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High school wrestling: Pleasant Grove Vikings dominate 6A state tournament, win 3rd straight title and 9th championship in the last 10 years

Oakley Ridge and Jake Richardson led the way for the Vikings with individual state title wins, while 12 of their teammates managed to place

Corner Canyon’s Kam Moss competes against Layton’s Canyon Brann in the 6A 160-pound match at Utah Valley University in Orem on Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020. Moss won the match.
Corner Canyon’s Kam Moss competes against Layton’s Canyon Brann in the 6A 160-pound match at Utah Valley University in Orem on Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020. Moss won the match.
Laura Seitz, Deseret News

OREM — There have been some dominant wrestling programs in the state of Utah over the years. With 34 championships all-time, the Delta Rabbits have been far and away the most successful, but there is an argument for who deserves the moniker of second-best.

There are a few teams in that discussion.

The Uintah Utes for one. The Utes have won 23 championships, the most recent in 1999. Then there are the Wasatch Wasps, who also have 23 titles, 13 of which have come in the last 20 years. You can throw the Millard Eagles into the mix too, what with their 18 championships, and if you want to be generous, Wayne and its 16 titles warrant mention.

If they keep up their current pace, though, no one will be able to hold off the Pleasant Grove Vikings. Led by an absolutely dominant showing in both days of this year’s 6A state tournament, the Vikings are yet again state champs.

Pleasant Grove finished with 274.5 points, 83 more than second place Layton, more than enough to win the school its third straight wrestling title. Not only that, the championship is the Vikings’ ninth in 10 years and the ninth of head coach Brock Moore’s tenure. Oh, it is also Pleasant Grove’s 21st state championship all-time.

“It is glorious,” senior Oakley Ridge said.

The Vikings overwhelmed the competition. Fourteen Pleasant Grove wrestlers placed, including individual state champs Jake Richardson and Ridge. Jacob Carson had a runner-up finish, as did Matthew Smith, Ted Johnson and Cannon Carlson. The Vikings simply racked up points at an excessive level as they ran away from the field.

“I give that to Coach Moore,” said Ridge. “He knows how to make decent wrestlers state championship material.”

Pleasant Grove had, in truth, all but wrapped up the state championship after day one of competition, which enabled them to wrestle free and easy under the spotlight Thursday night.

“That is what we said as a team,” said Ridge. “Go out there and have fun.”

And get some pins, too. That is the Pleasant Grove way.

“That is how PG wins,” Ridge said. “Bonus points and getting those pins in.”

Ridge did just that in his championship final, when he defeated Skyridge star Mahkyi Smith in one of the more anticipated matches.

It was a victory a long time in the making and one Ridge willed into existence.

After he finished third in his weight class in the 2019 6A state tournament, Ridge decided to write down every single day that he was a state champ. He believed doing so would make his dream become a reality.

“It is called quantum possibilities,” he explained. “It paid off. It works and it feels amazing.”

Ridge wasn’t the only wrestler to feel the elation that comes with winning an individual title.

Layton’s Tyson Humphreys won the fourth state title of his career, and this latest one was by far the sweetest.

“This one is definitely the most memorable,” Humphreys said. “I’m pretty used to winning, so winning state wasn’t that big of a deal in the past, but four times ... that is amazing.”

It wasn’t easy either, as Skyridge’s Hadley Cowan gave Humphreys everything he could handle.

The Lancer was prepared, though, more so than he’d been at any other time in his Layton career, a byproduct of a new and improved work ethic.

“This year I’ve worked harder than I have any year of my life,” he said. “I just trained really hard. I don’t know if I could have wrestled through that whole match if I hadn’t worked out as hard as I did.”

No one worked harder in their match than Westlake’s Jacob Finlinson, though. The junior and now three-time state champion battled West’s Drew Lang into overtime in a match Finlinson admitted he didn’t believe he could win. And yet he did, in one of the more thrilling bouts of the night.

“This one is by far my hardest state title,” he said. “He is a worthy opponent, a hell of a wrestler. Absolute beast.”

Finlinson wouldn’t have wanted it any other way, either.

“That should be everyone’s goal at state. If your goal is to wrestle someone who is not as good as you in the state finals, that is lame. People don’t want to see that. The crowd wants to see a 4-4 overtime best-man-wins battle.”

Now that he’s won one of those?

“There is no greater feeling,” Finlinson said. “I’ve never felt anything better in my life. There is no better feeling than winning a state title and having everyone screaming your name.”

Thursday night at UVU’s UCCU Center, dozens of wrestler felt that feeling, and like Ridge said, it was glorious.

