OREM — For much of the day Friday, the 4A state wrestling tournament at Utah Valley University’s UCCU Center was a battle between two teams: the Payson Lions and the Uintah Utes.
It was the expected battle, as the Lions and Utes have been considered the best two teams in the classification all season long.
As such, the powerhouses went back and forth throughout the opening rounds of the tournament.
Uintah led for much the afternoon, while Payson dominated both the morning and the evening sessions.
When all was said and done, it was the Lions who had the edge.
Payson finished in first place after Day 1 of the state tourney, with 134.5 points. The Lions qualified nine wrestlers for the semifinals.
Included in that group were Cole Jensen (113 pounds), Deegan Palmer (120), Wyatt Hone (126), Jorge Sanchez (132), Brock Loveless (145), Tyler Knapp (152), Tucker Naccarato (160), Tyson Carter (170) and McCoy Cook (220)
Uintah, meanwhile, finished in second place with 123 points. The Utes finished with eight semifinalists, second only to Payson, all of whom wrestle at 145 pounds or lower. Headlining that group was state champion Gavin Ayotte at 132 pounds and Randon Deets at 126.
In third place were the Bear River Bears, who rallied from as many as 50 points down to pull within nearly 20 points of the Utes. The Bears finished with five semifinalists of their own, including Weston Hirschi and Colter Freeze, among others.
Finishing out the top five were the Canyon View Falcons, followed by the defending champion Mountain Crest Mustangs.
It was all about Payson and Uintah, however, and the schools will face off more than a few times in Saturday’s semifinals. Jensen is set to battle Brody Rich, and Wyatt Hone will do the same with Deet. Additionally Ayotte and Sanchez have a semifinal bout, as do Bridger Bennion and Loveless.
Action will resume with the semifinals, slated to begin at 10:30 a.m. The finals will then commence at 4:45 p.m.
At UCCU Center
1. Payson, 134; 2. Uintah, 123; 3. Bear River, 95.5; 4. Canyon View, 78; 5. Mountain Crest, 61.5; 6. Desert Hills, 53; 7. Salem Hills, 50; 8. Mountain View, 48.5; 9. Cedar, 45
106 — Trenton Ward, Bear River vs. Raiden Harrison, Uintah; Brady Merkley, Uintah vs. Austyn Ennis, Cedar City
113 — Cole Jensen, Payson vs. Brody Rich, Uintah; Cole Huber, Uintah vs. Joseph Mecham, Tooele
120 — Scott Robertson, Bear River vs. Jared Armstrong, Hurricane; Dylian Moore, Stansbury vs. Deegan Palmer, Payson
126 — Gabe Sanders, Mountain Crest vs. Mason Morris, Green Canyon; Randon Deets, Uintah vs. Wyatt Hone, Payson
132 — Colter Ricks, Ridgeline vs. Caleb Armstrong, Hurricane; Gavin Ayotte, Uintah vs. Jorge Sanchez, Payson
138 — Chance Parker, Ridgeline vs. Dylan Dick, Uintah; Ryker Boyce, Desert Hills vs. Weston Hirschi, Bear River
145 — Quade Jones, Desert Hills vs. Ryan Larsen, Salem Hills; Bridger Bennion, Uintah vs. Brock Loveless, Payson
152 — Tyler Knapp, Payson vs. Brady Lowry, Canyon View; Jonathan Hyatt, Mountain View vs. Michael Anker, Cedar City
160 — Tucker Naccarato, Payson vs. Ryan Ball, Canyon View; Chyler Zeeman, Salem Hills vs. Maverik Skinner, Bear River1 comment on this story
170 — Tyson Carter, Payson vs. Heston Wood, Salem Hills; Braydon Cavalieri, Canyon View vs. Antony Torres, Sky View
182 — Gavin Carter, Canyon View vs. Gage Hall, Desert Hills; Merrell Morley, Salem Hills vs. Carson Hansen, Snow Canyon
195 — Cooper Legas, Orem vs. Elijah Stafford, Mountain View; Payton Murray, Cedar City vs. Ben Boyack, Spanish Fork
220 — Nathan Ellis, Cedar City vs. Colter Freeze, Bear River; Sam McMurray, Mountain Crest vs. McCoy Cook, Payson
285 — Sam Dawe, Spanish Fork vs. Enoka Fuailetolo, Desert Hills; David Herring, Mountain View vs. Kioni Alvarez, Cedar City