It may be the foundation of a dynasty, as the Mountain Crest High School girls wrestling team picked up its second consecutive state championship Saturday in Richfield in the second year that girls wrestling has been sanctioned by the Utah High School Activities Association.

“I think it’s amazing to be able to have the girls we have,” said coach Janae Liljenquist, who was named as the tournament’s outstanding coach.

“It’s been emotional. We have 20 seniors who are graduating. They are the first ones to have faith and try this. 

“They just worked through it and worked hard,” Liljenquist said. “They have shown grit and grace both on and off the mat … They can do it all. We have girls who are student body presidents and valedictorians and they’re also out here ripping it up on the mats.

“You’ll see a lot of girls in the finals, who the first time they touched a wrestling mat was in November,”  Liljenquist said. “We have three matches against ourselves in the finals, which is really hard.”

Of the 27 wrestlers from Mountain Crest who came to the state tournament this year, 13 grappled their way to the finals.

In all, the Mustangs walked away with eight individual state titles. 

“I think you’ll see the benefits of giving girls the opportunity to wrestle in our communities in building these strong powerful women,” Liljenquist said.

Wrestling is also breaking down the issues of body image among teens, as girls not only let their weight class be known, but display it with pride, according to Liljenquist.   

“My girls are proud of it because they work hard,”  Liljenquist said. “That’s muscle. They’re proud of their physiques and what they can do with them. It’s so inspirational how they are breaking down those walls.” 

Matte Turnbow (105) pinned teammate Audrey Rollins in the finals, securing her first individual state medal as a freshman. 

“For my team, I just wanted to help build it and make the sport bigger and stronger,” Turnbow said.

“Wrestling has taught me that I’m mentally tougher than I thought. It’s pushed me a lot. I can’t give up. It’s all up to me and no one else.”

Jacie Shock (110) also picked up gold, defeating teammate Brinley Cowley by fall in the second round. 

“My older brother was a wrestler and inspired me to get going with it,” Shock said. “I love being able to think things through.”

Sophomore Gracie Howard (155) continued the Mountain Crest dominance on the mat, pinning Snow Canyon’s Megan Allred in the season finale.

“I really enjoyed how hard it was and I liked how I could be by myself,” Howard said. “I have really bad anxiety going into a match, but my coaches have taught me that it’s a mind game that you play with yourself and you need to break that barrier.”

Another team leader for Mountain Crest was senior Katelyn Hardy (170), who picked up an individual title by beating teammate Brooke Keller on the mat. 

“I have seven brothers, so I’ve always enjoyed just being aggressive and showing that side of me,” Hardy said.

“When wrestling came out for girls, I was excited because finally I could use this part of me.”

For Hardy, the battles on the mat are also a chance to write the first chapters of the girls prep wrestling history book. 

“Coach Janae would always tell us that we were making history by being some of the first girls wrestling teams in the state and the world,” Hardy said.

“It really is such an honor to be a part of it.”


4A girls state tournament

At Sevier Valley Center

Team scores

1. Mountain Crest, 465.5

2. Bear River, 366

3. Ridgeline, 123

4. Pine View, 100

5. Sky View, 90

6. Cedar City, 42

7. Dixie, 41

8. Green Canyon, 38

Individual results

100 pounds

1. Sadie Hardy, Bear River

2. Nyah Weatherston, Ridgeline

3. Shelby Bevan, Mountain Crest

4. Onnika Christensen, Green Canyon

5. Sable Morris, Sky View

6. Addi Baxtor, Mountain Crest

Championship — Sadie Hardy, Bear River def. Nyah Weatherston, Ridgeline, Fall 1:51

105 pounds

1. Mattee Turnbow, Mountain Crest

2. Audrey Rollins, Mountain Crest

3. Skylynn Thompsen, Bear River

4. Katelynn Wall, Crimson Cliff

Championship — Mattee Turnbow, Mountain Crest def. Audrey Rollins, Mountain Crest, Fall 1:25

110 pounds

1. Jacie Shock, Mountain Crest

2. Brinley Cowley, Mountain Crest

3. Kate Bunce, Bear River

4. Rachel Epling, Bear River

5. Megan Robinson, Cedar City

6. Abigail Miles, Crimson Cliff

Championship — Jacie Shock, Mountain Crest def. Brinley Cowley, Mountain Crest, Fall 3:42

