Wrestlers ready to rumble
With divisionals looming, Park City and South Summit are sitting pretty
It’s been an exciting season on the mat for the Miners’ wrestling team. After years of underdog status, the boys have won half of their matches and have high hopes for the postseason.
According to Park City coach Doug Payne, the winning percentage had produced a whole new attitude.
"They can see their improvement," Payne said. "They see where their hard work can take them."
The Miners are still without wrestlers at the top and bottom of the roster at the 103-pound slot and at heavyweight but have been consistent at every other position,
The Miners’ new-found power has been evident. This week, they beat the Oakley School on Thursday and walked away with a win over Uintah on Tuesday for the first time in years. Payne said all the team needed was a pin by Jake Knight for the victory, so Knight just went out and did what was asked for the 42-38 finish.
Brandon Woolstenhulme is continuing his winning ways, losing only to Uintah and national powerhouse Wasatch in region action.
Justus Minardi, in the 125-pound weight class, is also having a successful year. He was just one spot away from placing at the state finals last year and Payne said he has a great chance for making the podium this year.
Others wrestlers have also been posting plenty of positive results. At Uintah, Madee Magee lost his match but avoided the pin, saving valuable points that helped the team to the win.
"He did a great job, Payne said. "It’s not if you win or lose, but how you win or lose," Payne said.
The team heads to the Region 10 divisional championships in Vernal this weekend and Payne is expecting big things from a number of wrestlers, including Knight, Magee, Luke Coleman, Cole Quitiquit and Devin Maddox. The boys will have to individually finish in the top eight to qualify for state.
The Miners still have one more regular-season tournament this weekend at North Sanpete. It will be a double elimination tournament, just like the state finals, and Payne said it will be a good test for the boys before the two most important events of the year.
The Miners have only two seniors this year and a talented group of eighth-grade wrestlers, so Payne said that this year’s success is only the beginning.
"We have great building blocks," he said.
South Summit set to stun at State
Look out, small towns across Utah, there is a new sheriff in town. After years after sitting behind other small-town powerhouses like Juab and Millard, the South Summit Wildcats looked poised to take a serious stab at the state championship title this year.
They have more or less dominated their dual-meet and tournament schedule. With a big victory over Juab in mid-December and numerous tournament wins, the Wildcats seem to have laid the groundwork for an upset at state.
Colton Thornton, in the 103-pound weight class, has been setting records left right. He wrestled as an all-star alongside fellow Wildcat 140-pounder Jonsen Crandall at the Utah Valley University (UVU) All-Star Match on Jan. 12 and five days later took first place at the UVU Rocky Mountain Rumble Tournament the highest finish ever in a very storied South Summit history.
The Wildcats are well aware of the magic of this season. They have even set up their own website, http://web.me.com/gcran8333/SSHS_Wrestling/Home.html , and blog after every match.
The Wildcats wrapped up their regular season over the weekend with a 17-team tournament at the high school. The High Country Classic tournament was a fund raiser for the boys to make their annual trek to a wrestling tournament at Disney World. The Wildcats walked away with first place in the tournament.
The Wildcats still have a week until Region 14 divisionals, but with half their team poised to take top honors, it should just be a formality on their way to wrestling as the top seed at state.
The South Summit seniors, including Lane Thompson, Kendall Prescott, KC Fryer, Cooper Feild and Ryan Card, were honored at the tournament right before the finals. It was a fitting farewell, as everyone had qualified for the finals match.
"The tournament was a good success," said South Summit head coach Steve Crandall on the team blog. "We had many people that volunteered their time and the team would like to thank them very much for their help. It was a great fund raiser and the silent auction brought in quite a bit of money to help the kids wrestle at Disney World again next December."
Jennifer McDonald, a self-described lifelong Republican, was selected as the Summit County Republican Party chair last week.