OREM — The elite of Utah high school wrestling gathered Tuesday night at Utah Valley University to battle for supremacy, and bragging rights, in the annual All-Star Duals. The wrestlers, in midseason form, certainly didn’t disappoint.
There were 43 matches fought in front of a large and boisterous crowd at the UCCU Center, including two featured matches. The first featured matchup pitted Bingham’s Cole Moody against Brandyn Van Tassell of Maple Mountain.
Entering the match, Moody, a two-time state placer and a 2016 state champion, was the favorite over Van Tassell, but the Golden Eagle star was the first to get a point as he escaped from a Moody hold. Moody bounced back to tie the match at one point apiece right before the end of the first period.
In the second frame, Moody was able to register a two-point takedown, only to have Van Tassell counter with another point. Van Tassell's final score didn’t matter though as the Bingham senior held on for a hard-fought 3-2 win.
“I just dug deep. I guess I wanted it more than he did,” Moody said when asked what propelled him to the victory. “I just went in there, looked for my points, and tried to stay offensive-minded.”
When asked about the All-Star Duals, Moody noted, “Everybody is watching you. It’s a little different from other tournaments. I just tried to go out there and make it just like any other match.”
The second featured match, and the final match of the evening, saw Payson senior and former state champion Jed Loveless take on Box Elder’s two-time champion Brock Hardy.
The Bees' star dominated the match from its outset. Within seconds, Hardy recorded a two-point take down, and in seemingly the same move jumped out to a 5-0 lead.
Loveless bounced back with a takedown of his own, but Hardy quickly notched another point when he escaped a hold. After the first period, Hardy held a commanding 6-2 advantage.
“It’s just my style, attack, attack, attack,” Hardy said when asked about his quick start. “He was there and battling. He knew what I was going to do. I just went after it.”
The second period brought more of the same. Hardy quickly registered three more points, and with the frame winding down notched two more points to finish the second with an 11-2 lead.
Loveless fought hard in the third, and his two-point takedown seemed to suggest that he had turned a corner in the match, but Hardy was not to be denied. The Box Elder junior continued his offensive until the final bell, and walked away with a 14-4 victory.
“Finishing the match. He is a big man and is strong as can be. He was really slick and good at stopping me. It was hard to keep putting the pressure on him,” Hardy said when asked about the most difficult part of the contest.
“It was tough, I knew he was going to be tough. I just came in with the mindset that it was mine (to win),” Hardy added.
When asked about the All-Star Duals, Hardy noted, “It’s the toughest guys against the toughest guys. It has a different feel. There is a lot more pressure and a lot more intensity.”
Other highlight matches included Payson’s Chayce Loveless’ 3-2 win over Juab’s Ashton Seely, as well as Zac Musselman of Monticello defeating Brady Lowry of Canyon View 6-1.
106 — Dalton Stutzman (Layton) def. Jayden Williams (South Summit) fall 1:23; Gavin Ayotte (Uintah) def. Zack Bingham (Bear River) fall 2:29; Mason Denton (Fremont) def. Jonah Schoppe (Panguitch) fall 1:53.
113 — Quenton Mortimer (Maple Mountain) def. Jarett Jorgensen (Morgan) fall 2:40; Tyson Humpherys (Layton) def. Dillon Torgerson (North Sevier) 4-2; Garrett Ricks (Box Elder) def. Colby Harper (Duchesne) fall 2:37.
120 — Trevor Cluff (Wasatch) def. Brady Poulsen (Delta) 6-1; Terrell Barraclough (Layton) def. Brandon Meikel (Kearns) 3-1; Gentry Warner (Juab) def. Kaden Beckstead (Panguitch) MD 8-0.
126 — Gabe Terry (Mountain View) def. Gage Mason (North Sevier) 5-0; Jaxon Cole (North Summit) def. Tanner Benedict (Layton) 2-1; Brady Knight (Tooele) def. Hunter Thacker (Altamont) MD 11-2.
132 — Derek Fisher (Pleasant Grove) def. Holden Richards (Bear River) MD 14-4; Zak Kohler (Wasatch) def. Carlos Nava (Morgan) 8-2; Kolton Owens (Panguitch) def Shawn Sorensen (North Sevier) 3-2.
138 — Steven Ballif (Wasatch) def. Tanner Lofthouse (Mountain Crest) 8-5; Zac Musselman (Monticello) def. Brady Lowry (Canyon View) 6-1; Ben Harden (Woods Cross) def. Logan Crandall (South Summit) 12-1.
145 — Isaac Wilcox (Olympus) def. McKay Foy (Altamont) 6-5; Logan Jensen (Herriman) def. Corbin Smith (Wasatch) 7-4; Kaleb Kelly (Millard) def. Kayden Canfield (Bear River) 6-3.
152 — Taten Ringel (North Summit) def Cooper Skinner (Bear River) 9-5; Stockton Moat (Duchesne) def. Brayden Stevens (Brighton) 8-3.
160 — Tucker Tomlinson (Uintah) def. Jason Hatch (Delta) fall 5:47; Kyle Larsen (Salem Hills) def. Steven Skewes (Duchesne) fall 1:30; RJ Bingham (Mountain Crest) def. Mason Mangelson (Juab) 9-0.
170 — Wyatt Monroe (Payson) def. Dallin Ewart (Delta) 6-3; Jaxon Van Tassell (Salem Hills) def. Kellen Mooney (Duchesne) fall 1:14. Ty Thornton (South Summit) def. Joey Aagard (Juab) 6-1.
182 — Ritchie Heywood (Wasatch) def. 11-4 Noah Porter (North Sevier); Tyler Haley (Canyon View) Tanner Shields (Delta) def. Tyler Haley (Canyon View) TF-1.5 4:24 (18-3); Gatlin Thompson (Duchesne) def. Austin Clem (Layton).
195 — DJ Cohen (Wasatch) def. Broughton Flygare (South Summit) 7-2; Chayce Loveless (Payson) def. Ashton Seely (Juab) 3-2; Taylor Money (Viewmont) def. Cody Miles (Altamont) SV-1 6-4.
220 — Kelton Cropper (Panguitch) def. Randin Pentz (North Summit) 10-5; Brandon Closson (Pleasant Grove) def. Chase Trussel (Morgan) 3-2; Jantsen Manis (Delta) def. Ryan Gunn (Box Elder) fall 0:31.
285 — Riley Taylor (Box Elder) def. Brady Briskey (Weber) 1-0; Shaun Stockwell (Corner Canyon) def. Brett Walker (Delta) fall 1:00; Aaron Verduzco (Duchesne) def. Josh Madsen (Bear River) fall 3:08.
Featured — Cole Moody (Bingham) def. Brandyn Van Tassell 3-2 (Maple Mountain); Brock Hardy (Box Elder) def. Jed Loveless (Payson) 14-4.