OREM — The 6A state wrestling tournament begins Wednesday at noon at Utah Valley University's UCCU Event Center. Here are some things to look for at this year's tourney.
Preece's team predictions
1. Layton, 2. Pleasant Grove, 3. Syracuse, 4. Bingham, 5. Westlake, 6. Herriman, 7. American Fork, 8. Fremont, 9. Davis, 10. Weber.
Notes: The 6A tournament looks to be very exciting and it could be a wild back-and-forth race because of the strengths the top contenders each bring to the tournament.
The defending champs (Pleasant Grove) will bring 26 wrestlers to the state tournament while top contender Layton brings 17. Those extra nine wrestlers give Pleasant Grove a nice head start.
The consensus is that Layton will counter Pleasant Grove's quantity with quality. Layton has been Utah's top team, regardless of classification, at most every meet including the Rockwell Rumble, Utah's largest and toughest invitational. Here Layton finished second losing out to Windsor, Colorado, while Pleasant Grove finished 11th. However, the quality of competition at the state meet won't nearly be as difficult, and that should favor Pleasant Grove with its higher number of qualifiers.
Fans should expect a struggle between these two powerhouses. Pleasant Grove should establish a lead on the first day with its superior numbers. Then expect Layton to surge back after the semifinal round as the Lancers put more wrestlers in the championship finals. Then in the consolation rounds, Pleasant Grove could surge back in the lead and then the big question will be if the Vikings can hold off the Lancers in the championship finals.
While Layton and Pleasant Grove battle it out for the top spot, there should be a good battle for third through tenth places, with any number of teams having a shot. Syracuse, Westlake and Herriman bring 20, 18 and 17 wrestlers, respectively, to the big tourney and look to even challenge for the title, though it's unlikely. Meanwhile, American Fork with 10 qualifiers hopes to counter with quality by having more wrestlers penetrate to the championship finals. Meanwhile Davis and Fremont are somewhere in between with 15 and 13 qualifiers, respectively.
****Preece's individual weight class predictions****
106 — Predicted finalists: Quade Smith (Layton) vs. Dallan Hunsaker (American Fork); other contenders: Jaxon Bearden (Herriman), Jackson Visser (Pleasant Grove), Sutton Brown (Syracuse)
113 — Predicted finalists: Aidan Harris (Layton) vs. Marco Herrera (Bingham)
Other contenders: Caden Dunn (Westlake), Hunter Swalberg (Northridge)
120 — Predicted finalists: Jacob Finlinson (Westlake) vs. Nathan Bartholomew (American Fork)
Other contenders: Jeff Rogers (West Jordan), Gabe Ogden (Herriman)
126 — Predicted finalists: Tayton Bennett (Layton) vs. Mason Denton (Fremont)
Other contenders: Michel Stock (Pleasant Grove), Zeke Kelley (Pleasant Grove), Tristan Hendrickson (Herriman)
132 — Predicted finalists: Tyson Humpherys (Layton) vs. Parker Coffey (Davis)
Other contenders: Gage Howard (Layton), Calvin Bishop (Westlake)
138 — Predicted finalists: Terrell Barraclough (Layton) vs. Talmage Woodhouse (Pleasant Grove)
Other contenders: Oakley Ridge (Pleasant Grove), Trent Taylor (Westlake), Hunter Brundage (Herriman)
145 — Predicted finalists: Braden Henson (Taylorsville) vs. Cole Zorn (Pleasant Grove)
Other contenders: Chase Walker (Hunter), Jaxon Wardle (Bingham), Jaden Stange (Herriman)
152 — Predicted finalists: Canyon Brann (Layton) vs. Kam Moss (Bingham)
Other contenders: Payton Clark (Bingham), Joshua Rassi (Syracuse), Mark Rausch (Herriman), Leeland Woolsey (Weber), Damon Dodson (Pleasant Grove)
160 — Predicted finalists: Elijah Wilson (American Fork) vs. Jaxon Moore (Pleasant Grove)
Other contenders: Tytan Smith (Syracuse), Eli Knowlton (Davis), Talmage Carman (Herriman), Brice Page (Westlake)
170 — Predicted finalists: Alec Bolingbroke (Layton) vs. Samuel Sprehn (Syracuse)
Other contenders: Ted Johnson (Pleasant Grove), Cannon Carlson (Pleasant Grove), Gabriel Stastny (Westlake)
182 — Predicted finalists: Cole Faust (Layton) vs. Zach Durbano (Weber)
Other contenders: Samuel Clark (Lone Peak), Heston Percival (Davis)Comment on this story
195 — Predicted finalists: Zach Warren (Westlake) vs. Brevan Butterfield (Bingham)
Other contenders: Josef Mecham (Cyprus), Tanner Clem (Layton)
220 — Predicted finalists: Mafi Mahuinga (Herriman) vs. Maika Tauteoli (Pleasant Grove)
Other contenders: Brian Sika (Granger), Phillip Boban (Pleasant Grove), Kevin Van Uitert (Fremont), Anthony Stockwell (Westlake)
285 — Predicted finalists: Jon Hunt (Layton) vs. Kaden Montano (Syracuse)
Other contenders: Keegan Wilkinson (Pleasant Grove), Weston Warr (Fremont), Robert Tabile (Granger)