Brighton wrestling team qualifies for state meet
Mar 05, 2019 02:10PM
● By Josh McFadden
Brighton battles Hillcrest in its annual Battle of the Axe. (Justin Adams/City Journals)
By Josh McFadden | [email protected]
After a grueling season filled with ups and downs, the Brighton wrestling team had some strong showings at the Divisional A meet on Feb. 2. The Bengals placed seventh and sent its top competitors to the state tournament.
As a team, Brighton finished with 134.5 points, ahead of eighth-place West’s 125.5 and just behind Alta’s 137.5 points.
At the divisional tournament, held at West High School, the top eight wrestlers in each weight class clinched a berth at the state tournament, which took place at Utah Valley University Feb. 13–14. Seven Bengals achieved that standard and took part in the state meet.
Brighton’s top performer at the divisional meet was Rylan Stevens. The 145-pound competitor placed second in his weight class behind Zak Kohler of Wasatch. Stevens, who was seventh at regionals last season, reached the state tournament for the second year in a row.
In the 126-pound group, Brighton’s Anthony Ouk took third place to secure a spot at state. A year ago, he was third at the 5A state meet, advancing far into the consolation bracket after losing his second match.
Jaxson Wilde also did enough to get his place at the state meet. The 132-pounder placed fifth at the divisional tournament, as did Luti Wolfgramm in the 220-pound class. Meanwhile, in the lightest weight class (106 pounds), Garrett Wilde finished sixth in a competitive group. Teammate Weston Shumway, a 160-pound competitor, also placed sixth to advance to state.
The final Brighton state qualifier was 152-pound Jaeger Bostwick, who placed seventh at the divisional meet.
Brighton’s seventh-place showing in Division A was second among all Region 7 teams, behind the aforementioned Alta Hawks. In Division B of Class 5A, only Corner Canyon (third place) had a better showing than the Bengals had.
Head coach Mitchell Stevens knows his wrestlers will have their work cut out for them at the ultra-competitive sate tournament. Class 5A is loaded with some of the state’s top squads, including defending champion Viewmont, along with traditional powers Pleasant Grove, Box Elder and Wasatch.
Last season, Brighton placed right in the middle at state — 15th among 30 teams. Each individual qualifier scores points as he advances through the double-elimination bracket. As the Bengals have fewer qualifiers than the heavily favored teams, they’ll have a hard time racking up enough points to stay in contention. Still, Mitchell Stevens and his athletes are focused on doing their best and improving on last season’s efforts.