OREM — Roy High sophomore Donald Butler hopes this year’s state wrestling semifinal experience is different than last year’s. He wrestled Wasatch’s Sammy Heywood, the eventual state champion, last year.
Butler got pinned, but ended up with much more than a loss. He suffered a concussion and missed three months of school. He spent his time at home bored out of his mind with only bi-weekly doctor’s appointments to break up the monotony.
“Lots of sleep and doing nothing,” Butler said of what he did when he was staying home. “It was irritating because I missed a lot of freestyle season and I would’ve done a lot better in my freestyle and Greco season if I didn’t have to take so much time off.”
“I couldn’t remember anything after like 20 minutes. If someone said something to me, I forgot. My doctor told me if I went to school and tried to learn stuff it would actually make my concussion worse if you’re thinking. It was weird.”
One thing he didn’t forget was how tough it is to beat the same wrestler twice. It wouldn’t be the state tournament unless that scenario presented itself.
Butler will wrestle in Thursday’s 5A state semis at Utah Valley University for the second year in a row after edging Wasatch’s Nick Lazerus 10-7 in the quarterfinals on Wednesday afternoon at UVU.
He recently beat Lazerus in overtime of a consolation match at the Richardson Memorial in Brigham City.
“He was really scrappy and I just had to take my time, go slow and stay controlled,” Butler said.
Leading 7-6 at the start of the third period, Butler escaped Lazerus for one point and then took him down 12 seconds later to go up 10-6 and held off comeback attempts.
Butler will face Skyridge’s Hadley Cowan in the semifinals. They’ve met once this season at the Richardson Memorial and that match ended with a second-round pin by Cowan.
Mason Denton motivated heading into semifinals
Every wrestler at the state tournament is motivated. Why wouldn’t they be?
But go ahead and ask Fremont High wrestler Mason Denton if he’s motivated. In summation: yes.
He has a little extra fuel this year.
At last year’s state semifinals, Denton had to forfeit his semifinal match as punishment for an “incident,” something that’s best described as an internal team matter.
So he didn’t get a chance at a state title last year.
“It’s definitely affected me and given me the fuel that I need. I want to make sure that people know that I’m here for the right reason and that choices in the past caused me not to accomplish my goals. I’ve made it so that I would accomplish my goals this year,” Denton said.
“That’s something that you can’t change. I’m going to regret it the rest of my life, now I’ve got to work forward and control what I can control,” Denton said.
The junior 126-pounder’s revenge tour of sorts has resulted in a 51-5 record with 32 pins, three technical falls, two major decisions and a spot in Thursday’s 11 a.m. semifinals in the 6A tournament.
Wednesday, Denton made quick work of his first-round opponent, Taygen Esplin from Hunter High, with a 21-second pin in the first round.
Later, he major-decisioned Davis’ McClaine Percival 14-3. He’ll face Herriman High senior Tristan Hendrickson in the semis.
If he wins, there’s a good chance he meets an equally motivated Tayton Bennett in the finals. Bennett was the other wrestler who had to forfeit his semifinal for Fremont last year and has since transferred to Layton.
Defending champ Frasure wrestling after ‘season-ending’ injury
Last wrestling season was perfect — literally — for Parker Frasure. The then-Viewmont High sophomore went 33-0 and won the state championship at 106 pounds as the Vikings won the state team title.
This season has been radically different. First, Frasure goes to Farmington High. Second, he’s at 120 pounds.
Third, he wasn’t supposed to be at the state meet.
A little more than two months ago, Frasure fractured the C2 vertebrae in his neck. The first and only thing doctors told him was his wrestling season was pretty much over.
“They said there was like a small chance that you maybe can (come back) if you work hard in physical therapy and stuff,” Frasure said. “Every day I would work on it and stretch it out and do everything I was supposed to.”
Two days before the divisional meet a week-and-a-half ago, he was cleared to return. He won his first two matches there and then lost in the semifinals in a close match.
Frasure was pinned quickly in the third-place match and ended up with fourth place in the divisional after just one day of practice.
“It was definitely rough because I didn’t have the endurance that I usually do because I only had one practice, but honestly I felt fine because every day I would bike 10 miles for six days a week,” he said.
