OREM — Here's what to expect in the team and individual weight classes at the 5A state tournament, taking place Wednesday and Thursday at Utah Valley University's UCCU Event Center.
Preece's team predictions
1. Wasatch, 2. Box Elder, 3. Viewmont, 4. Skyridge, 5. Maple Mountain, 6. Corner Canyon, 7. Olympus, 8. Murray, 9. Timpanogos, 10. Farmington.
Notes: Though Box Elder won the Division A tournament, the returning firepower of Wasatch will be hard to overcome in a state meet with deeper competition. But the Bees with a 5A high of 20 qualifiers have to be respected. Returning 5A champs Viewmont won't go down without a fight despite the fact they lost some key points when Farmington opened. Skyridge wants to make some noise and push for a trophy, and Maple Mountain has to be considered a trophy threat with its individual stars.
The top five teams should take up nearly 75 percent of the individual medals as 5A is really a classification of haves and have-nots. Corner Canyon brought 17 wrestlers to the big tourney and looks to be the best of the rest though Olympus, Murray, Timpanogos and even Farmington could challenge the Chargers.
Preece's individual weight class predictions
106 — Predicted finalists: Bridger Ricks (Box Elder) vs. Brock Morris (Maple Mountain)
Notes: Freshman Bridger Ricks of Box Elder is the prohibitive favorite and brings in a sparkling 36-4 record. His brother Garrett graduated last year with three state titles for the Bees. Highland junior Collin Sierer sports a 43-5 record and his father and coach Ted was a two-time state champion in the 1980's for Hillcrest. Sierer should meet Ricks in one semifinal while on the bottom side of the bracket look for Maple Mountain's Brock Morris to emege.
113 — Predicted finalists: Drew Lang (West) vs. Joshua Millward (Skyridge)
Notes: This weight is dominated by three freshman who finished 1-2-3 at the Division A tournament held at West High School. West's Drew Lang came from his third seed to defeat Woods Cross' Colton Erickson for the title. But Lang's toughest match came in the semifinals when he squared off with Skyridge rival Joshua Millward. Lang holds a 2-1 edge against the Falcon but their matches are very close. Lang looks good to break through on the top side of the bracket while Millward and Erickson meet in the quarterfinals. Murray's Aiden Riches is very tough as well and should be waiting for the Millward-Erickson winner in the semifinal.
120 — Predicted finalists: Mitchell Slack (Wasatch) vs. Cooper Cox (Maple Mountain)
Notes: This is arguably the deepest and most intriguing weight class at the state tournament. The weight division features two returning state champions in Wasatch's Mitchell Slack and Farmington's Parker Frasure as Frasure won his title last year wrestling for Viewmont. Interestingly enough, both Slack and Frasure are likely to meet early in the tournament in the quarterfinals. That's because while Slack won the Division A tournament, Frasure finished fourth. The winner of this match might have to contend with Skyridge's Jayden Adamson, a returning state finalist who despite finishing sixth at divisions is a force to be reckoned with. The bottom side of the bracket features Slack's teammate Deklan Kelly, who finished second to his Wasp teammate at divisions. But Kelly will have to get past Skyline's Caleb Monson, who beat both Frasure and Adamson at divisions. The Kelly-Monson winner most likely will square off with Division B champion Cooper Cox of Maple Mountain, a returning state placer himself.
126 — Predicted finalists: River Wardle (Wasatch) vs. Colby Eastmond (Skyridge)
Notes: This weight division has a clear favorite with Wasatch's River Wardle, a sophomore who won a 6A title last year with Herriman. The bottom side of the bracket has Division B champion Karson Rees, Skyridge's Colby Eastmond — who lost to Wardle in the Division A final — and the dangerous Anthonee Ouk of Brighton. Ouk and Eastmond will meet in the quarterfinal and the winner of that match-up might be the one that meets Wardle in the final.
132 — Predicted finalists: Sammy Heywood (Wasatch) vs. Hadley Cowan (Skyridge)
Notes: Wasatch returning state champion Sammy Heywood is the wrestler to beat at this weight class. Skyridge's Hadley Cowan, who lost to Heywood at divisions, is his likely finals opponent but Roy's Donald Butler or Brighton's Jaxson Wilde can't be overlooked.
138 — Predicted finalists: Stockton O'Brien (Wasatch) vs. Austin Gillette (Farmington)
Notes: Wasatch's Stockton O'Brien, just a junior, seeks his third state title. He stands as a big-time favorite in this weight class. The bottom side of the bracket has a slew of contenders to meet O'Brien including Murray's Conway Christensen and his 41-6 record; Farmington's Austin Gillette, who finished second to O'Brien at the division tourney; and the dangerous Braden Rex of Skyridge and his solid 41-8 mark. Rex and Gillette are slated to meet in the quarterfinals.
