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Roy and Wasatch to host 4A divisional qualifying tournaments in prep wrestling

On Wednesday and Thursday, 4A will enter the new territory of divisional qualifiers for state wrestling qualifying. The 4A division did have divisional qualifiers in years past, but this was after region tournaments were held to qualify for the divisional tournament. But now 4A will follow the path of the 5A by just having divisional qualifying tournaments and having the region dual meets determine the team champion.

Mountain Crest (Region 5), Woods Cross (Region 6), Corner Canyon (Region 7) and Wasatch (Region 8) won their respective regions, but at the divisional tournament anything could happen, and the divisional tournaments will be the basis for state qualifying for individual wrestlers. The top eight wrestlers from each divisional tournament will go on to the state tournament next week at Utah Valley's UCCU Event Center.

As in 5A, the 4A classification had its 28 teams divided into two 14-team divisions based on the points and number of state qualifiers returning from last year. Roy will host one divisional while Wasatch runs the other tournament.

In the Roy divisional, Maple Mountain will go into the tournament as the heavy favorite with four returning state champions. Tanner Cox (120 pounds), Taylor LaMont (126), Ryan Hansen (138) and Johnny O’hearon (152) will lead the Golden Eagle attack. Other Maple Mountain wrestlers to watch are past state placer Cameron Killian (145) and freshman Brandyn VanTassell (132).

Another interesting story with Maple Mountain is if freshman Hailey Cox (113) can make it through to qualify for the state tournament. Cox is one of the top female wrestlers in the country and with a 10-11 record has a legitimate shot to perhaps become the first female wrestler to qualify for state in the 4A classification.

If anyone can challenge Maple Mountain it will likely be traditional Region 5 power Box Elder or fellow Region 8 rival Salem Hills.

Box Elder is led by freshman sensation Brock Hardy (132) who has a glossy 34-1 record, his only loss to Maple Mountain’s LaMont, who by the way brings in a perfect 52-0 record.

Supporting Hardy will be Kyle Smith (138), a returning state placer, along with fellow returning state placers Jayce Tilley (120) and Jake Holbrook (113). Box Elder is one of two teams in the divisional (Corner Canyon being the other) that could put together a full-team of 28 wrestlers, or two per weight class.

Salem Hills boasts two-time state champion Jacob Armstrong, who sports a 38-2 overall record with those two losses coming to out-of-state competitors. The Skyhawks also have two returning state finalists with Kyle Larsen (145) and Jaxon VanTassell (152). Brennen Gerratt (160) and Jaxon Bowden (220) give the Skyhawks additional muscle.

The Wasatch Divisional promises to have a tight race between the host school and the returning 4A champion Mountain Crest Mustangs.

The Mustangs have several top state contenders, including returning state placers Karther Knight (120), Trevor Lowe (126), Mitchell Egbert (145), Skippy Wengreen (152) and Andrew Anderson (220). Caden Musselman (170), Tim Syndergaard (182) and Carson Tolman (195) add to the Mustang depth.

But Wasatch is also very deep and talented. Braiden Parker (113) is a returning state champion, while Spencer Heywood (160) and Payton Mair (170) placed second in state last year. Jakob Discher (132) and Corbin Smith (120) are returning state placers.

Brian E. Preece is a freelance prep sports writer and the former head coach of Provo High from 1994-2006. In 2006, Preece was named the Utah Coach of the Year by the National Wrestling Coaches Association.