Even though he’s not totally back in shape, he took down Bountiful’s Lincoln Duryea (the lone Braves wrestler in the state tournament) with a 15-3 major decision in the first round. Frasure was pinned in the second round by Wasatch’s Mitchel Slack.
“I knew in my mind, there was no way I was going to stop wrestling, in my mind I always knew it was going to happen and so I thought about it and did everything I was supposed to. When I went back to the doctors, they were really surprised,” Frasure said.
Layton, Box Elder have ground to gain in team races
Layton High and Box Elder High were pegged as state title contenders in 6A and 5A, respectively. After the first day, they both have a sizable margin to make up.
The Lancers have 121 points and are a ways behind first-place Pleasant Grove (156 points) in 6A. Syracuse is close behind in third place with 118.5. Fremont is sixth (66), Davis is tied for eighth (47.5), Weber is 10th (24) and Northridge 12th (22.5).
Layton has the firepower and depth to come back, though. Ten Lancers are in the semifinals. Ten PG wrestlers are in the semis and four semifinal matches pit Lancers against Vikings. So for starters, Layton will probably want to win those if it wants a chance to hoist the trophy.
In 5A, Box Elder has 112 points, close behind first-place Wasatch (121). Last year’s 5A team champion, Viewmont, is in fourth (92), new school Farmington is sixth (54.5), Woods Cross is 13th (27.5 points) and Roy is 21st (13 points).
Box Elder has five semifinalists — Bridger Ricks, Colton Ward, Wyatt Romriell, Lucas Cochran and Ryan Gunn — but the Wasps have nine. It’s a black-and-white scenario to catch Wasatch: the Bees basically need to win five state championships and hope for upsets elsewhere.
Thirty-eight area wrestlers will be in Thursday’s semifinals, which begin at 11 a.m. starting with lower weight classes first. All tournament brackets can be found online at trackwrestling.com. Thursday’s finals begin at 5:15 p.m.
Seven semifinals pit Region 1 foes against each other: Quade Smith, Layton/Sutton Brown, Syracuse (106 pounds, 6A); Aidan Harris, Layton/Corbin Platt, Fremont (113, 6A); Tyson Humphreys, Layton/Joseph Fairbanks, Syracuse (132, 6A); Canyon Brann, Layton/Joshua Rassi, Syracuse (152, 6A); Cole Faust, Layton/Corbin Roennebeck, Syracuse (182, 6A); Heston Percival, Davis/Zachary Durbano, Weber (182, 6A); Cache Kelley and Syracuse/Tanner Clem, Layton (195, 6A).
Quade Smith (Layton, 106 pounds), Sutton Brown (Syracuse, 106), Aidan Harris (Layton, 113), Corbin Platt (Fremont, 113), Tayton Bennett (Layton, 126), Mason Denton (Fremont, 126), Tyson Humphreys (Layton, 132), Joseph Fairbanks (Syracuse, 132), Parker Coffey (Davis, 132), Terrell Barraclough (Layton, 138), Camron Eden (Syracuse, 145), Canyon Brann (Layton, 152), Joshua Rassi (Syracuse, 152), Tytan Smith (Syracuse, 160), Alec Bolingbroke (Layton, 170), Samuel Sprehn (Syracuse, 170), Cole Faust (Layton, 182), Corbin Roennebeck (Syracuse, 182), Heston Percival (Davis, 182), Zachary Durbano (Weber, 182), Kolton Kammeyer (Fremont, 195), Cache Kelley (Syracuse, 195), Tanner Clem (Layton, 195), Jon Hunt (Layton, 285), Kaden Montano (Syracuse, 285).
Bridger Ricks (Box Elder, 106 pounds), Colton Ward (Box Elder, 113), Wyatt Romriell (Box Elder, 113), Karson Rees (Viewmont, 126), Donald Butler (Roy, 132), Jameson Burnett (Viewmont, 138), Austin Gillette (Farmington, 138), Lorrince Essig (Viewmont, 145), Jeremy Evans (Viewmont, 152), Lucas Cochran (Box Elder, 182), Jake Anderson (Farmington, 182), Tyson Zesiger (Viewmont, 195), Ryan Gunn (Box Elder, 285).