In a tight battle between the Cowboys and the Buffaloes that came down to Grantsville’s final championship match, the Cowboys’ Hannah Broderick earned the win by pin and the associated first-place points to push the Cowboys past the Buffs to take home the 2022 Best of the West Girls Team Title by 1.5 points, 132.0 to 130.5. Grantsville and Tooele traded spots in the top three throughout the day on Saturday with 6A Mountain Ridge High School, who finished third, just .5 behind Tooele, with 130 points. Stansbury moved as high as fifth during the tournament before finishing seventh overall.
In a triumph for girls’ wrestling in the valley, local athletes reached the championship matches in seven of the 14 final bouts, bringing home four titles and three second-place finishes. Six athletes won the consolation bracket and earned third place.
At 100 pounds freshman Addyson Van Cott of Stansbury earned first place and Outstanding Wrestler for Lower Weights. She pinned each of her opponents in the first period with falls of 1:01, :37, and 1:37 in the championship bout. Coach Codie Miller shared, “I am super happy for Addy receiving the Lower Weights Outstanding Wrestler. She barely wrestled over 3 minutes the whole tournament. This should help her confidence going into the All Star Match Tuesday.”
Tooele freshman Lindsay Hansen finished second in the 105 weight class. She opened with a tech fall (16-1) and then took a major decision 9-0 to advance to the finals. In the finals, Park City’s Annika Futch won by fall (1:33) to give Hansen second place.
At 115 pounds, sophomore and first-year Tooele wrestler Amilla Shinkle finished 5-0, winning each match by fall to earn the 115-pound title. Shinkle’s first match was her longest (2:13). She pinned her next three opponents in 33 seconds, 33 seconds, and 29 seconds before taking 1:18 to finish off Abi Griffith of Mountain Ridge in the finals. Her coach, Joel Spendlove, noted: “Amillia Shinkle did an amazing job for it being her first full tournament that she participated in and taking first was amazing to see. I was so happy for her!”
Grantsville’s Vanessa Elexpuru arrived in the 125 pound finals after opening with a major decision 11-1, pinning her quarter final opponent (4:00) and winning her semifinal bout by decision (9-3). Elexpuru fell to Cyprus’ Cheyenne Cummings in 2:43 to earn second place.
Kaizley Cark, a junior at GHS, claimed first place in the 140 pound bracket pinning each of her opponents. Her longest match, the finals, lasted 1:39, where she pinned Salem Hills Amelie Ledesma. Other pins came in 22 second, 40 seconds and 1:31.
At 155 pounds, Stansbury’s Alize Acosta advanced to the championship bout with pins in the quarterfinals (3:55) and semifinals (1:05) before falling to Cyprus’ Bailee Hawks Nelson by pin (:20) in the championship match.
Reigning state champion Hannah Broderick, a Grantsville senior, earned first place in the 170 pound bracket and Outstanding Wrestler for Upper Weights Award. She advanced to the finals on pins in the quarters and semis before prevailing over Mountain Ridge’s Gabi Merino by fall (2:27) to clinch her team’s victory in the team competition.
Although Broderick’s dramatic pin sealed the Grantsville victory, each member of the team added to the point total leading up to the final match. Eight additional Cowboy wrestlers placed to add to the team point total. At 105 pounds, Zaibree McInnes earned fourth, and at 110 pounds Kathryn Dunn claimed sixth. Jocelyn Bentley placed fourth and Reagan Pitt placed fifth in the 115 pound bracket, both losing to eventual champion Shinkle from Tooele, to drop to the consolation bracket. At 120 pounds, Brielle Fawson won the fifth place match by fall, her fourth victory of the day. Nikki Dong (125 pounds) opened with two victories before falling in the semifinal match and eventually placing fourth. Haleigh Workman (155 pounds) claimed fourth. She fell in the quarterfinals to eventual champion Alize Acosta before winning three straight to advance to the third-place match where she fell by pin to Acosta’s sister Abigail (2:18). GHS’s Macie Chukwuba finished fourth to round out Grantville’s placers.
