Orem • Fremont High’s Weston Warr didn’t feel nervous until he went down to the wrestling mat area and began warming up. That’s when it hit him: He was featured on the center mat of the Utah All-Star Dual in front of a couple thousand people.
Warr used to be in the stands during the Utah All-Star Dual. But on Tuesday at the UCCU Center, he got the opportunity to share the mat with other first-timers, as well as multi-time state champion wrestlers.
“I started getting kind of worked up and excited,” Warr said a few minutes after his 285-pound bout against James Tomasi of Provo High.
The senior, who lost to Tomasi, was one of several wrestlers invited to the All-Star event for the first time. Three freshman were part of that contingent. Those athletes were Jeshua Koch of Bear River, Kyison Garcia of Mountain Ridge and Chase Ingram of Juab.
Garcia became the first-ever wrestler from his school to be invited to the dual due to Mountain Ridge opening this school year. He said his entire team attended the event to support him, and he wanted to “put on a show.”
“It’s really cool,” said Garcia, who lost in the 106-pound division to Trenton Ward of Bear River. “I wish I would have had a different outcome. But it’s a brand new school. We have a lot of tough guys, and I was fortunate enough to be in this event. It was really awesome.”
Ingram, who competed in one of the first events of the evening at 145 pounds, said it felt “nerve-wracking” when he walked out with the rest of the 3A teams during introductions. He said when the announcer called out his name, he felt excitement and nerves at the same time.
Ingram said he didn’t mind being one of the first wrestlers out on the mat.
“I kind of like it because I get to get things started off, get a good match, get the people thinking this is going to be good for everyone,” said Ingram, who lost to Oakley Ridge of Pleasant Grove. “It’s just cool to be in this experience.”
Wrestlers found out they were invited to the event via announcement on the Wrestle Utah website last week. Ingram heard he’d been invited from one of his teammates and checked his phone to confirm it.
Warr expected to be placed in the Wildcard division because of his loss in a previous tournament. But when he reviewed the website after practice and saw he was in 6A, he got excited and started informing his teammates.
“They were happy for me,” Warr said of his teammates’ reaction.
Many wresters, particularly the top ones in the state, use the All-Star Dual as a tune-up to the state tournament. But for some of the first-timers, it’s an opportunity to get some name recognition.
“I’m just here to prove my point as a freshman, get my name out there, look for bigger matchups,” Ingram said.