OREM — Despite heading into the 1A state wrestling championship as the No. 1 ranked team in its classification and as a slight favorite to win it all, Altamont three-time defending state champ Rylee Foy knew it would be a battle to the end and expected both Duchesne and Monticello to be serious threats.
“Team-wise, it is going to be very tight this year with Duchesne and Monticello,” Foy said of his talented competition. “Our third-place finishers and consolation winners are going to be what sets us apart from the rest, and hopefully we just do enough at the end of the day.”
And boy was he correct.
While clinging to a narrow lead halfway through the day’s action, Duchesne slowly started to creep up on the Longhorns and went on to finish the night on a high note, taking a momentous 149-114 edge over trailing Altamont and control of its own destiny Friday night heading into the final day of action.
“We had a good first round, but this next round (semifinals) was the money round — it’s what will what determine the title,” Duchesne coach Kelly Kielbasa said. “Wayne and Monticello are also hanging in there, but we really just need to come out and wrestle hard every match.”
The Eagles showed up and executed in the semifinals, or “money round,” and finished the night with a total of eight wrestlers who won their semifinal matchups and will compete for an individual state title tomorrow.
David VanTassel (106), Wesley Kota Powell (113), Stockton Moat (132), Steven Skewes (138), Gatlin Thompson (152), Shaydon Summarell (182), Aaron Verduzco (220) and Jayden Thompson (285) all secured spots in the title match, while three other wrestlers won their quarterfinal matchups before falling in the semis to help Duchesne take and extend its lead.
Moat and Skewes completely dominated all day long and combined to score 36 points to power the leaders.
Meanwhile, Altamont’s Brady Farnsworth (126) and Rylee Foy (182) both had solid outings all night and advanced to the title match, where they will both compete for an illustrious fourth-straight individual title. Monticello’s Cole Eldredge (152) will also be looking for the four-peat.
“It takes a lot to do (four-peat),” Foy said of winning a fourth individual title. “My first match of the day I was really nervous because I knew that if I lost that, it was all over.”
The Eagles will look to pick up right where they left off, take advantage of their first-day edge and roll this late momentum into a 1A crown.
Despite overtaking first place and piling 35 points on top of that to outscore every team in both 1A and 2A with 149 points in one day, Kielbasa knows anything can happen on the last day of the state tournament and is far from counting any team out of the race to the 1A throne.
“Wrestling is full of upsets, and there’s always a chance it won’t go our way tomorrow,” added Kielbasa. “There are several terrific teams here, and we’ll just have to come out and wrestle strong and wait and see what happens.”
2015 UHSAA 1A Utah state championship team results
1. Duchesne, 149.0
2. Altamont, 114.0
3. Wayne, 82.0
4. Monticello, 78.0
5. Panguitch, 66.0
6. Piute, 54.0
7. Milford, 16.0
8. Whitehorse, 8.0
Ryan Love is a full-time student at the University of Utah studying communications, and has been a part-time sportswriter and scoreboarder for the Deseret News since October 2012.
Follow him on Twitter @RLove7724