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Cottonwood Heights Journal

Gavyn Gappmayer joins legendary Brighton wrestlers

May 05, 2023 01:10PM ● By Jerry S. Christensen

Gavyn Gappmayer at the big stage during state 2023 at UVU. (Photo Joidee Gappmayer)

Brighton High was legendary in the first two decades of the school's existence (the 70's and 80's) for producing star wrestlers and formidable wrestling teams. The list started with the first state standout, Joel Savage, in 1970 and continues with dozens of names that are on the banners adorning the walls of Brighton.

The program continues to produce dedicated, goal-oriented athletes evidenced by this year's team captain Gavyn Gappmayer. Gavyn is at the peak of his eight years of focused year-round wrestling. This season, his culminating senior year, he finished as a four-time state wrestling with a remarkable 131 wins to his credit. 

His mother, Joidee Gappmayer, recalled, "Gavyn lost a ton of matches during middle school, but it was a family motto that 'you don't lose, you learn.' He learned a lot during his first few years. He never gave up when he would constantly get beat by others his age that had been competing since they were in kindergarten. He figured out quickly that if he wanted to beat them, he needed to close the gap and that meant he needed to do as much wrestling as possible to catch up."

Wrestling coach Burke Gappmayer also commented on his son. "When Gavyn started wrestling and learning a lot because he started later than most other wrestlers, I promised him that if he would work hard, trust his coaches, and work the techniques he was taught, that by the time it mattered he would be on the podium. He did do all of that and he was." Gavyn took fourth place in state his sophomore and junior years at 6A for Corner Canyon. At Brighton for his senior year, Gavyn compiled a 48-6 record, 72 takedowns and 27 pins—the wrestling equivalent of a basketball "triple double." And at the end of the season he was on the podium as his father promised—third in state while earning a 4.0 GPA. 

"After every practice I knew everyone was tired from all the hard work but Gavyn would always make sure to put in extra work after practice," observed Gavyn's fellow captain, heavyweight Mana Nonu. 

Through all of this, Gavyn also focused on jiu jitsu and is an IBJJF National Champion. He has also placed at several jiu jitsu tournaments through the last eight years. Gavyn started wrestling in fifth grade in 2015 in South Jordan. Gavyn started Brazilian jiu jitsu at Unified BJJ in 2014. 

"Gavyn always gives 100% in wrestling practice, and the work ethic rubs off on his teammates," said sophomore Ben Tillman. 

Competing in over 175 tournaments along the way (in addition to the high school seasons), Gavyn did indeed close the gap on the competition. His high school accomplishments include: four-time placer at the Viewmont Tournament; third place at Tiger-Grizz in Idaho; two-time placer at the Layton Invitational; Finalist at Richardson Memorial; Finalist at Skyhawk Showdown; Finalist at Viewmont Invitational; Finalist at Western States; Finalist at Best of the West; three-time placer at Rocky Mountain Nationals; Teammate on Team Utah for the 2022 Western States Turf Wars; four-time state qualifier; and three-time state placer. 

His best wrestling memory is, "Beating a good wrestler with a technique my dad taught me, standing up and seeing how proud and excited he is."

And what has wrestling taught him? "To learn to be focused in the most distracting situations, and that nothing can be done without a smile and a positive attitude." λ