It has been a successful season for the Grantsville wrestling team, with a solid core of leaders helping propel the team through a rash of injuries.
Sixteen Cowboys will compete at Friday’s Class 3A state wrestling tournament at the Sevier Valley Center in Richfield, including six who have previous state-tournament experience.
“I’ve lost, gosh, it seems like four, five, six guys to season-ending injuries,” Grantsville coach Clarence Evans said. “It’s kind of been hard there, but everyone else has stepped it up and done their best to fill those shoes.”
Grant Rounds is the most decorated of those returners, having placed sixth at 152 pounds a year ago. This year, he will enter the 160-pound bracket as the No. 4 seed from Division B. Kole Johnson (106 pounds) and Cruz Baldovinez (170) also competed at last year’s state tournament, and are No. 2 seeds this year. Bridger Edwards (No. 5 at 195), Carson Val Hurst (No. 7 at 182) and Richie Tracy (No. 8 at 145) bring state-tourney experience to the table, as well.
“I think they’re excited and looking forward to it, that’s for sure,” Evans said. “They know what to expect, and they’ve been trying to advise the younger, newer ones that are going to state on what to expect and what not to hype up.”
Ethan Rainer (152) is a newcomer to the state tournament, but figures to be right in the mix after finishing second at the Division B tournament in Kamas on Feb. 6. Jonas Floyd is a No. 4 seed at 195, and Tino Baldovinez (126) and Hazen Atkinson (285) are both No. 5 seeds. John Kohl (132) and Jadiah Jensen (182) earned No. 6 seeds at the divisional tournament, while Rylan Albrecht (120) and Brody Ware (132) are No. 7 seeds and Isaac Sturzenegger (120) and Payton Yates (138) are No. 8 seeds.
With that lineup, the Cowboys are hoping for a strong finish to their season.
“I think we’ve got four or five guys who have got a pretty good shot at placing, and placing pretty high, I believe — in the top three,” Evans said, noting that Johnson, Rainer, Rounds and Cruz Baldovinez have been the team’s main leaders this season.
The Class 3A tournament will be a one-day event, with the top six wrestlers in each weight class receiving medals. The tournament’s format has been slightly altered, with the semifinal losers automatically being placed in the third-place match to keep them within the five-match-per-day limit.