High school boys wrestling: Uintah stays atop 5A with another state title

The 5A boys wrestling state title will keep its same home for another year after Uintah repeated as state champions Saturday at UVU. The victory gives the Utes their third consecutive state championship and a second since moving up classifications. 

“I’m extremely proud of my team,” Uintah head coach Phillip Keddy said following the meet. “As a whole, when they compete that hard you’re just proud of them. You’re just proud of them and how hard they work and how much camaraderie they have from this sport. They love each other, and they bring each other up.”

Despite winning a team title, Uintah had to bring each other up. The Utes finished the meet with just two individual state champions, though seven different wrestlers found their way to their weight’s final match. 

“We want to win more of those final matches,” said Keddy. “As much as it hurts, you kind of have to harness the pain. You have to take that pain and how you feel and say, ‘Well, I don’t like the way this feels. There’s only one way to fix it.’ And really it’s a lot of time and work in the offseason because that’s where you make the biggest gains.”

No other team was able to keep up with Uintah, the school earning 296 points and taking home the 2023 trophy. In second place was Payson with 253 points, followed by Wasatch at 234. 

Payson finished with a meet-leading four individual winners but could not close the gap on Uintah. Two-time individual state champion for the Lions Colton Theobald (144) just stayed focused on what he could control Saturday.  

“Going into the finals (I was) just trying to enjoy it all, trying to see the positive,” Theobald said. “That’s really all my thoughts were, just trying to keep positive.”

Things ended positively for the junior, who will be looking for a third state title come next season. 

Wasatch was led by junior Henry Hanssen, who was the only champion to pin his opponent. Hanssen was as surprised by the result as anyone. 

“It’s like a dream,” Hanssen said. “I never thought I’d be here. (I) came into divisionals unseeded and this is just such a blessing, such a gift that I’m here.”

Twin brothers, Moses Espinoza-Owens (165) and Marcus Espinoza-Owens (175) out of Viewmont, each won their third individual state titles as well. The brothers helped each other finish their senior year on top. 

“Iron sharpens iron,” Moses said before talking about the back and forth competition the brothers share when they wrestle together. “I get him, he gets me. We get each other. It’s not the same every day.”

Marcus knew that if the brothers put in the work they could win more state titles. “Every day (it took) hard work; pushing yourself even though you’re tired; going on that morning run; lifting after practice; doing extra after practice,” he said. “That’s all it is. It’s easy. It’s not super complicated.”

Another individual winner that made things look uncomplicated was Spanish Fork sophomore Karson Shelley (113) who held his opponent scoreless in an 8-0 victory.

“I started pretty quick,” the two time state champion said. “I just tried to wrestle smart, wrestle the score, but I put myself in danger and I feel like it worked out.”

It all worked out for Shelley. However, he may face tough competition again next year from Uintah as they seek to win another championship. In 2024, the Utes will still be led by two time sophomore state champion Michael Alexander (120). “We just got to keep developing our youth,” Alexander said. “And keep the same traditions we’ve had for forever.”

The wrestling tradition of the school over the last three years is one they’d be happy to keep going. 

5A boys state tournament


Team scores

1. Uintah, 296

2. Payson, 253

3. Wasatch, 234 

4. Spanish Fork, 157

5. Lehi, 114

6. Viewmont, 85.5

7. Mountain View, 84.5

8. Box Elder, 76

Individual results

106 pounds

1. Breyton Banks, Salem Hills

2. Caleb Jackson, Maple Mountain

3. Gage Anderson, Wasatch

4. Brody Vogelsberg, Spanish Fork

5. Raleigh Thomson, Uintah

6. Mason Bingham, Box Elder

Championship — Breyton Banks, Salem Hills def. Caleb Jackson, Maple Mountain, 8-2

