Throughout the fall, high school wrestling coaches were wondering just how the sport would proceed given that everything about it went against responsible COVID-19 mitigation.
Fast forward a few months and the season’s apex is approaching; for the most part, teams have been able play with limited interruption due to COVID-19.
Region titles are about to be decided, divisional tournaments are scheduled for early February and the state tournaments are scheduled for mid-February at Utah Valley University.
Here’s where things stand for some of the northern Utah wrestlers and teams on both the boys and girls teams.
Since 2013, one of either Layton or Syracuse has won a region title each year except for 2016.
The Region 1 boys team title likely comes down to the Jan. 28 dual match between the Titans and Lancers this year once again, though that didn’t look like so sure of a thing earlier this month.
Davis and Fremont’s respective dual matches against Syracuse and Layton weren’t blowouts, unlike previous years where the Titans and Lancers were by far the region’s best two teams.
For that matter, the Silverwolves and Darts’ dual match Wednesday night came down to the final weight class, 113 pounds, where Fremont’s Brykn Burnett won 9-2 against Davis’ Baylor Ballard for a 32-29 team win.
Thursday, Layton edged Davis 34-31 by securing a pin in the final match of the night, meaning the Darts were theoretically a couple matches away from finishing second in the region.
The gap between the top teams and the middle teams in the region was more like a small stream that one could hop over with a good enough run-up.
Ultimately, the Region 1 champion probably only raises the region trophy this year. Pleasant Grove is expected to wipe the floor at the 6A state meet, with Westlake looking like a solid second-place team.
Third place looks like a reasonable goal for a Region 1 champion, but Region 1 teams have been susceptible to early-round upsets the last couple years, so they’ll need to avoid those plus do well in the consolation rounds — and obviously steer clear of COVID-19.
Girls wrestling results are hard to come across in general since the sport is in its sanctioning infancy and coaches aren’t updating girls results on TrackWrestling as consistently as they update boys wrestling results.
Some Region 1 teams have been consistent in updating results on TrackWrestling; Fremont and Syracuse have been the teams to beat all season and they matched up in a Thursday dual.
The Silverwolves won 63-18 and if one doesn’t count the amount of matches Fremont “won” due to forfeit, the score would still be 27-18 for the Silverwolves.
Both teams have a handful of wrestlers that should place at the state tournament if not win a championship in their respective weight classes, including Amber Nalder and Brinlee Gines from Fremont, Brylee and Adel Roennebeck from Syracuse.
Analise Womack from Davis High is another one of the region’s top wrestlers. The state tournament team race looks like it will come down to Copper Hills or Westlake, with the possibility of a Region 1 team getting second or third place if the cards are played right.
Signs are pointing toward either a Box Elder or Viewmont region title for Region 5 boys wrestling. The Bees have won an astounding 48 region wrestling championships in their history.
The Bees have three state-title favorites — Bridger Ricks (120 pounds), Lucas Cochran (195) and Kellen Collier (285) — plus Caleb Marx at 170 who could get to the finals.
Viewmont has two good middleweight wrestlers in Marcus and Moses Espinoza-Owens. The Bees and Vikings meet on Jan. 28.
At the 5A state tournament, Box Elder looks like a lock to finish in the top three with Wasatch and Payson.
As far as Payson goes, Box Elder pipped the Lions 197-183 for the team championship in the Richardson Memorial tournament earlier this month.
As far as Wasatch goes, the Wasps are the obvious favorite to win a third consecutive state title, but they haven’t been as dominant in 2020-21 as they have in years past.
The door could be open for either Box Elder or Payson to win the state title, though either one would have to essentially have a perfect tournament.
Morgan High has three of the best boys wrestlers in the state: Blake Woolsey (120), Will Korth (126) and Waylen Pentz (138).
Korth is ranked No. 8 in the entire state, according to USA Wrestling Utah, which has Pentz at No. 14 and Woolsey 23rd.
Trenton Ward, the defending 4A state champion at 106 pounds from Bear River, has missed some dual matches with injury lately.
In the girls wrestling scene in 4A and 3A, Ogden wrestler Trinity Speredon is currently committed to Menlo College, an NAIA program in California that started the 2020-21 season as the No. 4 ranked team in the country and won the national championship in 2019.