Prep wrestling: Utah's All-Star Duals live up to billing
Orem • With his opponent's nose turned into a nonstop fountain of blood, Brandon Dennison breathed heavily each time an injury timeout was called, but he never stopped competing.
"Every time we'd take a break," said the 220-pound Pleasant Grove senior, "I'm still mentally wrestling the whole match."
In what turned out to be classic match between two heavyweights, Dennison outlasted Joe Flores of Box Elder 3-2 in a triple-overtime final.
It was the type of match that lived up to the hype of the 13th annual Utah Amateur Wrestling Foundation's All-Star Duals event Tuesday night at the UCCU Center at Utah Valley University.
Dennison and Flores, two of the best 220-pounders in Utah wrestling, had met many times before and each time the two tangle on the mat, it's a dogfight.
"Every time," Dennison laughed, "every time it's a close match. I knew it was going to be a battle."
The two went through the first five periods tied at 1-1, but Dennison's two-point takedown in the sixth period led to his eventual victory over his friend and rival. The two embraced at the center of the mat as the crowd gave them a raucous ovation before Dennison delivered a final message to Flores.
"I told him that he did a great job and to take it all in 4A," he said.
The Vikings certainly weren't short on stories Tuesday night.
In a 113-pound wild-card match between Pleasant Grove's Kyson Levin and Herriman's Chandler Strand, it was Levin who proved to be the grittiest wrestler of the night.
Leading 7-3 in the second period, Levin crumbled to the ground in a heap after suffering what looked to be a right knee injury. After several minutes down on the mat, the junior defending state champion decided to give it a go.
But his injury took a toll.
He went down 9-8 late in the third period, but earned an escape point to tie it up 9-9 heading into overtime. It was there that he earned a two-point takedown, sealing an emotional 11-9 win.
Levin hobbled to shake the hands of the Herriman coaching staff before falling to the ground in pain.
"That's what a champion is," said Pleasant Grove coach Brock Moore. "He expects it out of himself."
In one of the three featured matches of the night, it was a battle of two-time defending state champion juniors in Alta's Matt Findlay and Cedar's Dusty Hone. While the two 126-pounders had met twice before splitting each meeting Findlay took a 2-1 series lead between the two grapplers Tuesday with a 7-4 win.
"It was an honor," Findlay said. "I'm glad I could participate and glad I could perform."
In the much-anticipated final feature matchup between 4A stars Grant LaMont of Maple Mountain and Rasten Yeates of Box Elder, it was the 152-pounder LaMont who defeated the 160-pounder Yeates 8-4.
Following many outstanding performances by wrestlers from both Maple Mountain and Box Elder, the Class 4A All-Stars won the event with a point total of 36. Class 5A and 3A tied at 26, while the 1A/2A squad finished with 15 points.
Twitter: @chriskamrani All-Star Duals results
UCCU Center, Utah Valley University
Ben Anderson (Pleasant Grove) over James Wright (Spanish Fork)
Kyle Evans (Beaver) over Logan Swallow (Clearfield)
Taylor LaMont (Maple Mountain) over Brady Farnsworth (Altamont)
Cobe Barrett (Canyon View) over Brock George (Syracuse)
Andrew Astle (Layton) over Nick Sorenson (Millard)
Britain Carter (Maple Mountain) over Joe Mondragon (Desert Hills)
Brady Dart (Mountain Crest) over Kamren Fowles (Manti)
Bronson Young (Pleasant Grove) over Garrett Sweat (Wasatch)
Shand Hardy (Box Elder) over Chase Kelley (Millard)
Landon Knutzen (Pleasant Grove) Zane Rich (Syracuse)
Colton Havens (Uintah) over Brandon Musselman (Monticello)
McKay Parrish (Box Elder) over Kolby Lloyd (Cedar)
Ken Astle (Layton) over Cole Eldredge (Monticello)
Brendon Sorenson (North Sevier) over Will Killpack (Alta)
Jacob Armstrong (Salem Hills) over Zach Prince (Hurricane)
Kimball Bastian (Maple Mountain) over Colton Marshall (Layton)
Kaelen Loveless (Payson) over Rylee Foy (Altamont)
Steven Welsh (Union) over Will Lang (West)
Nick Sorenson (Box Elder) over Kyle Foy (Altamont)
Zach Coffman (Tooele) over Josh Searle (Maple Mountain)
DonE Fullmer (Millard) over Devon Childress (Weber)
Jon Wixom (Maple Mountain) over Colton Grossaint (Kearns)
Cameron Williamson (Cedar) over Jaden Ross (Richfield)
Brandon Dennison (Pleasant Grove) over Joe Flores (Box Elder)
Jeremy Aleman (Millard) over Derek Johnson (Payson)
Cole Mair (Uintah) over Cassidy Smith (Altamont)
Zac Dawe (Pleasant Grove) over Dallas Howard (Murray)
Antonio Meikel (Kearns) over Dominic Kunder (Bear River)
Brydger Cutler (Pleasant Grove) over Dalton Harmon (Juab)
Breckin Gunter (Box Elder) over Nick Heninger (Bingham)
Jed Mellen (Payson) over Branson Ashworth (Spanish Fork)
Matt Findlay (Alta) over Dusty Hone (Cedar)
Grant LaMont (Maple Mountain) over Rasten Yeates (Box Elder)