Grantsville Coach Matt Mecham praised his wrestlers and coaching staff. “At Grantsville, the boys’ and girls’ are instructed together, and Coach Jake Phillips and his staff do a great job teaching all of our wrestlers the technical aspects of wrestling. My athletes benefit from great instruction and do a terrific job practicing and using it in their matches.”
“I’m so proud of the hard work that each of our girls put in, even if they weren’t wrestling today. We’ve had some injuries, and girls have stepped up, even if they are new to wrestling, and filled in for their team. It’s a team effort, and we hope to continue to improve as a team and build our program.”
“It was great to see the valley schools do so well today. It’s wonderful to have excellent competition here in our area to push our athletes to be better and push themselves to the next level.”
Tooele’s team placed seven athletes in addition to Shinkle and Hansen as they led the tournament for a large portion of the day Saturday. At 120 pounds Jaycee Ware earned third place with her only loss coming in the semifinals to the eventual 120 pound champion. She pinned the rest of her opponents. In the 130 pound bracket, Julissa Miranda and Hannah Bice wrestled each other for third and fourth place. Miranda prevailed 6-1 and placed third with Bice earning fourth. Both arrived in the consolation bracket courtesy of the same Hillcrest wrestler who finished second. Wrestling at 140 pounds, Alexandra Baird earned fifth, and at 145 pounds, Savannah Malmgren also finished fifth. Kirra Johnson (170 pounds) fell in the semifinals to eventual champion Hannah Broderick from Grantsville by fall before winning the third place match by fall (1:59). Kaleolane Ned (190 pounds) also placed third with only one loss to the 190-pound bracket champion. Ned prevailed by fall (4:38) in the consolation finals. Emma Brown (170) picked up a victory in the tournament.
Tooele coach Joel Spendlove commented, “I thought we wrestled well. We hadn’t wrestled in almost a month, so we were a bit rusty at times,but when we needed to perform at our best or bounce back from a loss the girls did a great job at doing that.”
He continued: “All the girls performed well. They all showed toughness and grit. Some girls had some really tough brackets and faced some adversity at times, and they all showed resilience and toughness when it mattered the most. It was a tough tournament with a lot of great wrestlers.”
“It was awesome to see the three schools in the county have success and have girls perform at such a high level. I’m very excited to see Grantsville in a couple weeks. They have an amazing team with some truly outstanding wrestlers at 145 and 170. It will be a barn burner and just like Saturday. I’m sure it will come down to the last match of the night. We still have a lot of stuff to improve on as a team, and I’m so excited to see what the rest of the year holds for these girls.”
In addition to Van Cott and Alize Acosta, the Stallions placed four other athletes. At 110 pounds, Cytlali Lopez opened with three victories and placed fourth after medically forfeiting her final two matches. Abigail Acosta earned third place losing her only match in the quarterfinals to the eventual 155 pound champion. At 235 pounds, Elisia Trujillo placed third with a victory in the 3rd Place match, and Angie Aguilar placed fifth. Kortnee Selin (120), Kacie Jean Nicholes (125), and Kynsie Sessions (145) all picked up wins in the tournament.
Coach Miller was pleased with his team’s effort. “One of our goals was to medal five girls and finish in the top five. We medaled six and finished seventh. The girls are all gaining confidence still in themselves as we continue into the season. The other girls who placed have also been working hard, I am super excited to see what they accomplish in the future. When Cytlai gets healthy she is super fast and aggressive. The Acosta twins are very competitive and continue to get better every week. Elishia has a way of quietly winning and scoring points every week. We still have a couple girls that are coming along that will be placing in the upcoming tournaments. By the time Division comes around I hope we are peaking as a team and qualifying all the girls for state, I believe we have that potential.”
Tooele and Grantsville girls will face off on January 26 at Tooele High, and Stansbury will host Grantsville (boys and girls) on January 28 in the final match of the season for both teams.