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Viewmont takes hard-fought 2nd

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PLEASANT VIEW — It was probably just a coincidence, but the way Viewmont state champion Nate Larsen lost in overtime early in the Region 1 wrestling tournament finals sure turned out to be symbolic of the night.

He lost the championship bout on Feb. 1 to Weber's Derek Malan in the 112-pound division when the referee penalized him one point for stalling.

Turns out the Vikings spent the rest of the night trying to get their sputtering motors revved up — and the Warriors kept winning en route to their second straight region championship.

The controversial call lifted Malan, a freshman, to one of seven individual championships for the tourney-hosting Warriors. It also set the tone as five Weber wrestlers defeated Vikings in head-to-head finals match-ups between the top two teams.

That boosted Weber to 398.5 points, far ahead of Viewmont, which only had one champion out of seven finalists and came in second with 333 points. Davis was third with 221 points and two champions, followed by Northridge (165), Layton (137), Fremont (136.5) and Clearfield (120).

Junior Sam Graham was the sole Viking to end up on top of the podium. He defeated Clearfield's Harley Andra, 6-4, in the 171 finals to give Viewmont at least something to cheer for on the night.

Other champions from Davis County schools included Davis' Josh Baker (135) and Sean Porter (140); Layton's Chris Moat (160) and Adam Fager (189); and Northridge's Mike Baker (215).

Fager, a junior, was named outstanding wrestler for the upper weights for his impressive 5-2 decision over Davis' Austin Taylor.

Shay Warren of Weber (125 pounds) earned outstanding wrestler for the lower weights. The three-time state champion is one of the few undefeated wrestlers left in the state.

Viewmont coach Bart Thompson said he would try to use his team's mostly disappointing finals performance as motivation leading up to the 5A tourney, which began this morning at UVSC's McKay Center.

"There were some tough matches we lost," Thompson said. "I hope that will encourage us to get tougher (this) week."

Viewmont and Weber, who have developed quite the wrestling rivalry as of late, figure to be among the leading contenders this weekend.

"It's a great thing in terms of building both programs," Thompson said. He added that he counts Weber coach Jody Warren "as one of my good friends. But, hey, I sure don't like losing to him."

In other head-to-head matches between the top two Region 1 wrestling powerhouses, Weber's Bracken Nipko downed Viewmont's Mike Winger, 12-6, for the 103-pound title; Weber's Shay Warren defeated Viewmont's Taira Abe, 8-2, in the 125 division; Weber's Aaron Ross edged Viewmont's Casey Smoot, 4-2; and Weber's Logan Hubbard pinned Viewmont's Moroni Redd for first in 145.

Weber's Lew Woolsey (152) and Jade Briskey (285) also won their finals. A total of 10 Warriors made it to the championship bouts in front of the home crowd.

"It's a new ball game," Thompson said of the 5A meet, "but I'm afraid Weber's got so much momentum going for them. I don't know what we'll do to derail them."

Jesse Farnsworth also took second for Viewmont, while Travis Timothy (135) placed third and Austin Smoot (112), Stephen Platt (125), Andrew Kimber (145), Eric Call (160), Chase Hansen (189), Nate Holgreen (215) and Ron Wyman (285) picked up some good points for the Vikings with their fourth-place finishes.

Davis' Josh Baker, a senior who took fifth in state last year, called his 4-2 overtime championship victory over Weber's Brady Layton "pretty big" for two reasons.

For one thing, he wrestled his way to the opposite side of the bracket as 5A favorite Ky Lucero of Brighton. He also earned the first-place prize for the first time after coming in second the past two years. But he was more excited about the latter.

"I tried as much as I could. I was dead," he said, describing how tired and inspired he felt in the overtime.

Added Baker: "I didn't want it (taking second) to happen again."

Porter beat Weber's Wayndon Veater in a 15-5 major decision to earn his third straight region championship. He enters the state meet as one of the few three-time defending champions with a chance at a four-peat.

"Region is a confidence-builder," he said, "but when it comes down to it, it's all about state."

