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Cottonwood Heights Journal

Brighton coach to wrestling team: work, evolve, innovate

Dec 02, 2022 12:30PM ● By Jerry Christensen

By Jerry Christensen | [email protected]

First-year Brighton wrestling head coach Burke Gappmayer expects just three things of the 50 wrestlers who present themselves as the Bengals this season—to work, to evolve, and to innovate.

“Have a focus and purpose every time you step out on the mat in practice and in competition,” Gappmayer said. 

It turns out that these values are life lessons that Gappmayer learned himself over years of grinding work, constant evolution and timely evolution. "Unless you continually work, evolve, and innovate, you'll learn a quick and painful lesson from someone who has” according to wrestling great Cael Sanderson, a personal friend of Gappmayer. The boys may not know it yet, but their lives are about to change. 

“We have such a great group this season,” said assistant coach Joidee Gappmayer. Some have made the sacrifice to train year-round honing their skills at Western States and Monster Match tournaments. “We have a two-time state placer, Gavyn Gappmayer. We have an exciting incoming freshman, Jarom Gappmayer. We have two other returning state wrestlers, Gus Blake and Mana Nonu.” These seasoned wrestlers will bring confidence and resolve to the team. “Keep an eye out for Ben Tillman who was a state alternate last year as a freshman. We have many new wrestlers who have MMA and football experience who will add to strength of our team. One thing for sure is that this is a tough group of wrestlers in the Brighton room.”

Wrestling is an odd mix of team sport and individual performance. Success is measured in many ways—team accomplishments, personal growth, teammate success or simply making it through a grueling season of hard work.

“I expect to push myself even further beyond where I’ve pushed myself in the past, really test my own limits, and I think the team is strong, we’re unrelenting, refusing to give in,” said senior David Eliason. “I think the coaches are very in touch with what they see in us and how to access our potential. Practices are brutal, but we’re learning that as humans we are far more capable mentally and physically than most people think.”

Besides daily technical and endurance trainings, the coaches have cobbled together a challenging schedule of dual matches with other schools during the week with Fridays and Saturdays dedicated to tournaments along the Wasatch Front. A wrestler may get up to 10 highly competitive bouts a week. The hard work pays off as the season evolves to divisionals which qualifies the best and most innovative wrestlers for state in mid-February. 

Brighton's upcoming schedule:

Nov. 22-23 - Turkey Brawl @ Jordan High School

Dec. 1 - Home Dual with East (Region Dual)

Dec. 2-3 - Skyhawk Showdown @ Spanish Fork

Dec. 6 - Dual @ Lone Peak

Dec. 15 - Dual @ Skyline (Region Dual)

Dec. 16-17 - Viewmont Tournament

Dec. 29 - Tri-Dual @ North Summit (North Summit and Riverton)

Jan. 5 - Dual @ Park City (Region Dual)

Jan. 6-7 - Best of West @ Tooele

Jan. 12 - Home Dual with Murray (Region Dual)

Jan. 13-14 - Hunter Duals @ Hunter

Jan. 18 - Dual @ Hillcrest

Jan. 19 - Dual @ Highland (Region Dual)

Jan. 20 - 5A Duals

Jan. 26 - Home Dual with Olympus (Region Dual and Senior Night)

Feb. 3-4 - Divisionals

Feb. 17-18 - 5A State Tournament