After all that happened during the 2020-21 high school wrestling season, things came to a successful close Saturday at the Class 4A state tournament at the Sevier Valley Center in Richfield.
In Stansbury’s case, it was incredibly successful. The Stallions set a school record by having six wrestlers earn medals for top-six finishes in their weight classes, and SHS finished sixth overall in the team standings.
“We did good,” Stallions coach Tyson Linnell said. “I was hoping to have a few more placers, but it was good overall.”
Freshman Brandon Ploehn led the Stallions’ charge with a runner-up finish at 113 pounds. He opened the tournament with an 18-4 major decision over Mountain Crest’s Porter Johnson, followed by a pin against Green Canyon’s Aaron Shumway. He then held off Pine View’s Jaren Marx in a 3-2 decision to advance to the final, where he was beaten by Bear River’s Trenton Ward in a 15-0 tech fall.
“That was a huge accomplishment for him,” Linnell said. “I always knew the future was bright for him. This is my eighth year out here and I coached him when I first got out here when he was a younger kid. He always does a good job showing up for big tournaments.”
Tooele had a second-place finisher of its own in 106-pound junior Parker Hansen. He rolled through his first three matches, pinning Ridgeline’s Jackson Semadeni, beating Bear River’s Max Miller in a 7-0 decision and picking up a 10-2 major decision over Uintah’s Jaxon McCurdy. Mountain Crest’s Easton Evans managed to fend off Hansen in a 5-0 decision, but Hansen was nonetheless gracious in defeat.
“Parker gave him everything he had, but (Evans) was just a little bit better this year,” Tooele coach Joel Spendlove said. “Parker is the classiest kid that I know. If you want to look at sportsmanship, Parker Hansen’s picture should be next to it in the dictionary. Parker raised (Evans’) hand instead of the ref — he is the ultimate class act, not just as a wrestler but as an individual as well.”
Stansbury 145-pounder Jordan Hammond wrapped up his high-school career with a fourth-place finish, adding to a sixth-place medal he won as a sophomore at 126 pounds. Xander Howard battled through a painful injury to finish fourth at 195.
“(Howard) separated his ribs from his sternum at divisionals, so he was not 100%,” Linnell said. “When he made the semis and we knew he was placing no matter what, that was a huge sigh of relief for all of us.”
Ethan Vorwaller was a fifth-place finisher at 220 pounds, and seniors Brayden Phillips (132) and Braydon Allie (170) each wrapped up their careers with sixth-place finishes.
Tooele 285-pounder Chandler Yeck earned a hard-fought sixth-place finish, beating Stansbury senior Matt Ingersoll in a thrilling ultimate tiebreaker to advance to the fifth-place match.
“That was amazing,” Spendlove said. “In that last sudden-death (period), Chandler had to ride him out for 30 seconds. With about 10 seconds left, Matt almost got away, Chandler grabbed a hold of his foot and his toes and held on, climbed up and in the last five seconds, he was able to break him down. That’s what won him the match — he held on for dear life to Matt’s toes.”
Stansbury’s Warren Welch (145) and Josh Olson (160) fell just one match short of placing, as did Tooele’s Ty Proctor (152).
Stansbury’s Carson Pease (106), Zane Kanirie (152) and Oliver Avila (220) each went 1-2 in the tournament, helping the Stallions finish with 103 points. Uintah won the team title with 332.5 points, well ahead of Mountain Crest’s 295. Bear River was third with 172.5 points, followed by Ridgeline (158), Snow Canyon (115) and Stansbury.
Tooele finished in a tie for 12th place with 42 points. Mason Flygare (120), Cannon Manning (160) and Ernest Gurr (182) each went 1-2. Tyson Tso (132), Rhys Stoddard (132) and Alex Kerwood were 0-2.