OREM — This week, Wednesday through Saturday, hundreds of high school wrestlers from each of the four biggest classifications in the state will gather at Utah Valley University’s UCCU Center, with state championship trophies on the line.
Each classification has its own storylines, but every division has one thing in common — all who participate will look to etch their names in the state record books.
Two years ago, after more than a decade under head coach John Fager, the Layton Lancers pulled it off — they won the state championship.
“It’s something we had been chasing for a long time,” Fager told the Deseret News following the victory. “As a first-year head coach, 11 years ago, I thought I was going to just come in and win it all. Just like that. I quickly found out that the state title is very elusive.”
While the state title was Layton’s first in 17 years and just the fourth in school history, Fager felt the win was only the beginning.
“We plan on being here forever,” he said. “It takes time to win a title, as well as a great coaching staff, a dedicated administration and a good feeder program. We have all those things and hope to become the next great wrestling dynasty.”
The Lancers may not have become that dynasty — Pleasant Grove returned to the top of the heap last season and won its seventh state title in eight years — but this year Layton has the look of a champion.
The Lancers are the top-ranked team in the state, according to WrestleUtah, and feature, among others, Terrell Barraclough, who is considered by most to be the second-best high school wrestler in Utah behind Olympus’ Isaac Wilcox.
Then there is Tyson Humphreys, Jon Hunt, Cole Faust… the list of high-level Lancers is long.
All told, the team qualified 17 wrestlers for the 6A state tournament, including nine individual winners.
Standing in the way of a Layton title are the Vikings.
Pleasant Grove qualified 26 wrestlers in a dominant showing in the Divisional B qualifying meet two weeks ago.
Among those are stalwarts Cole Zorn — Zorn is considered a top-15, arguably a top-10 wrestler — and Maika Tauteoli.
In addition to Pleasant Grove, Syracuse is a program on the rise, as the Titans qualified a school-best 20 wrestlers to state. Westlake, Herriman and Fremont should all play a role in the proceedings as well.
For years, under the direction of …read more
Source:: Deseret News – Sports News