115 pounds

1. Bella Gunderson, Bear River

2. Anja Hansen, Crimson Cliff

3. Genesis Diaz, Pine View

4. Samara Ward, Bear River

5. Rylee Turnbow, Mountain Crest

6. Dakota Andersen, Mountain Crest

Championship — Bella Gunderson, Bear River def., Crimson Cliff, Fall 2:58

120 pounds

1. Piper Nix, Mountain Crest

2. Sophia Miller, Bear River

3. Tassie Hatch, Bear River

4. Lillian Stirling, Pine View

5. Emma Child, Mountain Crest

6. Bensha Wade, Dixie

Championship — Piper Nix, Mountain Crest def. Sophia Miller, Bear River, MD 21-12

125 pounds

1. Eastyn Nyman, Mountain Crest

2. Emi Stahl, Ridgeline

3. Kaitlin Lofthouse, Mountain Crest

4. Avery Cazzell, Bear River

5. Makynlie Nelson, Bear River

6. Taimane Faumui, Pine View

Championship — Eastyn Nyman, Mountain Crest def. Emi Stahl, Ridgeline, Fall 4:00

130 pounds

1. Ayelen Grilli, Cedar City

2. Hailey Branch, Bear River

3. Kennis Borrowman, Pine View

4. Madelyne Topham, Ridgeline

5. Kaydee Hopkins, Mountain Crest

6. Lily Pomeroy, Pine View

Championship — Ayelen Grilli, Cedar City def. Hailey Branch, Bear River, MD 11-1

135 pounds

1. Ella Dekorver, Mountain Crest

2. Abigail Trayhorn, Sky View

3. Emma Meidell, Pine View

4. Emma Peterson, Bear River

5. Cadia Bowen, Mountain Crest

6. Rachel Nelson, Bear River

Championship — Ella Dekorver, Mountain Crest def. Abigail Trayhorn, Sky View, Fall 2:43

140 pounds

1. Josie Redman, Bear River

2. Laci Larsen, Mountain Crest

3. Mckelle Jeppson, Pine View

4. Brooklyn Mcbride, Ridgeline

5. Kiah Saurey, Green Canyon

6. Lucy Harris, Desert Hills

Championship — Josie Redman, Bear River def. Laci Larsen, Mountain Crest, Dec 6-1

145 pounds

1. Rhees Hatch, Bear River

2. Emmalee White, Mountain Crest

3. Caroline Kirk, Ridgeline

4. Jenna Mcdougal, Mountain Crest

5. Heighley Johnson, Ridgeline

6. Emma Buttery, Green Canyon

Championship — Rhees Hatch, Bear River def. Emmalee White, Mountain Crest, Fall 0:47

155 pounds

1. Gracie Howard, Mountain Crest

2. Megan Allred, Snow Canyon

3. Georgina Decasas, Dixie

4. Talia Johansen, Mountain Crest

5. Sophia Morris, Sky View

6. Crislyn Potter, Bear River

Championship — Gracie Howard, Mountain Crest def. Megan Allred, Snow Canyon, Fall 2:46

170 pounds

1. Teagan Hall, Mountain Crest

2. Haylee Farnsworth, Bear River

3. Catherine Fitzgerald, Sky View

4. Janet Reyes, Ridgeline

5. Katherine Hall, Cedar City

6. Brynlie Hansen, Mountain Crest

Championship — Teagan Hall, Mountain Crest def. Haylee Farnsworth, Bear River, Fall 1:58

190 pounds

1. Katelyn Hardy, Mountain Crest

2. Brooke Keller, Mountain Crest

3. Sydnee Nielson, Bear River

4. Bretlee Potter, Bear River

5. Komiki Manumaleuna, Dixie

6. Tumua Salanoa-sagapolu, Dixie

Championship — Katelyn Hardy, Mountain Crest def. Brooke Keller, Mountain Crest, Fall 2:12

235 pounds

1. Shanna Archuleta, Bear River

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2. Marjorie Tauti, Sky View

3. Rylie Smith, Bear River

4. Alexandra Vega, Mountain Crest

Championship — Shanna Archuleta, Bear River def. Marjorie Tauti, Sky View, Fall 2:13

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