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Maxwell/Sweat, Part III, highlights wrestling event

SHARE Maxwell/Sweat, Part III, highlights wrestling event

SANDY — Ross Brunson and Jed Jones, the brains behind Monday's inaugural Utah Wrestling All-Star Classic, were overwhelmed.

Every bleacher seat was taken, and yet the fans kept filing into Jordan High. When there was no more room to sit on the floor, the fans kept showing up. By the time the event started, an estimated 3,100 people were crammed into the 2,200-seat gymnasium.

"I knew we had support in the state, but I didn't expect we'd get this big of support tonight," said Brunson, founder of the Utah Amateur Wrestling Association.

The presence of U.S. Olympian Rulon Gardner surely helped draw fans, but in the end it was the wrestling.

No match was as anticipated as the 152-pound tussle. Brighton's Robbie Maxwell and Wasatch's Judd Sweat aren't exactly best of friends, thanks in large part to two previous matches.

In their first meeting at the Layton Invitational, Maxwell prevailed, only to fall to Sweat a week later in the Rocky Mountain Rumble. After that match, Sweat called Maxwell a poor sport and a cheap-shot artist. Naturally, Maxwell wasn't pleased.

It only added fuel to an already raging fire.

Fans were treated to eight matches prior to the main-event rubber match, and with each one the buzz grew.

Prior to the match, Wasatch coach Wade Discher said: "It should be fun for everybody here. It's been built up so much, but both wrestlers truly have respect for the sport."

During the first two rounds, the two waged a great battle in which it appeared Sweat's second-round take down would be the difference. After Sweat vomited between rounds, and his ensuing escape after starting on the mat to open the round, it appeared his 3-2 lead would hold up.

Maxwell was never really worried. Cheered on by a vocal contingent of about 400 Bengals fans, the Brighton senior piled on the points in the third round to claim state bragging rights at 152.

"I was more ready for this match than any other match ever," Maxwell said. "I think I broke him down mentally. I think he was tired. I think I wanted it more."

The all-star meet was, in a sense, a dual meet. One wrestler from the 5A/4A team grappled with a representative from the 3A/2A/1A team. Winning the team title wasn't nearly as important to the wrestlers as winning their individual matches, but no doubt all eyes were on the mat when the heavyweight match began with the big schools clinging to a one-point lead.

Mountain Crest's Emosi Fiefia had waited nearly three hours to wrestle, which he figured was drama enough. He pinned Grantsville's Pace Jorgensen in the first round, giving the 5A/4A team the 34-27 win.

The heavyweight match was one of six matches that ended in a pin, with the others being: Delta's Chris Abbott at 112, Brighton's Cam Jones at 125, Wasatch's Jon Carlisle at 171, Box Elder's Josh Anderson at 189 and Wasatch's Will Webster at 215.

"I've always wanted to see something like this get off the ground," said Delta coach Rick Porter. "This is great for the sport."

While wrestlers were hoping for individual bragging rights, the Abbotts from Delta and the Lamanos from Layton were each going for some sibling bragging rights. Delta's Jake Abbott won his 119 match, and Layton's Zach Lamano won at 135, meaning the 140-pound match between Josh Lamano and Jake Abbott would settle the score. Lamano prevailed 9-4.

"I was definitely nervous, because I knew just what a great wrestler he was," said Josh Lamano.

Meeting Gardner and seeing his gold medal just added to the evening's greatness for Josh Lamano.

"It's not very often you get to meet someone like that," he said.

Gardner, whose life has been chaotic since the Olympics, relished the opportunity to help promote wrestling. When introduced before the meet he was treated to a 20-second long standing ovation.

"The nice thing about Rulon Gardner is that when wrestlers do well and get famous, they want to give back to the sport," Jed Jones said.

Even though Jones was running around the gymnasium virtually the whole meet, he did find time to relax for a few minutes to watch his son Cam improve to 92-1 in his career.

"That was just a bonus," said Jed Jones.

After fans started filling out, and Jones was asked about changes for next year, he joked that they probably better find a bigger arena.

Other winners were: Monticello's Andy Butler at 103, Viewmont's Ben Kjar at 112, Wasatch's Luke Francis at 130, Box Elder's Jeff Newby at 145 and Juab's Tanner Cowan at 160.

E-MAIL: jedward@desnews.com