West Valley City • Once the fourth straight title was official, Zac Dawe stood off the mat and blew kisses to the roaring sea of Pleasant Grove blue. Sure, the Class 5A title was never in real danger in the three days the Vikings dominated.
Pleasant Grove won its fourth consecutive crown by 106 points.
But the work the team puts in to stay atop the 5A wrestling world comes during those 16-hour practices where Dawe, a senior captain this season, says, “We’ve really worked hard for 16 hours straight.”
The two-time 285-pound state winner said wrestlers look up at the plaques in the gym at Pleasant Grove High School to remind them each day where the group needs to be.
“No doubt about it,” Dawe said, “we’re the most intense wrestling program in the state.”
The Vikings had five individual state champions Saturday night at the Maverik Center in West Valley and rolled through the consolation rounds, bringing the program’s point total to 269.5, more than 100 points ahead of second-place Layton.
Nelson Jones (106), Kyson Levin (113), Ben Anderson (120), TJ Wind (170) and Dawe (285) wrote their names into Viking lore this weekend. But as Dawe pointed out, his freshman year he finished fourth, and 2011 was part of the start of the new wrestling legacy coach Brock Moore has built.
“To be part of this new Viking generation is incredible,” Dawe said.
Levin won his third consecutive crown Saturday, adding that the Vikings are only going to get better as the years go on due to the talent of the program’s feeder teams at the youth level.
So, what will it take to topple the Vikings?
“Some people say we’re a cocky team — kind of arrogant in a way,” Levin said, “but honestly, for how good we are, we definitely don’t show it.”
Alta’s Matt Findlay won his fourth individual state championship in the 138-pound final. Before jetting off to Boise State, where he’ll continue wrestling with the Broncos, Findlay wanted to cap his prestigious career with another title.
“There’s so many times I could have been hurt, gotten sick, slipped up, but there’s a lot of matches that I’ve wrestled to do this,” he said. “To be able to come do it again, it’s just so incredible.”
Findlay said his senior year was less about the past and more about the future.
“This year, I wasn’t just a three-time-defending state champion,” he said. “I was chasing it again.”
Taylorsville’s Roy Nash completed his undefeated season by defeating Syracuse’s Aspen Naylor in the 220-pound final.
UHSAA state wrestling tournament
Class 5A final
1. Pleasant Grove 269.5
2. Layton 163.5
3. Syracuse 141.0
4. Jordan 118.5
5. Herriman 108.5
6. Bingham 100.0
7. Davis 82.0
8. American Fork 68.0
9. Fremont 57.0
10. Viewmont 56.5
State finals results
106: Nelson Jones (Pleasant Grove) def. Cameron Hunsaker (American Fork) 4-2
113: Kyson Levin (Pleasant Grove) def. Brock George (Syracuse) 11-9
120: Ben Anderson (Pleasant Grove) def. Dallin Denton (Fremont) 8-4
126: Andrew Astle (Layton) def. Jackson Wilson (American Fork) 8-4
132: Jaydon Rogers (Fremont) def. Andrew Bartholomew (American Fork) 5-3
138: Matt Findlay (Alta) def. Oscar Rodriguez (Layton) 22-7
145: Teague Vigil (Syracuse) def. Jacob Naylor (Davis) 3-2
152: Colton Marshall (Layton) def. Zach Colangelo (West) 4-3
160: Kenner French (Herriman) def. Bailey Carlson (Pleasant Grove) 7-3
170: TJ Wind (Pleasant Grove) def. Sean Marchant (Syracuse) 9-5
182: Wyatt Koelling (Davis) def. Will Lang (West) 8-5
195: Nick Heninger (Bingham) def. Clayton Moss (Jordan) 4-3
220: Roy Nash (Taylorsville) def. Aspen Naylor (Syracuse) 21-6
285: Zac Dawe (Pleasant Grove) def. Brackin Stringam (Lehi) 5-1