Porter said when he was a kid he told his dad — Davis coach Allen Porter — that he was going to win two junior high school district championships and four high school state titles. That makes five down, one to go.

"It's been a pretty important goal all my life," he said.

Jonny Hart (119) and Austin Taylor (189) earned some valuable points for the Darts with their runner-up performances. Braiden Hart (130), Ben Lynch (160) and Tom Arnone (285) earned third-place prizes as well.

Northridge's Mike Baker, a two-time region champ, is also hoping to win another state title. The Weber State football recruit hasn't lost to a wrestler from the 5A ranks all year and said he's "feeling good" going into state.

"I'm just trying to get my pre-match routine right. I think that's most important," he said. He added that he will "try not to overlook anyone."

Baker was the only Knight to make it to the finals, but Jake Jones (140) and Nick Lofthouse (145) placed third. Karl Love (152) and Josh Jones (130) took fourth to help Northridge secure fourth in region.

Layton took fifth, but the Lancers had two individuals win top honors: Moat and Fager. Nic Flores (119), Eric Ramirez (152) and Jason Hunter (171) earned bronze medals in their weight categories.

Andra was Clearfield's only finalist, but the Falcons had solid region performances turned in by Brady Stanger (third, 125), Jesse Thurber (fourth, 103) and Greg Taylor (fourth, 140).

Region 1 Championship At Weber High School Jan. 31-Feb. 1

Team scores

1, Weber, 398.5; 2, Viewmont, 333; 3, Davis, 221; 4, Northridge, 165; 5,

Layton, 137; 6, Fremont, 136.5; 7, Clearfield, 120.

Individual scores

103 — 1, Bracken Nipko, Weber; 2, Mike Winger, Viewmont; 3, Cody Van Buren, Weber; 4, Jesse Thurber, Clearfield.

112 — 1, Derek Malan, Weber; 2, Nate Larsen, Viewmont; 3, Matt Finger, Fremont; 4, Austin Smoot, Viewmont.

119 — 1, Trae Bennett, Fremont; 2, Jonny Hart, Davis; 3, Nic Flores, Layton; 4, Chase Gardner.

125 — 1, Shay Warren, Weber; 2, Taira Abe, Viewmont; 3, Brady Stanger, Clearfield; 4, Stephen Platt, Viewmont.

130 — 1, Aaron Ross, Weber; 2, Casey Smoot, Viewmont; 3, Braiden Hart, Davis; 4, Josh Jones, Northridge.

135 — 1, Josh Baker, Davis; 2, Brady Layton, Weber; 3, Travis Timothy, Viewmont; 4, Zack Sessions, Weber.

140 — 1, Sean Porter, Davis; 2, Wayndon Veater, Weber; 3, Jake Jones, Northridge; 4, Greg Taylor, Clearfield.

145 — 1, Logan Hubbard, Weber; 2, Moroni Redd, Viewmont; 3, Nick Lofthouse, Northridge; 4, Andrew Kimber, Viewmont.

152 — 1, Lew Woolsey, Weber; 2, Dennis Mecham, Fremont; 3, Eric Ramirez, Layton; 4, Karl Love, Northridge.

160 — 1, Chris Moat, Layton; 2, Kade Hall, Weber; 3, Ben Lynch, Davis; 4, Eric Call, Viewmont.

171 — 1, Sam Graham, Viewmont; 2, Harley Andra, Clearfield; 3, Jason Hunter, Layton; 4, Austin Storey, Fremont.

189 — 1, Adam Fager, Layton; 2, Austin Taylor, Davis; 3, Dustin Martin, Weber; 4, Chase Hansen, Viewmont.

215 — 1, Mike Baker, Northridge; 2, Jesse Farnsworth, Viewmont; 3, Bryson Wandling, Weber; 4, Nate Holgreen, Viewmont.

285 — 1, Jaden Briskey, Weber; 2, JC Oram, Fremont; 3, Tom Arnone, Davis; 4, Ron Wyman, Viewmont.

E-mail: jody@desnews.com