Class 6A

At UCCU Center

Team scores

1. Pleasant Grove, 274.5; 2. Layton, 191.5; 3. Fremont, 141; 4. Corner Canyon, 126; 5. Syracuse, 123; 6. Westlake, 122; 7. Skyridge, 117; 8. Bingham, 97.5; 9. Weber, 82; 10. Copper Hills, 79.5.

Thursday’s championship

106 — Championship: Dallan Hunsaker, American Fork def. Jacob Carson, Pleasant Grove, Dec 7-3; 3. Ryker Brann, Layton; 4. Porter Kinne, Layton; 5. Eduardo Cabrera, Payson; 6. Jackson Visser, Pleasant Grove.

113 — Championship: Quade Smith, Layton def. Cal Christiansen, Fremont, MD 12-0; 3. Sutton Brown, Syracuse; 4. Kyler Ferrell, Pleasant Grove; 5. Hunter Brown, Skyridge; 6. Braydon Bare, Northridge.

120 — Championship: Aidan Harris, Layton def. Hunter Swalberg, Northridge, MD 12-3; 3. Marco Herrera, Bingham; 4. Brigham Bagley, Corner Canyon; 5. Cameron Baum, Westlake; 6. Bryden Knight, Fremont.

126 — Championship: Jacob Finlinson, Westlake def. Drew Lang, West, SV-1 6-4; 3. Ryan Bullough, Copper Hills; 4. Jackson Visser, Pleasant Grove; 5. Corbin Platt, Fremont; 6. Kaden Sandquist, Hunter.

132 — Championship: Mason Denton, Fremont def. Joshua Millward, Skyridge, Dec 3-2; 3. Jaeden Fowers, Copper Hills; 4. Tucker Butler, Westlake; 5. Kaden Olson, Riverton; 6. Jaron Priest, Layton.

138 — Championship: Tyson Humphreys, Layton def. Hadley Cowan, Skyridge, Fall 3:40; 3. MaClaine Percival, Davis; 4. Zeke Kelley, Pleasant Grove; 5. Grant Fairbanks, Syracuse; 6. Hayden Wilson, American Fork.

145 — Championship: Oakley Ridge, Pleasant Grove def. Mahkyi Smith, Skyridge, Fall 1:08; 3. Jordan Davies, Syracuse; 4. Isaac Fisher, Layton; 5. Trent Taylor, Westlake; 6. Ben Brown, Northridge.

152 — Championship: Joshua Rassi, Syracuse def. Jaxon Wardle, Bingham, Dec 3-0; 3. Lee Woolsey, Weber; 4. Gavin Swenson, Riverton; 5. Benjamin Paul Tobler, American Fork; 6. Ashden Green, Westlake.

160 — Championship: Kam Moss, Corner Canyon def. Canyon Brann, Layton, Dec 5-2; 3. Tytan Smith, Syracuse; 4. Park Beeler, Granger; 5. James Hornberger, Skyridge; 6. Payton Clark, Bingham.

170 — Championship: Jake Richardson, Pleasant Grove def. Matthew Smith, Pleasant Grove, TF-1.5 4:58 (22-7); 3. Cesar Ubico, Hunter; 4. Kaden Westerlind, Corner Canyon; 5. Reilly Knable, Roy; 6. Jacob Halsted, Jordan.

182 — Championship: Mason Christiansen, Bingham def. Ted Johnson, Pleasant Grove, TF-1.5 4:43 (17-2); 3. Jacob Kashiwaeda, Weber; 4. Loyal Holm, Skyridge; 5. Kavan Cantrell, Roy; 6. Mason Rigby, Davis.

195 — Championship: Talmage Carman, Herriman def. Cannon Carlson, Pleasant Grove, Dec 9-7; 3. Kolton Kammeyer, Fremont; 4. Hyrum Ivie, Copper Hills; 5. Ethan Duke, Layton; 6. Jacob Rosencrantz, Northridge.

220 — Championship: Kenton Norman, Herriman def. Anthony Stockwell, Westlake, Fall 3:25; 3. Philip Boban, Pleasant Grove; 4. Bridger Harris, Weber; 5. Isaac Ngatuvai, Bingham; 6. KJ VanUitert, Fremont.

285 — Championship: Kade Carlson, Corner Canyon def. Weston Warr, Fremont, Fall 1:47; 3. Aaron Wilcox, Corner Canyon; 4. Drew Dennison, Pleasant Grove; 5. Wyatt Dawe, Pleasant Grove; 6. Kaden Bankhead, Clearfield.