Skip to main content

Cottonwood Heights Journal

Brighton wrestling season peaks at state tournament with 12 state qualifiers

Feb 29, 2024 01:35PM ● By Jerry S. Christensen

Brighton girls wrestling produced three state placers: Saane Taufa, Mei-Mei Engebretsen and Elise Lewis. (Jerry Christensen/City Journals )

The high school sport of wrestling is both an individual sport as well as a team sport. Wrestling coaches are fond of saying things like “sometimes you win and sometimes you learn.” A 6-minute, three-round match can expose a wrestler’s weaknesses. A four-month season can expose a team’s weaknesses and reveal its strengths. 

After only four seasons as a UHSAA-sanctioned sport, girls wrestling at Brighton has established itself as a top 10 5A program. It joins the boys wrestling program as a Brighton strength.  

The two teams set preseason goals to qualify as many wrestlers as possible to the coveted state tournament in February. State qualification is a grueling process. Wrestlers work all season to be competitive at their chosen weight classification. In late January, a two-day “Divisionals” tournament is held where eight wrestlers out of a typical field of 32 aspirants rise to the top of the brackets and achieve “state wrestler” status. Those eight wrestlers prepare to compete against the eight state qualifiers from the other Divisionals. 

Brighton achieved its goals by sending an even dozen wrestlers to the state tournament. 

From the boys team: Jarom Gappmayer, Nathan Collins, Landon Hill, Jack Burton and Ben Tillman. 

From the girls team: Daisy Dastrup, Kat Walden, Lydia Lewis, Elise Lewis, Sanne Taufa, Ava Nye and Mei-Mei Engebretsen. 

While it is a team and an individual honor to reach the goal of qualifying for state, the rare air is “achieving the podium” or placing among the top six at state. Three of Brighton's girl wrestlers took the next step and placed at state. Mei-Mei Engebretsen, a sophomore, placed third at 120 weight class; Elise Lewis, a sophomore, placed fourth at 125 weight class; and Saane Taufa, a junior, placed third at 235 weight class. 

“All of these girls wrestled with heart beating wrestlers that they had previously lost to, making well-earned state pins and coming back from difficult positions” noted first-year girls wrestling head coach Joidee Gappmayer. λ