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High school girls wrestling: Westlake caps inaugural year of 6A girls wrestling with state title

Emmy Finlinson of Westlake wrestles Alyxandra `Alyx` Walker of Clearfield in class 150 as girls compete for the 6A State Wrestling championship at West Lake High in Saratoga Springs on Monday, Feb. 15, 2021.
Emmy Finlinson of Westlake wrestles Alyxandra `Alyx` Walker of Clearfield in class 150 as girls compete for the 6A State Wrestling championship at West Lake High in Saratoga Springs on Monday, Feb. 15, 2021.
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

Monday marked an important milestone for high school wrestling in the state of Utah. For the first time ever, girls’ 6A wrestling took to the mat to crown state champions in the newly recognized sport.

The momentous event occurred at Westlake High School where the Thunder took the state championship in their home gym scoring 288 points. Copper Hills came in second with 233 points, with Fremont placing third at 160 points.

Westlake head coach Ben Szabo talked about the importance of a full team effort for his team to win the 6A state championship. “To take those girls who have no wrestling experience and build them up the way that we have feels really good,” he said. “The girls that won us this tournament weren’t the state titles, it was the girls taking third and the girls taking fifth.”

Szabo is optimistic that his team can continue to build off their state championship. “It excites me for the future because all of these girls are first year wrestlers. They’re really young. We have twenty sophomores on the team. So it excites me to look forward and see the potential that’s there.”

One Westlake sophomore with a bright future is Emmy Finlinson. Finlinson (150) was Westlake’s first individual state champion, pinning Alyx Walker of Clearfield to claim the title. The sophomore champion credited her brother Jacob Finlinson, a state champion wrestler on Westlake’s boys team, for much of her success. “He taught me so much. He stays after practice when I need him. He goes early to the girls’ practices and helps me out. I owe this to him and my mom.”

Finlinson felt Westlake could use this state championship to propel the rest of its athletics forward. “I hope that can be a part of [Westlake’s] legacy, just continue building off that win. To have this program, we can build a legacy off of it, and hopefully the other programs build that mentality too and we can boost the school from there.”

Finlinson’s victory was followed by teammate Megan Allred (145) falling to Pleasant Grove’s Sariah Hays a mere 34 seconds into the match. Westlake’s Lizzie Shunn (140) was the second individual champion for the Thunder when she pinned Alyssa Pace of Copper Hills.

Shunn described how far Westlake had come as a program and how fulfilling it was to win the state championship. “A couple years ago I was the only girl on the team here, in the club,” Shunn said. “Having this big of a team and being able to win as a team, it’s really cool.”

The Thunder used a full team effort to earn their crown. Westlake ended the day with four individual state champions and twelve others placing. The individual winners included Finlinson (150), Shunn (140), Celeste Detoles (120) and Jamie Barton (108).

Copper Hills proved to be the Thunder’s most formidable foe with four individual state champions as well. The Grizzlies winners were Anya Hatch (170), Ashley Wilcox (136), Meridien Grandpre (124) and Brooklyn Pace (115). Coming into the tournament with a perfect record, Hatch kept that intact with the fastest victory of the championship round, needing only 30 seconds to pin Brylee Bradley of Fremont.

Other individual champions were Northridge’s Karla Padilla Zepeda (245), Taylorsville’s Cheyenne Ruiz (190), Hunter’s Uno Latu (160), Pleasant Grove’s Brooklyn Sariah Hays (145), Fremont’s Amber Nalder (132), and Hunter’s Neida Valle (128).