145 — Predicted finalists: Zak Kohler (Wasatch) vs. Lorince Essig (Viewmont)
Notes: Making up the anchor of Wasatch's murderer's row of returning state champions is Zak Kohler. The Wasp senior is going for his fourth state title. While Kohler should skate to the finals, the bottom of the bracket is thick with possible challengers. Viewmont's Lorince Essig won the Division B title while Brighton's Rylan Stevens placed second to Kohler at divisions. But Essig and Stevens could have tough quarterfinal challengers in Springville's Jace Witney and Skyridge's Aaron Ewart.
152 — Predicted finalists: Holland Knudsen (Timpanogos) vs. Jeremy Evans (Viewmont)
Notes: Besides 120 pounds, this weight class is the deepest with several returning state placers. On the top side of the bracket is West's Jack Lang, the Division A champ who has placed in state twice. Also on the top side is Timpanogos' Holland Knudsen, a two-time state finalist. Knudsen has to be on the look out in the quarterfinals for fabulous freshman Andrew Jensen of Maple Mountain and his sparkling 26-6 mark. The bottom half of the bracket features Viewmont's Jeremy Evans, a returning state champion who has lost just once on the season and has 39 victories to his credit. But youth could be served in the likes of Woods Cross sophomore Shandel Smoot, who pushed Lang to the brink in the Division A final. Smoot's quarterfinal opponent is likely to be Skyridge's James Hornberger, a junior who placed in state last year.
160 — Predicted finalists: Trevor Murray (Box Elder) vs. Isaac Wilcox (Olympus)
Notes: The highest ranked wrestler nationally is Olympus grappler Isaac Wilcox. The Titan star has already won two state titles. As the Division B champ, Wilcox is on the bottom of the bracket. His finals opponent will likely be Trevor Murray of Box Elder if Murray can get past Wasatch's Brock Lloyd, a returning state placer.
170 — Predicted finalists: Porter Chamberlain (Wasatch) vs. Zack Johnson (Maple Mountain)
Notes: Returning state finalists Porter Chamberlain (Wasatch) and Zack Johnson (Maple Mountain) look to be on a collision course. Timpanogos Elijah Kratzer and Skyridge's Trace Muse, as returning state placers themselves, hope to disrupt this meeting.
182 — Predicted finalists: Lucas Cochran (Box Elder) vs. Parker Gasser (Maple Mountain)
Notes: Box Elder's Lucas Cochran, just a sophomore, has wrestled 50 matches this year and has had his hand raised 48 of those times. Maple Mountain's Parker Gasser wants a crack at the Bee and sports an excellent 23-3 record. Highland's Paul Clark hopes to upset Cochran while Farmington's Jake Anderson is dangerous and on Gasser's side of the bracket.
195 — Predicted finalists: Dawson Woods (Alta) vs. Tyson Zesiger (Viewmont)
Notes: This weight class features some athletic and exciting wrestlers that will put up the points. Dawson Woods (Alta) won the Division A title, winning a thriller against Ernest Barlow (Skyridge), who will be on the opposite side of the bracket. But Barlow has to be on the lookout for returning state finalist Tyson Zesiger (Viewmont) and his 34-3 record.
220 — Predicted finalists: Emerson Conlon (Olympus) vs. Kade Carlson (Corner Canyon)
Notes: Returning Corner Canyon state champ Kade Carlson stands as the prohibitive favorite and will be on the bottom side of the bracket. The top side of the bracket is a bit more wide open, though Olympus grappler Emerson Conlon stands as most likely to emerge. But standing in his way are some dangerous wrestlers including Division A champ Kellen Collier from Box Elder and Timpview's Cael Richardson. East's Sau Tafisi and his 35-7 mark shouldn't be overlooked, and he is likely to meet Conlon in the quarterfinal.
285 — Predicted finalists: Ryan Gunn (Box Elder) vs. Jimmy Tomasi (Provo)Comment on this story
Notes: Box Elder's Ryan Gunn has lost just once all year long, and he placed second in state last year. Gunn could get a challenge from Maple Mountain's Carson Kay on the top side of the bracket as Kay is a returning state placer. The bottom half of the bracket features two returning state placers that could meet in the quarterfinals with Provo's Jimmy Tomasi and Cottonwood's Samuel Duran. Then lurking for the winner of this bout is likely to be East's Daniel Tuiono, a very athletic wrestler that so far has posted a 32-6 mark.