In the inaugural UHSAA Super State wrestling tournament, Tooele’s Seth Manning captured fourth place at 170 pounds last Saturday at the Maverik Center in West Valley City.
Two state champions and four of the state’s five runners-up from the 170-pound class attended along with six other state medalists. Manning was seeded fifth.
His opening match was against Herriman’s Shane French, who finished sixth in 4A. Manning had little trouble with French, gaining opening-period takedowns and defeating him 9-3. That victory matched Manning up against West’s Will Lang, who finished second in state in the 4A division. Manning had met Lang two times during the season.
In December, Manning edged Lang 4-2 at the Layton tournament and Lang narrowly defeated Manning at Tooele’s Best of the West tournament in January.
In the third meeting, Manning took quick control with two firstperiod takedowns while Lang getting one escape. Manning led 4-1 going into the second period. Lang worked Manning for an escape to trail 4-2, but Manning was working great on his feet, getting another takedown to take a 6-2 lead into the final period. He escaped before giving up a takedown to Lang. But another escape and takedown for Manning gave him a comfortable 10-4 victory and he moved on to the semifinals, where he would lock horns with Millard’s state champion, Don Fullmer.
These two met at the Rumble last month with Fullmer pulling out an overtime win. In the opening period, neither wrestler was able to score. In the second period, Fullmer was able to escape to take a slim 1-0 lead into the final period of regulation. Fullmer held Manning down for the first minute, but Manning escaped to tie the match, forcing another overtime match with Fullmer.
Both wrestlers were cautious in the first period, but Fullmer got a deep shot late in the period. Manning scrambled away in the closing seconds to avoid losing a takedown and the match. With two 30 second periods remaining, Fullmer was able to escape in the second overtime period to take a 2-1 lead. In the final period, Manning decided he needed a takedown to win, so he chose neutral. But Fullmer held him off for the 2-1 overtime victory to advance to the finals, where Fullmer defeated Maple Mountain’s Kieffer Taylor for the Super State title.
Manning received a forfeit win over Beaver’s Travis Gillman, who was injured in his previous match. That moved Manning on to wrestle Weber’s Zach Huntsman for third place. Huntsman was the 5A state champion. There was no score in the first period, but Manning grabbed a quick 1- 0 lead when he escaped in the opening 10 seconds of the second period. The lead was short as Huntsman scored a two-point takedown about twenty seconds later. With a 2-1 lead going into the final period, Huntsman got a quick escape and takedown early in the third to push his lead to 5-1. Manning worked Huntsman for two more escapes, but lost 7-3 to finish fourth place. Manning finished his high school wrestling career with a 52-10 record.
The concept of the Super State tournament was to invite all of this year’s state place winners from Utah’s five classifications.
The tournament officials hoped to match up all the state’s best wrestlers and crown the top state champion in the state, but many state champions and other place winners did not attend. Tooele’s Jarrid Lavios and three Stansbury wrestlers qualified to compete, but chose not to attend. Of the nearly 300 wrestlers that qualified, the Super State tournament attracted 127 state placers, including 20 state champions and 26 runners-up. There were an average of about 10 wrestlers in each weight class. A bad winter storm Saturday morning kept many fans away from the Maverick Center. Officials hope the tournament will attract more wrestlers next year.