Class 6A state tournament

At Westlake High School

Team scores

1. Westlake, 288

2. Copper Hills, 233

3. Fremont, 160

4. Pleasant Grove, 103

5. Granger, 87

6. Syracuse, 86

7. Northridge, 80

8. Davis, 70

Individual results

  • 108 — 1. Jamie Barton, Westlake; 2. Sabrina Jensen, Syracuse; 3. Isabella Streit, Layton; 4. Sherlyn Orduno, Granger; 5. Madelyn Nielsen, West; 6. Bella Butterfield, Riverton
  • 115 — 1. Brooklyn Pace, Copper Hills; 2. Arleth Antonio, Granger; 3. Lexus Bertagnolli, Roy; 4. Shaylee King, Northridge; 5. Ashley Cannon, Westlake; 6. Isabelle Fisher, Pleasant Grove
  • 120 — 1. Celeste Detoles, Westlake; 2. Bryton Moore, Pleasant Grove; 3. Grace Borchardt, Pleasant Grove; 4. Mollie Wyland, Westlake; 5. Mary Reid, Davis; 6. Kimberlynn Fowers, Copper Hills
  • 124 — 1. Meridien Grandpre, Copper Hills; 2. Lacie Toone, Fremont; 3. Quincy Peterson, Westlake; 4. Breanna `Annie` Clanton, Northridge; 5. Analise Womack, Davis; 6. Cheyenne Cummings, Cyprus
  • 128 — 1. Neida Valle, Hunter; 2. Marquize Salguero, Copper Hills; 3. Brinlee Gines, Fremont; 4. Jordyn Dangerfield, Jordan; 5. Kiyani Benally, Granger; 6. Taylor Martin, Westlake
  • 132 — 1. Amber Nalder, Fremont; 2. Abby Fue, West; 3. Alexis Cornia, Syracuse; 4. Joey Smith-Knott, Westlake; 5. Nativada Unsworth, Taylorsville; 6. McKell Schramm, Westlake
  • 136 — 1. Ashley Wilcox, Copper Hills; 2. Jessica Nowers, Davis; 3. Hailey Pigg, Westlake; 4. Alexis Smith, Bingham; 5. Samantha Dotson, Westlake; 6. Hayley Greco, Riverton
  • 140 — 1. Elizabeth Shunn, Westlake; 2. Alyssa Pace, Copper Hills; 3. Angela Van Valkenburg, Bingham; 4. Marinthia Mendoza, Granger; 5. Haylee Cope, Fremont; 6. Morgan Silvernail, Layton
  • 145 — 1. Brooklyn Sariah Hays, Pleasant Grove; 2. Megan Allred, Westlake; 3. Ashlea Larson, Riverton; 4. Jetta Nshoa, Copper Hills; 5. Brooklyn Sawyer, Northridge; 6. Haley Ericksen, Fremont
  • 150 — 1. Emmy Finlinson, Westlake; 2. Alyxandra `Alyx` Walker, Clearfield; 3. Hope Barton, Syracuse; 4. Katie Shunn, Westlake; 5. Siena Fairbanks, Jordan; 6. Kathleen Ceron, Granger
  • 160 — 1. Uno Latu, Hunter; 2. Katie Navarro, West Jordan; 3. Katherine Martin, Pleasant Grove; 4. Aubrey Morrow, Fremont; 5. Amelia Simper, Westlake; 6. Amayah Flores, Davis
  • 170 — 1. Anya Hatch, Copper Hills; 2. Brylee Bradley, Fremont; 3. Adel Roennebeck, Syracuse; 4. Mikaylee Stitcher, Bingham; 5. Riley Winters, Northridge; 6. Haley Diaz, Layton
  • 190 — 1. Cheyenne Ruiz, Taylorsville; 2. Emma Williams, Copper Hills; 3. Jordyn Lindley, Fremont; 4. Audrey Gribble, Herriman; 5. Cecelia Putman, Davis; 6. Rachel Johnson, Riverton
  • 245 — 1. Karla Padilla Zepeda, Northridge; 2. Lusimoni Vakalahi, Copper Hills; 3. Jessica Garcia, Fremont; 4. Bethany Gardner, Granger; 5. Kaleinani Fitzgerald, Westlake; 6. Cori Springer, Fremont