With the growth of girls wrestling in the state and Tooele Valley, the three largest area high schools have hired new, separate head wrestling coaches for their girls programs. The 2020-2021 season was the first season girls wrestling was sanctioned by the UHSAA, Last year the Tooele Valley high schools ran their boys and girls teams together under one head coach. Now Tooele, Stansbury and Grantsville each have a girls and boys head wrestling coach. At Grantsville, the retirement of Clarence Evans opened the door to new boys’ and girls’ coaches. Matt Mecham, a CTE business teacher at Grantsville High, has been named the new girls’ wrestling coach.
Mecham, who worked as a volunteer with Evans in 2020, brings program building experience and extensive wrestling knowledge to the position. Evans shared, “Matt was a great asset to our program. I enjoyed working with him and am excited to see him coach these athletes that I worked with last year. They are great girls. We took five to state and five girls placed; two of them were state champions. ”
Evans noted that in 2020, the unofficial state girls tournament had around 154 girls participate. Last year (2021), they had over 500 girls competing at the state tournament with expectations of doubling the number for 2022.
Mecham shared, “It’s an exciting time to be a part of girls wrestling. Clarence did a great job starting the program last year, and I look forward to building upon his success. We have great athletes at Grantsville High, and I am excited to recruit more girls to our wrestling program.”
“Wrestling builds character and transferable skills for all other sports. On the mat, it is just the wrestler and her opponent. Athletes really find what they are made of as they wrestle. I hope we can take the foundation Clarence and assistant coach Liberty Yates laid and continue to build our program,” he continued.
Mecham, who has coached high school swimming, tennis, volleyball, and softball, sees wrestling as a metaphor for life. “Learning to make decisions about the future by planning moves in advance is what wrestling is all about. I want to help my athletes learn the process of wrestling and help them apply it to their lives on the mat and beyond the mat.”
Mecham is no stranger to program building. When he took over the GHS FBLA program two years ago, it had two members. Last year his FBLA group won two state titles and has swelled to almost 30 students. “It’s so exciting to get into this sport as it starts out in high school. This is a great chance to build a culture and shape a sport at Grantsville High for years to come.”
“We are going to focus on process, not outcomes in our program. What we do and how we do it, we can control, and the results will take care of themselves,” he explained his coaching philosophy. “I want our athletes to be physically strong as well as mentally strong. In addition to teaching the correct techniques and moves, it is important to teach young athletes how to mentally approach the sport as well. We will train hard on things we can control and not worry about the external factors like seedings and rankings.”
Mecham has taught Spanish and business in Tooele Valley schools for four years. His wife teaches English at Tooele High. His son, Joseph, won a state championship in wrestling at Tooele High, placed second in state at Grantsville High, and currently wrestles at Western Wyoming Community College. His son Alex is a junior at GHS, and his three daughters, Grace, Courtney, and Caroline attend Excelsior Middle School.
Mecham was born and raised in North Carolina, graduating from UNC Chapel Hill before earning an MBA at the University of Phoenix and a Master’s Degree in Management at Michigan State University.
Any girls interested in wrestling at Grantsville High can contact Coach Mecham by email at email@example.com or meet him in person at the GHS Meet the Wrestling Coaches Event on Tuesday, July 27 from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Grantsville High School commons.