Wildcats claim 2A wrestling crown
Despite having only two individual champions in 14 weight classes, the South Summit High School wrestling team showed its depth last weekend at Utah Valley University in Orem, placing 16 wrestlers in the top six of their weight classes to win its first state title since 2011.
Senior Matt Lee stole the show for South Summit, winning his fourth-straight individual title by defeating Adrian Villa of Millard in the 126-pound weight class. Lee’s victory sealed the team title for the Wildcats and ended Delta’s streak of seven straight championships (some of which came at the 3A level).
South Summit Coach Jake Woolstenhulme said Lee’s ability to adjust and listen to coaches during intense matches makes him a special wrestler.
"He’s been great to coach," he said. "He’s one of the few kids I’ve coached that when I tell him to do something, he hits it with no hesitation."
The Wildcats’ other champion was Broughton Flygare, who defeated teammate Christian Neuenschwander in the 170-pound title match. Woolstenhulme said Flygare’s dedication to the sport showed on Saturday.
"He’s been consistent for us all year," Woolstenhulme said. "He’s a tough kid. He’s closer to my size, so I’ve been able to help him with situations. He works hard and he definitely deserved this."
Other top-six finishers for the Wildcats were Jayden Williams (fourth in the 106-pound class), Edgar Ganderilla (sixth in 113), Jed Lee (fourth in 120), Logan Crandall (third in 132), J.R. Peacock (fourth in 132), Paden Woolstenhulme (fifth in 138), Kevin Mora (second in 145), Kendall Dick (third in 145), Chandler Rose (fifth in 160), Alexander Johnson (third in 182), Jared Blazzard (second in 195), James Scow (fourth in 220) and Porter Fox (fifth in 285).
Jake Woolstenhulme said the Wildcats relied on the team’s overall depth to scrap their way to the title.
"That was huge for us to be able to win it," he said. "Those JV kids coming through and placing was big. We had 16 kids place this year at the state tournament. The most anybody else had was 12. Where we essentially won it was in the consolation rounds — placing third and fifth and having multiple kids place in multiple weights."
Coming into the year ranked No. 3 in 2A, Woolstenhulme said the Wildcats felt like they had something to prove.
"At the beginning of the year, the kids had a motto of, ‘Steal the show,’" he said. "Any time you beat a Delta and a Millard, it’s tough. They’re both powerhouses. In general, those two teams have more kids than us, but the kids I had were just solid, they put the time in and are solid wrestlers."
Several of the South Summit wrestlers were also on the football team that went undefeated in the regular season and lost in the 2A championship game this fall. Woolstenhulme said it’s no surprise that a school with a strong wrestling program also has a strong football team.
"Personally, I think wrestlers make good football players," he said. "There have been multiple college [football] coaches say they recruit wrestlers. They get mentally tough and do their jobs when they’re at any position. They go hand-in-hand. It keeps them in shape and teaches them toughness."
Though Lee won’t return to the wrestling squad next year, Woolstenhulme is confident the Wildcats can be a 2A force again in 2017.
"We return nine state placers from this year," he said. "I also have one kid that got knocked out of the state tournament who would have placed. We’re going to be tough next year as well. We probably won’t be as deep as we were this year, but I have two returning finalists coming back."
North Summit finished fourth as a team in this year’s state tournament, but the Braves managed to have twice as many individual champions as the Wildcats.
Leading the way was Jaxon Cole, who won his third-straight individual title in the 120-pound class. Taten Ringel placed first at 145, while Rand Pentz (182) and Austin Richins (220) were also victorious. Pentz will compete for his third-straight individual title next season.
2A Wrestling Team Scores
South Summit — 247
Delta — 226.5
Millard — 222.5
North Summit — 198.5
North Sevier — 197.5
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The Miners ended up on the wrong side of a close game on senior night but are still fighting for playoff seeding.