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Prep wrestling: Extra work pays off for Colton

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(Kim Raff | The Salt Lake Tribune) Trenton Colton, a senior captian of the wrestling team at Lone Peak High School, waits for the next drill to start during practice in Highland on February 4, 2013.

By Jon Clifford

Special to The Tribune

First published Feb 06 2013 01:57PM
Updated May 21, 2013 11:32PM

Trent Colton didn’t like wrestling when he first tried it in the sixth grade. Three years later he returned to the sport as a way to improve his overall athleticism, to be more agile and stronger for the sports he focused on — football and rugby.

But his time on the mat did more than just better prepare him for other activities. He found the more he worked, the better he performed.

Three years since joining the Lone Peak wrestling team, Colton is a team captain and ready to make some noise next week at the Class 5A state tournament.

"The goal at the beginning of the year was to be state champion," said Colton, who wrestles at 152 pounds. "That’s what I plan on doing."

Colton, whom coach Lyle Mangum called a quiet leader, has reason to be confident in advance of the season-ending tournament at Utah Valley University. He was one of three Knights – along with Porter Thomas and Cole Johnson – to go undefeated at the Class 5A Open Duals meet at Alta last week.

He entered that tournament with a 30-9 record — a marked improvement from just a season earlier.

"Last year he was about 4 to 5 matches over .500," Mangum said. "He’s really had a good year this year. He was one match from placing at the [68-team] Rumble" in January.

Mangum said the improvement stems first and foremost from Colton’s extra work on the mat. He typically stays 30 to 45 minutes or more after practice, drilling takedown moves he struggled with in the past.

Colton is among a handful of Knights who stick around after the whistle blows, but few have grown so much in the win column.

"He’s gained some confidence," Mangum said. "And he has put in a lot of work on the side. He’s got a great work ethic."

Colton said he began to notice the work paying off in December with a strong showing in the Weber Duals. That gave him the confidence to continue the drills through winter break and into the Region 4 schedule.

"I just work on the three takedowns that I really like and just drill over and over, 20 to 30 times each after practice," Colton said. "It’s given me a lot of confidence on my feet, knowing that I can go in and take down just about anyone I go against."

Colton, who was named to the Academic All-State team with a 3.93 grade-point average, was a big reason the Knights went 4-1 in region competition, losing only to state favorite Pleasant Grove.

Colton and the Knights are at Jordan for the revised state-qualifying tournament this week. The top eight wrestlers in each weight class advance from each of the two 12-team sectional meets.

Mangum expects Colton will be in the mix this week in a sectional that includes Layton, Viewmont, Jordan, Fremont and Bingham, among others.

"It would be a big upset if he didn’t reach state," Mangum said. "He’s wrestling real well right now."

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