After placing fourth out of 10 teams at the Centennial League Tournament, and second of eight at the Regional meet, the Viking Wrestling squad had plenty of momentum rolling into State. Four individuals won Regional crowns, while 10 total wrestlers qualified for the 5A State Tournament in Park City, including six that already held state experience.
“Qualifying 10 guys for State was great, because we usually get in 8-10 guys. It was very similar to the last few years, so it was nice to keep that consistency.”
The team’s 10 competitors racked up a total of 115 points, placing them sixth overall in 5A, which is their best finish in 17 years. Junior wrestler Bryant Guillen led the way for the Vikings with 4-0 record and state title in the 160 lb. weight class, becoming the first underclassmen to win a state championship since 1979.
“Bryant just battled. He wrestled probably the best match I’ve ever seen him wrestle in the quarterfinals against last year’s runner-up, won, and then got a fall in the final,” said Coach Kelly.
Bryant’s story of victory is highlighted by the major setback he had to overcome, a broken ankle.
“In October the doctors took out the screws and some bone fragments and reattached a ligament. It took me two months of rehab and I missed the first part of the season,” said Guillen. “Towards of the end of the season I was finally feeling 100 percent again, and thankfully I was mentally and physically confident going into state.”
Senior AJ Brown went 5-1 to place third, while senior Dylan Kadous and junior Dylan Hall each brought home fourth place medals. Seniors Zach Pittman and Geoff Garrison closed out the Seaman medalists with sixth place finishes.
“The placing of the other five guys really helped. At one point, we were behind Mill Valley, but we finished ahead of them by 30 points. Those points on the back side made a big difference,” said Kelly regarding his team’s point finish.
The six medalists from 2012 equaled the record number of medalists that was set back in 2005. This year’s qualifiers also accounted for the highest state tournament point total ever. The wrestling team finished the season with two second-place tournament finishes, two third-place, and two fourth-place. They won two dual meets and racked up a total of 178 falls as a team, beating their goal of 150 falls.
Senior Aaron Cool led the team with a total of 35 wins, while junior Dylan Hall recorded a team high 25 falls, including the team’s fastest fall of only 10 seconds. Hall and Guillen, along with two other qualifiers will spearhead the Vikings’ run for an even better State finish in 2013 under Coach Kelly.
“I’m really excited for next season. Next year could be a breakout season for us even though it kind of happened this year, too. What we did this year is what we did, so we’ll continue to improve and make a run again.”