Three Tooele Valley wrestlers, one from each high school, were chosen to wrestle in the Utah All-Star Duals on Tuesday at the UCCU Center at Utah Valley University in Orem. Jake Otero from Stansbury High represented the Class 4A team while Joseph Mecham (Tooele) and Koby Johnson (Grantsville) wrestled for the Wildcard team.
Each wrestler was selected as one of the best in his weight class in the state. Otero, a junior, currently claims the No. 1 designation at 106 pounds for the 4A classification. Mecham, also a junior, is ranked No. 2 at 113 pounds in 4A, and Johnson, a senior, is also ranked No. 2 at 170 pounds in the 3A classification.
Johnson was the first of the local wrestlers to take the mat and came away with an 8-5 victory over Payson’s Tyson Carter, a senior and the No. 1-ranked wrestler at 170 pounds in 4A. Carter struck first with a takedown to go up 2-0, but Johnson quickly responded with a takedown of his own, leveling the score at 2-2. Johnson next scored 14 seconds into the second period to take a 4-2 lead and added another two at the 1:07 mark to increase his lead to 6-2. Near the end of the period, Carter got an escape to bring the score within three at 6-3.
In the third period, Carter started down and escaped 40 seconds into the period to bring it to within two, 6-4, but Johnson wasn’t finished scoring yet and took Carter down with 44 seconds in the match to go up 8-4. Although Carter did score one more point on the escape, Johnson ended the match with the 8-5 victory in his debut as an All-Star.
Otero, Stansbury’s 106-pounder, faced Wildcard team member Will Korth, a freshman from Morgan who is currently ranked No. 2 in 3A. Korth jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead at the end of the first period and extended his lead to 12-0 by the end of the second period. Otero fell by tech fall 15-0 early in the third period.
Immediately following the Otero-Korth match, Mecham squared off against freshman Mack Bray of Millard. Bray is the No. 1-ranked 113-pounder in 2A. Mecham took a quick 2-0 lead with a takedown before Bray made an escape to bring him within one point at 2-1. In the second period, Mecham increased his lead to 4-1 on a takedown before Bray got another escape. Then, Mecham took Bray to the mat for the third time to go up 6-2. After Bray escaped for his final point, Mecham scored his final points by takedown with two seconds remaining in the second period to enter the third period up 8-3. Bray chose to start the third period in the top position but was unable to score any points.
“It was good to get in some mat time under the lights against tough competition at UVU because state is held there,” Mecham said of his first All-Star experience. “It was an honor to be chosen to participate in the duals and represent Tooele High.”
“The All-Star Duals are a great event,” Tooele coach Cody Valdez said. “It is exciting to see the top wrestlers in the state competing against one another all in one venue.
“This year was very nice to see all of the three valley schools represented in the All-Star Duals,” Valdez added. “As far as I can remember, this is the first year that all three schools have had a representative on the mat at the same time.”
All three local teams will compete at the Best of the West Tournament at Tooele High School on Friday and Saturday. Grantsville faced Morgan in a Region 13 dual on Wednesday night, while Tooele and Stansbury both hosted tri-duals on Thursday. Tooele competed against Bonneville and Ogden, and Stansbury faced Park City and Juan Diego.