OREM — Pleasant Grove wrestling and the word underdog have rarely, if ever, gone hand in hand.
In fact, in the decorated history of the Vikings’ program, underdog hasn't been used to describe Pleasant Grove, well, has it?
And yet, that is exactly what the Vikings were heading into the 6A state tournament.
The Layton Lancers were the favorite, and roundly considered the most talented wrestling team in the state.
Layton boasted more than a few elite and championship-ready grapplers, including Terrell Barraclough, Tyson Humphreys, Alec Bolingbroke and Jon Hunt. In truth, the list of Layton stars was long and decorated.
Pleasant Grove certainly boasted its own stars, like Cole Zorn and Maika Tauteoli, but if the Vikings were going to come away with another state title they would do so as a team, on the basis of depth.
On Day 1 of the state tourney that depth served the Vikings well, and the team held a 30-point lead over the Lancers.
As a result, Day 2 was supposed to bring with it a near-photo finish between the two powerhouses.
Instead, the Vikings ran away with it.
Led by Zorn and Tauteoli, who each won an individual state title, the Vikings crushed the competition and earned the program's 20th state championship.
Pleasant Grove finished comfortably in first place, with 311.5 points, 44 points ahead of second-place Layton (267.5).
All told, the Vikings had 16 wrestlers finish in the top six or better in their respective weight classes, including Zorn and Tauteoli, as well as second-place finishers Jaxon Moore and Talmage Woodhouse.
“We killed it,” said Zorn. “We clinched (the title) coming into the night. As the underdogs, that was a big deal and it felt really good. Probably the best feeling I have ever had.”
Zorn credited the title win to pins, or the lack thereof.
While the Vikings didn’t have the most individual champions of any team — that honor went to Layton with six — they were rarely pinned in defeat.
“Our big motto is ‘pin to win,’” said Zorn. “Every day at practice we will do 30 turns, and it is pretty serious. We take it seriously. The amount of pins we got, we weren’t even close to the amount of pins everyone else got. That was the main reason we won.”
As for himself, Zorn won his second consecutive individual state title and the sequel proved better than first.
“This year is way different, way more exciting,” Zorn said.
The main reason, he joked, was he didn’t face off against a teammate, as he did in 2018.
The truth though, was a little more meaningful.
“The feeling (winning state) gave me, I couldn’t let it go,” Zorn said. “I worked my tail off all year to get that feeling again.”
Also familiar with that feeling was Layton’s Barraclough. While his team finished second for the second consecutive year, Barraclough earned his fourth state title, and etched his name in the state record books.
Making his final state tournament victory all the more meaningful was the fact that Barraclough sat out most of the season thanks to a pair of herniated disks in his neck.
“About two months ago I herniated two disks in my neck,” he said. “I couldn’t move for two weeks and had to wear a neck brace.”
It was his fight to return to the mat that made this season’s win that much more special.
“It is really meaningful because of all the hard work I’ve put in,” Barraclough said. “This one means the most.”
In third place in the team competition was the Syracuse Titans, with 202.5 points, followed by Herriman (177) and Westlake (152).
Mustang sophomore Mark Rausch had one of the more exciting victories of the night, a 1-0 win over Layton junior Canyon Brann.
“It is all about hard work,” Rausch exclaimed as he walked off the mat.
Other individual state title winners included Bingham’s Marco Herrera, Westlake’s Jacob Finlinson, Fremont’s Mason Denton and Kolton Kammeyer, and American Fork’s Elijah Wilson.
Layton’s six champions were Barraclough, Quade Smith, Humphreys, Bolingbroke, Cole Faust and Hunt.
At UCCU Center
- Pleasant Grove, 311.5; 2. Layton, 267.5; 3. Syracuse, 202.5; 4. Herriman, 177; 5. Westlake, 152; 6. Fremont, 135; 7. Bingham, 107; 8. American Fork, 95; 9. Davis, 76.5; 10. Cyprus, 36.
