The Grantsville boys wrestling program has set high goals for themselves for the 2023 season. Under the direction of second-year head coach Jake Phillips, the team is looking to build on last year’s success and push into the top five teams in 3A. After finishing just 11 points out of being a top six team in 2022, the Cowboys have set their sights on becoming a top five team in 3A in 2023.
Coach Phillips shared, “We are looking to build off last year’s success, but any time you lose three out of your four state placers to graduation, the next year looks to be a rebuilding year.” Senior Ethan Rainer, who placed fifth last year at state, will be the lone returning placer with the graduation of the other three state placers: Grant Rounds (2nd) Kole Johnson (3rd) and Joey Scorsone (6th).
Although many may consider 2023 to be a rebuilding year for the Cowboys, Phillips is optimistic about the coming season and the direction of the program. “With the talent and depth we have returning, we will be in a good spot to use the momentum from last year to build this year. With Rainer and our other returning state qualifiers John Ussing, Keaton Sullivan, Payton Yates, and Rylan Albrecht leading the way, we are poised to make a jump.”
He continued, “Last year at divisionals, we had eight wrestlers who were one match away from qualifying for state. We are looking to get those wrestlers over the hurdle.”
One way Phillips plans to get his wrestlers to the next level is by wrestling a tougher schedule. “Our schedule has toughened up again this year,” he explained. “We had a tough schedule last year, and it showed when we started competing with the upper tier of the 3A teams.”
“We were ready to compete and battle with the tough teams. This year is no different. We have a number of 6A and 5A teams on the schedule, as well as three of the top four teams from the 3A last year. We may take our lumps early in the year, but the hope is to peak at division, and state. Overall we are trending in the right direction to keep building the program into a team that will contend in the 3A.”
Judging by the number of wrestlers and fans at the Red and White Intrasquad Dual on Thursday, November 17, the program is expanding and buzz in Grantsville for wrestling is real. Fans filled the bleachers to open the season, and matches at every weight were competitive with wrestlers pushing each other to improve.
Phillips concluded, “We have strong numbers in the room, and everyone understands our common goal. Everyone on the team is working toward the goal of being a top five team. We all understand it will not be easy in a tough 3A, but so far, all the wrestlers are looking up to the challenge.”