Olympus wrestling places sixth in state; injury-riddled Skyline qualifies four
Mar 07, 2018 01:48PM
● By Josh McFadden
Isaac Wilcox wrestles in the 2017 state championship match where he won the state title. He repeated his state championship feat in 2018. (Photo/Macy Wilcox)
Teams from all over the state converged on Utah Valley University Feb. 7 and 8 for the state wrestling tournament. Olympus and Skyline sent their top wrestlers to the Class 5A championships, walking away with mixed results.
The Titans placed sixth in 5A with 84 points, 42 points behind fifth-place Skyridge.
Isaac Wilcox headlined Olympus’ tournament. The 160-pound competitor won his weight division, completing an undefeated run through the state tournament. After going 39-2 in the regular season, Wilcox won his first at state match by fall and then the next three by technical fall.
In the 113-pound class, Soyer Haaga placed fifth, winning his first two matches before falling in the semifinals. He won his fifth-place match over Kody Keith of Timpview in a 7-5 decision. Teammate Joe Degraw also placed fifth. The 126-pound competitor lost in the quarterfinals but then won a pair of consolation matches before another loss sent him to the fifth-place match. There, he defeated Donald Butler of Roy 10-2.
At 152 pounds, Walter Noble handily won his first two matches before losing in the semifinals. He then picked up two victories in the consolation bracket to capture third place.
Injuries are part of any sport, but what happened to the Skyline wrestling team this past season was unordinary by any standards.
Head coach Kaycee Anderson had to deal with multiple injuries to key starters, including some that took wrestlers out of action for the entire season. For example, 170-pound competitor Jackson Atkinson dislocated his ankle before the season began. Anderson said he would’ve been a state placer had he been healthy.
Other wrestlers suffered a variety of additional injuries, giving the Eagles only seven or eight healthy athletes out of 14 spots at any given match. Even though Skyline struggled as a team in its dual meets, most of the wrestlers who did compete won their matches. The team simply didn’t score enough points overall because the were missing key members.
“We didn’t qualify as many for state as we had hoped,” Anderson said. “But we’re seeing individual progression and some good young guys that are showing some promise.”
James Monson, a 113-pound sophomore, went 33-13 during the regular season. He won his first-round match at state by technical fall. After losing in the quarterfinals, he won three consolation matches. Then, in the third-place match, he lost a 9-2 decision, giving him fourth place in the tournament.
Matt Rasmussen was another Eagle who made a strong showing at state. He went 32-10 during the regular season and then made his way to the semifinals with a pair of early round victories. Rasmussen advanced to the semifinals with a win by fall in 1:54 in the quarterfinals. He lost his semifinal match and then dropped a pair of consolation matches, including the fifth-place match.
“(Rasmussen) was just inches away from a takedown (in the semifinals) to take second,” Anderson said. “His goal was to win a couple of matches, which he did.”
Sophomore Miles Harmon (120 pounds), sophomore Jacob Walker (195) and senior Taig Arledge (160) also qualified for state but didn’t place. Nathan Payne, a 138-pound junior, just missed out on making it to state; Anderson is confident he, and other wrestlers, will get there next season if they dedicated themselves during the break.
“(Payne) wants to put in a lot of work,” he said. “We want to get as many kids to put in the offseason work.”
Anderson is optimistic that his team can avoid the injury bug next season, make the necessary improvements and be a factor in the Region 6 race.
“Our guys will build on their mistakes,” he said. “A lot of injured guys are coming back next season. We’ll be in contention for a region championship; we want to be in the mix.”