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Wasatch pulls away from Payson to claim 5A state wrestling championship

Maple Mountain’s Andrew Jensen, top, takes down Mountain View’s Radi Stafford in the 5A 170-pound match at Utah Valley University in Orem on Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020.
Maple Mountain’s Andrew Jensen, top, takes down Mountain View’s Radi Stafford in the 5A 170-pound match at Utah Valley University in Orem on Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020.
Laura Seitz, Deseret News

OREM — Entering Thursday’s final day of the 5A state wrestling championship, Payson and Wasatch were in a tight race, separated by just 4.5 points, with the Lions ahead after the first day. On the second day of the state finals, that race grew even tighter.

Wasatch’s wrestlers didn’t let the pressure faze them.

“You just go wrestle your next match, score the next points. You get ready. When it’s your time to wrestle, you wrestle as hard as you can and score as many points as you can. Win the last 15, win the first 15 seconds. When you’re done wrestling, then you go support your teammates,” Wasatch head coach Wade Discher said. “Just trying to get that mindset of being a competitor. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the emotion of things that it depletes people of their focus.”

The Wasps broke through after two days of back-and-forth competition to take home their 23rd state championship.

“Pretty special. It was hard. This was the hardest one. It was the hardest one from the beginning of the year until now,” Discher said. “This one, we didn’t know. It took the process of the state tournament finding out the character of our kids and finding out who’s tough, and we saw it today. It was wonderful.”

Discher was most impressed with how his wrestlers embraced the challenge.

“They didn’t get rattled at any point. There was maybe a couple of letdowns here and there, but they stayed the course, they had a good focus and they were ready to go and battle and compete in every match. Matches we won, matches we lost — they stayed focused, they stayed on task,” Discher said.

The breakthrough point for the Wasps came during the 138- and 145-pound matches. Sammy Heywood defeated Aaron Hyatt of Mountain View in the 138-pound championship round to claim 27.5 team points, and Stockton O’Brien defeated Blake Peterson of Lehi in the 145-pound championship round to earn 28.5 team points. Those two results were enough to push Wasatch over the edge.

“I wanted to win by more, but a 10-point win is pretty good. I’ll take it,” O’Brien said.

O’Brien said the tight race with Payson influenced his strategy.

“It makes it so you’re really pushing the pace when you’re wrestling. You want to score as many points to give your team the best chance of winning the state title,” O’Brien said.

O’Brien capped off his high school career victorious in all four state championship matches.

“It’s pretty special. Not many people can do it, so for me to be one of them is really important to me, so I’m glad I achieved it,” O’Brien said.

O’Brien put on a good performance at his future college, UVU. He will attend UVU in the fall as part of the wrestling team.

“He’s a kid that loves wrestling, comes to practice every day and works to get better — and he’s done that. He has bigger goals than this, but this is a huge thing in his life. He’s meant so much to our program as a leader and as a competitor,” Discher said. “You only get those kids once in a while, and he’s one of them. He just totally went out and wrestled his brains out.”

Class 5A

At UCCU Center

Team scores

1. Wasatch, 243.5; 2. Payson, 234; 3. Box Elder, 164; 4. Viewmont, 140; 5. Mountain View, 111; 6. Farmington, 101; 7. Mountain Ridge, 86; 8. Maple Mountain, 76; 9. Alta, 56; 10. Lehi, 50

Thursday’s championship

106 — Championship: Kyison Garcia, Mountain Ridge, def. Cody Burr, Mountain View, MD 9-1; 3. Colin Sierer, Highland; 4. Andrew Monson, Skyline; 5. Eduardo Cabrera, Payson; 6. Jacob Waddoups, Farmington

113 — Championship: Bridger Ricks, Box Elder, def. Heath Clyde, Wasatch, Fall 2:31; 3. Brock Morris, Maple Mountain; 4. Ethan, Boulton, Payson; 5. Ryder Robinson, Wasatch; 6. Jared Miller, Park City

120 — Championship: Cole Jensen, Payson, def. Deklan Kelly, Wasatch, Dec 3-0; 3. Austin Kelly, Wasatch; 4. Cam Ford, Payson; 5. Wyatt Romriell, Box Elder; 6. Harper Thompson, Alta

126 — Championship: Layne Shepherd, Payson, def. Wyatt Hone, Payson, Dec 3-0; 3. Colton Erickson, Woods Cross; 4. Treyson Davis, Wasatch; 5. James Monson, Skyline; 6. Clayton Orton, Spanish Fork

132 — Championship: River Wardle, Wasatch, def. Parker Frasure, Farmington, Dec 4-3; 3. Noah Roylance, Wasatch; 4. Deegan Palmer, Payson; 5. Karson Rees, Viewmont; 6. Cooper Cox, Maple Mountain

138 — Championship: Sammy Heywood, Wasatch, def. Anthonee Ouk, Brighton, Fall 5:19; 3. Quinton Knight, Box Elder; 4. Dawson Shepherd,Spanish Fork; 5. Conway Christensen, Murray; 6. Trey Hiatt, Payson

145 — Championship: Stockton O’Brien, Wasatch, def. Moses Espinoza-Owens, Viewmont, MD 16-5; 3. Hunter Chariton, Mountain View; 4. Sam May, Farmington; 5. Trevor Frank, Payson; 6. Cruz Johnson, Mountain Ridge

152 — Championship: Marcus Espinoza-Owens, Viewmont, def. Caleb Marx, Box Elder, Dec 3-0; 3. Austin Gillette, Farmington; 4. Rylan Stevens, Mountain Ridge; 5. Alex Hendrix, Wasatch; 6. Joshua LeBaron, Provo

160 — Championship: Jeremy Evans, Viewmont, def. Alex Zesiger, Viewmont, Fall 1:13; 3. Quinlin Jackson, Maple Mountain; 4. Charlie Fassold, Wasatch; 5. Brock Davis, Spanish Fork; 6. Monson Morley, Salem Hills

170 — Championship: Andrew Jensen, Maple Mountain, def. Radi Stafford, Mountain View, DQ; 3. Mark Rausch, Mountain Ridge; 4. Dalin Astling, Viewmont; 5. Tucker Naccarato, Payson; 6. Brock Lloyd, Wasatch

182 — Championship: Lucas Cochran, Box Elder, def. Elijah Stafford, Mountain View, Fall 1:57; 3. Gabe Barraza, Alta; 4. Conner Morris, Timpview; 5. Braxton Monroe, Payson; 6. David Fox, Timpview

195 — Championship: Jacob Anderson, Farmington, def. Louis Williams, Payson, Fall 2:20; 3. Christian Smoot, Woods Cross; 4. Carson Lancaster, Box Elder; 5. Elijah Kratzer, Timpanogos; 6. Chase Redd, Viewmont

220 — Championship: Sau Tafisi, East, def. Cael Richardson, Timpview, SV-1 7-5; 3. Aaron Carty, Bonneville; 4. Harrington Ray, Lehi; 5. Christopher Esparza, Mountain View; 6. Trevor Guzman, Payson

285 — Championship: James Tomasi, Provo, def. Ryley Horrocks, Mountain View, Fall 3:49; 3. Kellen Collier, Box Elder; 4. Ryder Hatch, Lehi; 5. Jayden Olsen, Alta; 6. C.J. Vasquez, Payson