With one month left in the high school wrestling season, all the talk across the state is about Payson, Uintah and Mountain Crest in Class 4A and Delta and Juab in Class 3A.
Rightfully so, I might add. Those programs are on a level all their own. There’s almost no way, outside of a one-in-a-million freak occurrence happening multiple times over, that the 3A and 4A team champs don’t come out of that group.
But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t plenty of storylines coming from Tooele County as the end of the regular season approaches, with the divisional and state tournaments not far off. In fact, the grapplers from Stansbury, Tooele and Grantsville are more than capable of bringing home individual state titles by the fire-truckload come February.
Stansbury may have the best shot at having multiple individual champions. At the beginning of the season, coach Tyson Linnell identified Dylian Moore and Danny Khoundet as being potential state champions. Both of them have shown why their coach has such high hopes, but they’ve also been joined by plenty of podium-worthy teammates. Kaden Shin, the Stallions’ 195-pounder, has lost just four matches in his first season at SHS after transferring from Hurricane High. Jake Otero was an All-Star selection at 106 pounds, and dominated the Best of the West tournament to earn his first-ever tournament title. Jordan Hammond and Walker Beck each finished second at the Best of the West as well.
More finishes like that could help the Stallions earn more than just a top-10 finish.
Grantsville has a state championship favorite of its own in 170-pounder Koby Johnson. While he may be soft-spoken, there’s nothing quiet about how the Cowboys’ senior captain goes about his business on the mat. He finished third last year in Class 3A, and he’s hungry to take the next step and capture the state title. Teammate Thomas Coates was a semifinalist at the Best of the West at 126 pounds, and figures to be in contention for the state championship as well.
Tooele is led by 113-pounder Joseph Mecham, a transfer from Morgan who was a placer last year in Class 3A and has only been beaten this year by — well, nobody. It would seem that as long as he stays healthy, the undefeated Mecham should be wrestling for the 4A title at the UCCU Center in Orem next month. His teammate, Ryan Hintze, is a returning state placer, and should be a contender to finish on the podium again this year at 170 pounds after finishing second at the Best of the West.
Tooele County has a proud high school wrestling history. This year, there might be several new chapters added to it.
Darren Vaughan is a veteran sports writer from Moab, Utah. He’s looking forward to seeing local wrestlers’ hard work pay off at the state tournament next month. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.