If the state’s best 145-pound wrestler is from a tiny rural Utah town, he will have a chance to prove it on the mat.
The Utah High School Activities Association has sanctioned a wrestling tournament that will allow winners from each of the five classifications to face off in February.
That means Altamont’s best could go up against Alta’s.
“It’s a good chance for the wrestlers to show what they can do,” said Bart Thompson, UHSAA’s assistant director over wrestling.
The tournament will be held Feb. 22 and 23, after the state wrestling championships, at the Maverik Center.
The UHSAA has sanctioned other postseason events in the past, but they largely have been for senior all-star games. February’s tournament, while not unprecedented, will be unusual for the association because it would allow for underclassmen to participate.
Thompson called wrestling a “good fit” for the tournament and said it is possible there could be more of its kind in the future.
Altamont coach Cory Allred said the tournament would provide a good showcase and a chance for college coaches to see the state’s best.
“There are kids in 1A who really can compete and they’ll do just fine,” he said. “We wrestled 3A and 4A schools all year in other tournaments.”
But Allred said he is unsure how popular the event will be with athletes.
“They’ve tried it before, and once the season and state tournaments end, it’s hard to get those kids to go another week,” he said. “The feeling is that they’ve won first or second, and why wait a week and hit another one? But we’ll see how it goes.”
Thompson said the state’s wrestling coaches have yet to determine how many individual winners will be invited. It could be as few as 16 or as many as 28, he said.
USA Wrestling will direct the two-day tournament in West Valley City.