106 — Championship: Quade Smith, Layton def. Dallan Hunsaker, American Fork, Dec 3-1; 3. Jaxon Bearden, Herriman; 4. Cal Christiansen, Fremont; 5. Sutton Brown, Syracuse; 6. Jackson Visser, Pleasant Grove.
113 — Championship: Marco Herrera, Bingham def. Aidan Harris, Layton, MD 9-1; 3. Corbin Platt, Fremont; 4. Kody Keith, Pleasant Grove; 5. Hunter Swalberg, Northridge; 6. Jackson Judd, Herriman.
120 — Championship: Jacob Finlinson, Westlake def. Jeff Rogers, West Jordan, Fall 5:11; 3. Nathan Bartholomew, American Fork; 4. Gage Ogden, Herriman; 5. Tucker Butler, Westlake; 6. Isaac Griffin, Syracuse.
126 — Championship: Mason Denton, Fremont def. Tayton Bennett, Layton, MD 10-2; 3. Tristan Hendrickson, Herriman; 4. Hayden Wilson, American Fork; 5. Michel Stock, Pleasant Grove; 6. Zeke Kelley, Pleasant Grove.
132 — Championship: Tyson Humpherys, Layton def. Parker Coffey, Davis, MD 10-0; 3. Joseph Fairbanks, Syracuse; 4. Calvin Bishop, Westlake; 5. Gage Howard, Layton; 6. Kollin Slade, Pleasant Grove.
138 — Championship: Terrell Barraclough, Layton def. Talmage Woodhouse, Pleasant Grove, Fall 3:13; 3. Oakley Ridge, Pleasant Grove; 4. Trent Taylor, Westlake; 5. Edson Romero, Northridge; 6. Dominic Castro, Westlake.
145 — Championship: Cole Zorn, Pleasant Grove def. Braden Henson, Taylorsville, MD 12-2; 3. Jaden Stange, Herriman; 4. Jordan Davies, Syracuse; 5. Jaxon Wardle, Bingham; 6. Camron Eden, Syracuse.
152 — Championship: Mark Rausch, Herriman def. Canyon Brann, Layton, Dec 1-0; 3. Joshua Rassi, Syracuse; 4. Damon Dodson, Pleasant Grove; 5. Cole Sederholm, Fremont; 6. Kam Moss, Bingham.
160 — Championship: Elijah Wilson, American Fork def. Jaxon Moore, Pleasant Grove, Dec 9-5; 3. Reed Taylor, Pleasant Grove; 4. Talmage Carman, Herriman; 5. Tytan Smith, Syracuse; 6. Eli Knowlton, Davis.
170 — Championship: Alec Bolingbroke, Layton def. Samuel Sprehn, Syracuse, Fall 3:11; 3. Cannon Carlson, Pleasant Grove; 4. Terran Egan, Cyprus; 5. Luis Ramirez, Granger; 6. Colby Oldham, Hunter.
182 — Championship: Cole Faust, Layton def. Heston Percival, Davis, Dec 12-9; 3. Zachary Durbano, Weber; 4. Corbin Roennebeck, Syracuse; 5. Matt Smith, Pleasant Grove; 6. Dakota Buckner, Copper Hills.Comment on this story
195 — Championship: Kolton Kammeyer, Fremont def. Cache Kelley, Syracuse, Fall 2:58; 3. Brevan Butterfield, Bingham; 4. Josef Mecham, Cyprus; 5. Zach Warren, Westlake; 6. Tanner Clem, Layton.
220 — Championship: Maika Tauteoli, Pleasant Grove def. Mafi Mahuinga, Herriman, TF-1.5 5:53 (22-7); 3. Anthony Stockwell, Westlake; 4. Philip Boban, Pleasant Grove; 5. Brian Sika, Granger.; 6. Isaac Ngatuvai, Bingham.
285 — Championship: Jon Hunt, Layton def. Kaden Montano, Syracuse, Dec 8-4; 3. Keegan Wilkinson, Pleasant Grove; 4. Chris Patterson, Bingham; 5. Weston Warr, Fremont; 6. Traycee Norman, Herriman.