trench warfare, but in the end the Vikings senior emerged a state champion.
Smith battled with Maple Mountain’s Zackary Allen Johnson for three back-and-forth periods, periods that saw neither wrestler able to pull away from the other.
Towards the end of the final period, Johnson took the lead and seemed destined for some hardware, that is until Smith somehow managed to slip ahead for a late and stunning 11-9 decision.
“It felt really good. After taking second last year, I wanted it so bad,” said Smith. “It was a mental game, honestly. I’m conditioned, but it was so hard mentally to fight through. I just didn’t want to let myself or my family down and I just knew I had to push through it.”
While his match may have been a tight one, the tournament was not.
As a collective, the Vikings finished with 310 points, more than 50 more than second place Wasatch (248.5). Maple Mountain finished in third place in the team competition with 181.0 points while Box Elder finished fourth with 175.0. Skyridge rounded out the top five with 126.0 points.
In addition to their three individual state champions, the Vikings also had eight state placers, including five second-place finishers.
Karson Rees (120), Jeremy Evans (132), Shion Abe (138), Tyson Zesiger (182) and Taylor Money (195) all finished as the runner-up in their respective weight classes, while Cameron Brown (182), Jackson Coyle (160) and Lorince Essig (145) secured themselves third place finishes.
The story of the night, aside from the Viking state title that is, was Box Elder.
Legendary Bees wrestling coach Mike Ripplinger, the father of Viewmont head coach Brandon Ripplinger, said his goodbyes to Utah high school wrestling Thursday night, the state tournament being the last of his career.
While his Bees didn’t win the title, Box Elder star Brock Hardy did claim his fourth individual title, sending Ripplinger out the best possible way.
“It’s great. I have dreamt about it and it still feels like a dream. I am just grateful I am here,” Hardy said of his victory. “I know Ripp was excited too. This was really big for him.”
1. Viewmont 310.0; 2. Wasatch 248.5; 3. Maple Mountain 181.0; 4. Box Elder 175.0; 5. Skyridge 126.0; 6. Olympus 84.0; 7. Brighton 77.5; 8. Corner Canyon 70.5; 9. Timpanogos 69.0; 10. Alta 50.5.
106 — Championship: Parker Frasure (Viewmont) 33-0, So. over Preston Blotter (Wasatch) 33-19, Jr. (Dec 6-0); 3. Cooper Cox, Maple Mountain; 4. Colton Ward, Box Elder; 5. Brock Morris, Maple Mountain; 6. Colin Sierer, Highland.
113 — Championship: Mitchel Slack (Wasatch) 31-13, Jr. over Jayden Adamson (Skyridge) 44-10, Jr. (Fall 5:52); 3. Deklan Kelly, Wasatch; 4. James Monson, Skyline; 5. Soyer Haaga, Olympus; 6. Kody Keith, Timpview.
120 — Championship: Garrett Ricks (Box Elder) 48-4, Sr. over Karson Rees (Viewmont) 29-10, Fr. (MD 12-2); 3. Jonathan Hansen, Bountiful; 4. Declan Britt Morris, Maple Mountain; 5. Treyson Davis, Wasatch; 6. Tanner Orton, Jordan.
126 — Championship: Sammy Heywood (Wasatch) 40-3, So. over Cole Tierre Patterson (Maple Mountain) 18-8, Sr. (MD 16-8); 3. Anthonee Ouk, Brighton; 4. Hadley Cowan, Skyridge; 5. Jacob Degraw, Olympus; 6. Donald ‘DJ’ Butler, Roy.
132 — Championship: Stockton O'Brien (Wasatch) 48-5, So. over Jeremy Evans (Viewmont) 30-6, So. (Dec 10-6); 3. Jaxson Wilde, Brighton; 4. Brayden Tucker, Box Elder; 5. Colby Eastmond, Skyridge; 6. Braden Rex, Skyridge.
138 — Championship: Zak Kohler (Wasatch) 47-2, Jr. over Shion Abe (Viewmont) 36-4, Sr. (Dec 8-7); 3. Morgan Fultz, Bountiful; 4. Jameson Burnett, Viewmont; 5. Garrick Kilpack, Alta; 6. David Keorte, Murray.
145 — Championship: Brock Hardy (Box Elder) 46-0, Sr. over Holland Knudsen (Timpanogos) 36-7, Jr. (Fall 3:24); 3. Lorince Essig, Viewmont; 4. Jack Lang, West; 5. Colten Bean, Maple Mountain; 6. Cipriano Spier, Skyridge.
152 — Championship: Brayden Stevens (Brighton) 46-4, Sr. over Brad Findlay (Corner Canyon) 35-10, Sr. (Fall 1:37); 3. Walter ‘Riley’ Noble, Olympus; 4. Lucas Cochran, Box Elder; 5. Brock Lloyd, Wasatch; 6. James Hornberger, Skyridge.
160 — Championship: Isaac Wilcox (Olympus) 39-2, Jr. over Porter Chamberlain (Wasatch) 38-14, Jr. (TF-1.5 4:31 (31-15)); 3. Jackson Coyle, Viewmont; 4. Benjamin Badonie, Provo; 5. Elijah Kratzer, Timpanogos; 6. Joshua Kim, Viewmont.
170 — Championship: Collin Smith (Viewmont) 39-3, Sr. over Zackary Allen Johnson (Maple Mountain) 48-10, Jr. (Dec 11-9); 3. Trace Muse, Skyridge; 4. Brandon Ehlers, Woods Cross; 5. Dawson Woods, Alta; 6. Dodge Andersen, Corner Canyon.
182 — Championship: Brandyn Nichols Van Tassell (Maple Mountain) 57-2, Sr. over Tyson Zesiger (Viewmont) 24-10, Jr. (Fall 1:40); 3. Cameron Brown, Viewmont; 4. Brady Peters, Woods Cross; 5. Kai Chenoweth, Roy; 6. Matthew Rasmussen, Skyline.
195 — Championship: DJ Cohen (Wasatch) 39-9, Sr. over W. Taylor Money (Viewmont) 37-2, Sr. (Dec 7-4); 3. Tino Leilua, Timpview; 4. Nick Ware, Timpanogos; 5. Duncan Purpura, Viewmont; 6. Jaden Nessen, Box Elder.
220 — Championship: Kade Carlson (Corner Canyon) 34-6, So. over Ryan Gunn (Box Elder) 33-12, Jr. (Dec 5-3); 3. Wade Jacob Bastian, Maple Mountain; 4. Ben Read, Skyridge; 5. Simote Iloa, Springville; 6. Jackson Strong, Viewmont.
285 — Championship: Andrew Bargeron (Viewmont) 33-3, Sr. over Jonathan Johnson (Highland) 38-3, Sr. (Dec 2-1); 3. Gage Sackett, Roy; 4. Samuel Duran, Cottonwood; 5. James Tomasi, Provo; 6. Carson Richard Kay, Maple Mountain.