113 pounds

1. Karson Shelley, Spanish Fork

2. Rykan Hacking, Uintah

3. Ryder Christensen, Wasatch

4. Trevor Angus, Uintah

5. Jonah Shaw, Payson

6. Ezekiel Zimmerman, Hillcrest

Championship — Karson Shelley, Spanish Fork def. Rykan Hacking, Uintah, 8-0

120 pounds

1. Michael Alexander, Uintah

2. Glade Harman, Mountain View

3. Braden Balmforth, Cedar Valley

4. Kael Theobald, Payson

5. Lincoln Rex, Lehi

6. Daxton Bonner, Wasatch

Championship — Michael Alexander, Uintah def. Glade Harman, Mountain View, 8-3

126 pounds

1. Ethan Boulton, Payson

2. Benjamin Kohler, Wasatch

3. Gavyn Gappmayer, Brighton

4. Caleb Christensen, Box Elder

5. Connor Knudsen, Timpanogos

6. Isaiah Rayco, Hillcrest

Championship — Ethan Boulton, Payson def. Benjamin Kohler, Wasatch, 6-4

132 pounds

1. Austin Kelly, Wasatch

2. Jackson Ricks, Box Elder

3. Creeson Harrison, Uintah

4. Porter Olson, Spanish Fork

5. Parker Hayes, Wasatch

6. Cooper Limb, Hillcrest

Championship — Austin Kelly, Wasatch def. Jackson Ricks, Box Elder, 7-3

138 pounds

1. Ryder Robinson, Wasatch

2. Brody Rhoades, Uintah

3. Cole Carter, Payson

4. Edward Sears, Spanish Fork

5. Talon Stevens, Uintah

6. Landon Child, Northridge

Championship — Ryder Robinson Wasatch def. Brody Rhoades, Uintah, 10-4

144 pounds

1. Colton Theobald, Payson

2. Brandon Ploehn, Stansbury

3. David Wetzel, Spanish Fork

4. Bryson Lloyd, Wasatch

5. Tymakoa (Ty) Crockett, Woods Cross

6. Samuel Burr, Mountain View

Championship — Colton Theobald, Payson def. Brandon Ploehn, Stansbury, 20-5

150 pounds

1. Henry Hanssen, Wasatch

2. Casen Wopsock, Uintah

3. Kelton Smith, Payson

4. Tyler Blevins, Mountain View

5. Ammon Cannon, Lehi

6. Alex Koyle, Spanish Fork

Championship — Henry Hanssen, Wasatch def. Casen Wopsock, Uintah, fall 1:27

157 pounds

1. Trevor Frank, Payson

2. Christian Hartle, Uintah

3. Hixon Canto, Maple Mountain

4. Cole Andersen, Spanish Fork

5. Lisiate Valeti, Springville

6. Kevin Weekes, Mountain View

Championship — Trevor Frank, Payson def. Christian Hartle, Uintah, 10-4

165 pounds

1. Moses Espinoza-Owens, Viewmont

2. Isaac Orrock, Murray

3. Quayde Beck, Payson

4. Jacob Rhoades, Uintah

5. Landon Shumway, Mountain View

6. Deegan Hardy, Box Elder

Championship — Moses Espinoza-Owens, Viewmont def. Isaac Orrock, Murray, 7-6

175 pounds

1. Marcus Espinoza-Owens, Viewmont

2. Chandler Loveless, Payson

3. Wyatt Peterson, Payson

4. Chase McCurdy, Uintah

5. Isaac McGee, Mountain View

6. Patrick Clay, Springville

Championship — Marcus Espinoza-Owens, Viewmont def. Chandler Loveless, Payson, 7-1

190 pounds

1. Landen Shurtleff, Payson

2. William McCleary, Lehi

3. Austin Richens, Uintah

4. Josh Biesinger, Maple Mountain

5. Eli Bonyata, Timpanogos

6. Andre Leota, Olympus

Championship — Landen Shurtleff, Payson def. William McCleary, Lehi, 6-4

215 pounds

1.  Cash Henderson, Woods Cross

2. Jett Swain, Uintah

3. Tevita Valeti, Springville

4. Cole Eldredge, Lehi

5. Daniel Hoyal, Lehi

6. Athanasios Johnson, Murray

Championship — Cash Henderson, Woods Cross def. Jett Swain, Uintah, 3-1

285 pounds

1. Gage Howard, Uintah

2. Austin McNaughtan of Wasatch

3. Isaac Terrell, Lehi

4. Alex Hansen, Orem

5. Grant Barney, Spanish Fork

6. Sterling Hansen, Viewmont

Championship — Gage Howard, Uintah def. Austin McNaughtan, Wasatch, 1-0

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