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T-ville is now title town for wrestling

Taylorsville High students might have to do a double take when they pass their school trophy case next week.

Since it doesn't have any baseball inscriptions on it at all, the Warriors' newest piece of championship hardware might seem a bit out of place. But, yes, it certainly belongs there next to the seven baseball trophies.For the first time in Taylorsville's history, the Warriors can call themselves kings of the mats. They claimed the 5A state wrestling championship Saturday night at the E Center in convincing fashion, outdistancing second-place Layton, 197.5-159.

"It means everything to the kids and the school," said an elated Taylorsville coach Mark Campbell. "If we can be talked about in the same sentence as our baseball team, we know we've arrived as a program. . . . We'll have to make room for a wrestling trophy."

Taylorsville basically won the meet on Friday, when the Warriors won 20 of 26 matches in the semifinal and consolation rounds. T-ville capped it off on Saturday by winning individual championships in the three bouts in which its wrestlers were involved.

"I've had a lot of great wrestling moments, but that was the most euphoric wrestling day of my life," Campbell said of Friday's competition.

Saturday was a close second, no doubt, for Campbell and all the Warriors.

"There's nothing like it," said Taylorsville senior Mat Bywater, who won the 140-pound title. "I've never been on a championship team and finally I am. Now we get the rings."

Bywater was somewhat of a surprise winner for the Warriors because he missed a month in the middle of the season with torn leg ligaments. He showed that he's rehabilitated during his 4-2 overtime decision over Layton's Dennis Higgs on Saturday.

Justin Ruiz's victory, on the other hand, was hardly a shocker. The Taylorsville senior wrapped up his prolific high school career by pinning teammate Jason McLane in 3:31. Ruiz, who's ranked No. 1 in the nation at 189, finished with a 117-6 record, including back-to-back undefeated seasons.

The University of Nebraska-bound Ruiz said he was glad to finally add a team trophy to the three straight individual titles he's won.

"It feels good, especially now that we're doing it as a team," Ruiz said. "That just puts the icing on the cake."

Jon Hasebi also won for Taylorsville. He earned a 9-4 decision over Layton's Mike Christensen in the 160-pound division.

Layton's Josh Lamano got his prep career off to a good start. Just a freshman, Lamano pinned Mountain View's Dave Allen in 3:02 for the 112-pound crown. The Central Davis Junior High student went 30-1 this season.

Hillcrest 119-pounder Pat Garcia won the tightest 5A championship by edging Brighton's nationally ranked Brady Jones in the second overtime session.

Along with Ruiz, Orem's Aaron Holker (36-0 in 125) and Skyline's Marshall Meier (32-0, 152) put the finishing touches on perfect seasons with championships. Holker won his third straight title by downing Brighton's Josh Suprise, 6-3.

West Jordan, which finished in third with 151 points, had two repeat winners as Gabe Vigil (130) claimed his third in a row and Steve Babcock (171) his second straight.

Other individual winners include: West Jordan's Levi Martinez (103); Orem's Justin Whiting (135); Layton's Sam Taylor (145); Viewmont's Josh Bake (215); and Alta's Ryon Bingham (275).