As the 2023-24 wrestling season draws near, Grantsville’s girls team is preparing to defend its back-to-back titles and compete for a third.
Despite losing 10 seniors to graduation, the Cowboys are bringing back a wealth of experience from wrestlers who are stepping into leadership roles after performing well as juniors and underclassmen.
In his third year at the helm of the squad, wrestling coach Matthew Mecham says he likes where his team is at, talent-wise, and noted that expectations are still running high.
“It’s good to graduate that many and still have a lot coming back,” Mecham said. “You never know what’s going to happen, but I like where we’re starting.
“It’s going to be a fun season.”
Though it is not a daily topic of discussion, the team is so determined to “three-peat” as champs that they have put it on their practice t-shirts this year. In addition to having two stars, one for each of the previous two victories, each shirt has the word “Legacy” imprinted on them with the “E” inverted to resemble the number three.
With the recent success, Mecham notes that the team has a relative target on its back and won’t surprise anyone during competition. The girls aren’t letting that get to their head, however, as they know they’ll likely have to put in twice the work to continue to compete at such a high level.
“We don’t talk about winning a state championship, because there’s so many things that you can’t control.” “We talk about getting better every day and going out and competing hard.”
Among the players Mecham says to look out for are Hailey Broderick and Nikki Dong, who are both now seniors. Broderick is a two-time defending champion and Dong is also a returning state champ. Sophomores Sophie Camargo and Rhylee Clark are also on Mecham’s radar, as both wrestlers finished second place in last year’s tournament as freshmen.
After sending six girls to the semifinals last year, three of whom won, the team is hoping to build on those individual accomplishments.
“Our goal is to do eight (finalists) and four (first-place finishers),” he said. “They have worked really hard in the offseason; they are an amazing group of young ladies.”
Mecham also credits the rest of the school’s coaching staff for the team’s sustained success, across both the boys and girls teams.
“We are fortunate to have some of the best coaches in the sport of wrestling,” he said. “Jake Phillips and Nate Gardner both wrestled in college and are phenomenal teachers.
“Harry Begay and Larry Clark both have years of experience and those four, while technically coaches of the boy’s team, work selflessly with the girls and make our girls what they are.”
Grantsville’s first competition is at the Davis Duals tournament at Davis High School on Nov. 22. Their first home event is the Evans Memorial tournament at Grantsville High School on Dec. 8-9, in addition to a meet at Mountain Crest High School on December 7th.