As reigning 3A state champions, the Grantsville girls’ wrestling team enters the 2022-2023 season with a target on their back. Opposing teams will be gunning to take them down, and the Cowboys feel ready for the challenge.
Second-year head coach Matt Mecham is looking forward to the season with his returning wrestlers, as well as a few newcomers. Mecham graduated two seniors, two-time state champion Hannah Broderick and fourth-place finisher Danya Craner but returns 15 wrestlers who qualified for state last year. Among his returners are four 2022 finalists, state champions, senior Brielle Fawson and junior Hailey Broderick, and finalists, seniors Kaisley Clark and Vanessa Elexpuru. The returners are joined by over 15 girls who are either freshmen or first-year wrestlers.
In the first week of practice, Mecham had over 30 girls tryout for wrestling.
“We have all of the weights covered and will be seeing a lot of great wrestlers pushing each other,” Mecham said. “It’s exciting to see so many girls who are eager to work and build the sport of girls’ wrestling.”
Regarding their success last year, Mecham advised his wrestlers to not get caught up in the past and put unnecessary pressure on themselves by focusing on preseason rankings and outside “noise.”
“We can focus on the things we can control,” he explained. “Things like practice, effort, nutrition, improving our technique and creating a great schedule that allows our wrestlers to hone their skills and go up against other great wrestlers to get experience. “We want to focus on the present, not the future or the past but the match in front of us.”
The Cowboys are scheduled to face many 2022 state championship teams and runners up from across all classifications between duals and tournaments. They will wrestle both Stansbury and Tooele, as well as all teams in Region13, looking to bring home another region title.
“Obviously we’d love to have the success we had last year, but more importantly we want to continue building our program,” Mecham said. “We’ve got a lot of girls joining our program from other sports and are really working to build the girls’ middle school program”
Mecham, and his assistant coaches, Larry Clark and Maren Petersen, are hesitant to single out specific wrestlers this early in the season before hydration, but they are pleased to see where the team is after the first week.
“Our GHS girls wrestling program works in tandem with the boys’ program, and there is great enthusiasm at Grantsville for our wrestling teams,” Mecham said. “Our student section is so supportive and other schools are surprised to hear the noise level in our gym during matches.
“We are so grateful for the support we have from all of our fans, parents and the community.”