OREM — Day 1 of the 3A state wrestling tournament, held Friday at Utah Valley University’s UCCU Center, was a mess.
Not in a bad way, but at any one moment throughout the many hours of competition, nine different teams appeared to have the edge at one point or another.
The Emery Spartans started the day hot and looked the part of champion, though, so did the Morgan Trojans.
Later, the defending champions Juab Wasps, the Delta Rabbits and the American Leadership Academy Eagles all made runs to the top of the standings.
Union, Richfield, South Sevier, the list of competitive teams who were in contention for the state title was long and decorated.
When all was said and done, however, a familiar name topped the standings.
The two-time defending champion Wasps closed the opening day of the tournament strong and finished with a classification-best 105 points.
Delta closed in second place with 89 points, while Emery, Morgan and American Leadership Academy rounded out the top five.
Leading the way for the Wasps were their seven semifinalists: Channing Warner, Connor Ingram, Cade Bowring, Tyler Lynn, Charles Watts, Blake Mangelson and Shan Jackson.
“My leaders came through,” said Juab head coach Joel Holman. “My leaders are in the semis, the guys I counted on.”
More than that, Juab benefitted from the efforts of some lesser-known wrestlers and as a result, 10 Wasps will compete Day 2, when the state championship is so often decided.
“The truth of the matter is these tournaments are won in the next round, the semifinal round,” Holman said. “That is where teams make separation. If you can punch a lot of guys into the finals, that is where a lot of the points are and that is how you can pull away.”
The second-place Rabbits have as good a chance as the Wasps to earn the title, as Delta advanced eight wrestlers to the semis and will have a total of 15 Day 2 competitors.
Also squarely in the running are the Spartans.
Emery qualified seven wrestlers for the semifinals, a feat in and of itself considering the team’s youth.
“The guys wrestled really good, but we have a lot of wrestling to go,” said Emery head coach Kirk Christiansen. “My freshman are wrestling beautifully and I have three seniors. They are studs, they are placers and they are wrestling really well, but I only have three. Everyone over 170 pounds is a freshman, except one sophomore. My upper weights, my lower weights, they all look good for the future and we are excited.”
Semifinal bouts between the top three schools will be plentiful Saturday morning, as Juab and Delta will face off three times, and Delta and Emery once.
The competition will resume at 10:30 a.m., with the finals slated to begin at 4:45 pm.
At UCCU Center
1. Juab, 105; 2. Delta, 89.5; 3. Emery, 84.5; 4. Morgan, 69; 5. American Leadership Academy, 68; 6. South Sevier, 67.5; 7. Richfield, 61; 8. Union, 60; 9. Grantsville, 55.5
106 — Byron Christiansen, Emery vs. William Korth, Morgan; Lukus Carillo, American Leadership vs. Jess Christiansen, Emery
113 — Jarin Allen, Emery vs. Blake Woolsey, Morgan; Denim Torgerson, Richfield vs. Richard Jenkins, Union
120 — Channing Warner, Juab vs. Maverick Caldwell, Delta; Jarett Jorgensen, Morgan vs. Korby Christiansen, Emery
126 — Connor Ingram, Juab vs. Jayden Petersen, Delta; Rhett Miner, American Leadership vs. Thomas Coates, Grantsville
132 — William Haight, Summit Academy vs. Montana Cragun, Morgan; Quenton Mortimer, American Leadership vs. Ryker Ogden, Richfield
138 — Jed Lee, South Summit vs. Spencer Belinski, Morgan; Triston Fillmore, South Sevier vs. Robert B. Blake, Carbon
145 — Cade Bowring, Juab vs. Austin Chase, Delta; Tate Willoughby, Delta vs. Conner Fausett, Carbon
152 — Tyler Lynn, Juab vs. Cannon Fuellenbach, South Sevier; Dyllin Broughton, Delta vs. McKay Meccariello, Emery
160 — Agustus Dalton, Emery vs. Kade Jensen, Richfield; Damon Mayfield, Manti vs. Colby Hyder, UnionComment on this story
170 — Jate Frost, Union vs. Dillon Sorensen, Richfield; Luis Rodriguez, North Sanpete vs. Koby Johnson, Grantsville
182 — Charles Watts, Juab vs. Wyatt Morrison, South Sevier; Jake Jackson, Delta vs. Brice Clegg, South Summit
195 — Blake Mangelson, Juab vs. Seni Lin Latu, Manti; Bowen Shields, Delta vs. Talmage Brown, Summit Academy
220 — Shan Jackson, Juab vs. Tysen Clark, Summit Academy; Braden Howard, Emery vs. Nolan Bullethead, Union
285 — Kayden Atwood, Summit Academy vs. Blake Greene, Delta; Dalton Anderson, North Sanpete vs. Dalton Clark, Union