Prep wrestling: Nash caps undefeated season at all-star meet
West Valley City • Never mind the wrestlers who weren't there. Taylorsville's Roy Nash came in a champion and wanted to leave the Maverik Center the same.
In an event that featured 27 reigning state champions from all classifications, Nash punctuated his season by pinning Springville's Zach Hansen in 3 minutes, 58 seconds at the inaugural UHSAA Super State Wrestling Tournament. Nash finished the high school season as the only undefeated wrestler in the state.
"This proves that I can say I'm the state champion instead of saying I'm one of five," said Nash, Taylorsville's first state champion in a decade. "I wish everyone would have been here, but the idea was great and I'm glad I came."
Some wrestlers chose to skip the event due to prior commitments or the risk of injury, but those who participated put on quite a show.
Nash, who will begin training for the freestyle Greco season next week, missed his sophomore season with a knee injury. He returned with a flourish this year, going 42-0 and winning most of his matches in dominating fashion.
"I proved I could establish myself this season," Nash said. "I came back and there was a bigger age group, so I wasn't sure how it would go. I'm proud to say I was the only guy in the state that went undefeated."
Nash led 2-1 after the first round against Hansen and 5-1 late in the second before squaring his opponent's shoulders to the mat before time was called.
Meanwhile, Maple Mountain had nine of its 13 wrestlers in competition reach the finals, including a pair (Taylor LaMont and Marshall Curtis) that duked it out for the 113-pound championship. In all, seven Golden Eagles won championships.
"We've been working on something like this in Utah for some time," Maple Mountain coach Justin Judkins said about the event. "As soon as we heard about it, we said it's not an option [not to compete]. The kids came away with a really fun experience, and for the seniors, it put a stamp on their senior year."
LaMont (113 pounds), Johnny O'Hearon (132), Landon Knutzen (138), Grant LaMont (152), Weston Taylor (160), Josh Searle (182) and Jon Wixom (195) won titles in their respective divisions for the Golden Eagles. Wixom won by injury default when Bountiful's A.J. Tovey was unable to compete.
Maple Mountain's Kieffer Taylor (170) also reached the finals but lost.
"There wasn't as much on the line," Judkins said. "The kids had more fun. You could just relax and wrestle. There were good wrestlers on both sides."
Other champions included: Syracuse's Brock George (106), Layton's Andrew Astle (120), Cedar City's Dusty Hone (126), Salem Hills' Jacob Armstrong (145), Millard's DonE Fullmer (170) and Pleasant Grove's Michael Grace (285).
Two matches went to overtime, as Weston Taylor edged Layton's Stetson Jones 3-2 and Grace downed Jordan's Richard Larsen 4-3. Overall, there were only three pins, attesting to the strength of competition. Knutzen had perhaps the most dominating performance, defeating Syracuse's Zane Rich 20-6.