OREM — The 4A state wrestling tournament this Friday and Saturday could provide a lot of drama as the top teams, Payson and Uintah, are likely to battle it out. But neither program should sleep on Mountain Crest nor Bear River as they have some tough grapplers and plenty of tradition.
However, since Payson and Uintah both easily won their divisional tournaments last weekend, they have established themselves as the teams to beat. Mountain Crest and Bear River are lurking but in order to win their wrestlers will have to outperform expectations while seeing some Lion and Ute grapplers get upset.
Meanwhile, Canyon View, second to Uintah at the Divisional B tournament, dreams of taking home a trophy and looks to Brady Lowry, with just one loss on the season, to help the Falcons soar to new heights for this program.
Uintah fans are hoping to return to the glory days of Dennis Preece in the 1960s and 1970s where the Utes won nine state championships in a span of 10 years. Though the Utes have just once finished out of the top five in 53 years, they haven't won a state title since 1998, but Ute fans think that 2019 could be that return to glory.
Meanwhile 1998 was a good year for Payson to establish its own winning tradition as the Lions won their first ever state title in the sport. Payson has since won three more titles and has become a powerhouse. Then there is Mountain Crest, one of the dominant programs of the last 25 years. The Mustangs are the returning 4A champions and don't want to give up the trophy without a fight. In the end, talent, tradition and toughness will have a lot to do with who comes home with the ultimate prize.
4A Team Predictions: 1. Payson 2. Uintah 3. Mountain Crest 4. Bear River 5. Canyon View 6. Hurricane 7. Salem Hills 8. Stansbury 9. Mountain View 10. Spanish Fork.
4A Individual Weight Finalist Predictions:
106: Jake Otero (Stansbury) vs. Randy Merkley (Uintah)
Contenders:Trenton Ward (Bear River), Raiden Harrison (Uintah), Austyn Ennis (Cedar City)
113: Cole Jensen (Payson) vs. Joseph Mecham (Tooele)
Contenders: Terrell Lee (Mountain Crest), Dawson Wood (Salem Hills), Cole Huber (Uintah), Anthony Lopez (Mountain Crest)
120: Scott Robertson (Bear River) vs. Matthew Sedillo (Juan Diego)
Contenders: Layne Shepherd (Spanish Fork), Jared Armstrong (Hurricane), Dylian Moore (Stansbury)
126: Gabe Sanders (Mountain Crest) vs. Wyatt Hone (Payson)
Contenders: Mason Morris (Green Canyon), Gunnar Harrison (Uintah), Randon Deets (Uintah), Hunter Evans (Mountain Crest)
132: Caleb Armstrong (Hurricane) vs. Gavin Ayotte (Uintah)
Contenders: Colter Ricks (Ridgeline), Devin Robins (Orem), Randy Merkley (Uintah), Jorge Sanchez (Payson), Trey Hiatt (Payson)
138: Joshua Armstrong (Hurricane) vs. Ryker Boyce (Desert Hills)
Contenders: Chance Parker (Ridgeline), Dylan Dick (Uintah), August Harrison (Uintah)
145: Jace Dart (Mountain Crest) vs. Bridger Bennion (Uintah)
Contenders: Seth Burr (Mountain View), Ryan Larsen (Salem Hills), Clayton Warr (Hurricane), Brock Loveless (Payson), Eli Messick (Tooele)
152: Brady Lowry (Canyon View) vs. Jonathan Hyatt (Mountain View)
Contenders: Tyler Knapp (Payson), Caleb Swensen (Mountain Crest), Matt Brooks (Dixie), Michael Anker (Cedar City)
160: Tucker Naccarato (Payson) vs. Chyler Zeeman (Salem Hills)
Contenders: Ryan Ball (Canyon View), Colten Shumway (Canyon View), Maverik Skinner (Bear River)
170: Tyson Carter (Payson) vs. Braydon Cavalieri (Canyon View)
Contenders: Heston Wood (Salem Hills), Antony Torres (Sky View)
182: Merrell Morley (Salem Hills) vs. Cade Hatch (Uintah)Comment on this story
Contenders: Harrision Judd (Payson), Gage Hall (Desert Hills), Trevor Guzman (Payson)
195: Cooper Legas (Orem) vs. Kaden Shinn (Stansbury)
Contenders: Louis Williams (Payson), Ben Boyack (Spanish Fork)
220: Nathan Ellis (Cedar City) vs. McCoy Cook (Payson)
Contenders: Gabe Blad (Canyon View), Ricardo Baeza (Orem), Aaron Carty (Bonneville), Hunter Larsen (Sky View)
285: Sam Dawe (Spanish Fork) vs. David Herring (Mountain View)
Contenders: Enoka Fuailetolo (Desert Hills), Kioni Alvarez (Cedar City), Jared Duvall (Mountain Crest)