ST. GEORGE — Six Washington County wrestlers have qualified to represent Utah as part of the state’s contingent at the ASICS Vaughan Cadet and Junior Nationals in Fargo, N.D. next week.
Utah will be sending two age-group teams, a Cadet team (15- and 16-year-olds) and a Junior team (17-18-year olds), with a total of 79 wrestlers to try and compete for the national title. Last year, Utah took third in Greco-Roman and seventh overall at Nationals.
“This is an amazing event and an incredible opportunity for these kids,” said Cortney English, one of the coaches at the Hurricane Valley Wrestling Club. “Every state is represented with their best wrestlers at this tournament. It is by far the largest and most difficult tournament in the country for high school kids.”
Powerhouses like Wasatch, Maple Mountain, Payson and Pleasant Grove will be represented on the team, but Hurricane will have four of its own wrestlers in Cadets Treyson Abbott (126-pound class) and Matthew Lemmon (220) and Juniors Jayden Griffin (120) and Devin English (145).
Along with the four Hurricane wrestlers, two other Washington County athletes are going to Fargo. Chance Bundy, who goes to Desert Hills and wrestles in the summer for Red Storm Wrestling, will compete with Abbott in the 126 Cadet category, and Byron Anderson (Dixie High and Red Storm Wrestling) will compete in the Cadet 160-pound category.
Add one other southern Utahn, Brady Lowry of Canyon View, and it’s clear that the southwest part of the state will be well represented at the national tourney.
“Utah is a strong state for wrestling, especially with some of the traditionally great programs from up north,” Coach English said. “Last year we took some lumps at the state level, we just got a little taste. But these guys qualifying for the Utah National team is a testament that, like in life, hard work and great effort pays off.”
Devin English, Coach English’s nephew, said the opportunity to go to the national tournament is exciting.
“The best wrestlers in the country are going to be there,” he said. “I think we will do well, but who knows? I am excited. I’m a little rusty because I broke my wrist a couple of months ago and it’s not 100 percent yet. But I’m working hard to get ready. We’re all working hard.”
To qualify for the national team, wrestlers had to participate in the 2015 Utah Freestyle and Greco State Tournament Apr. 24-25 at the Legacy Center and place in the top four. Due to other commitments, some alternates were also given a ticket to the event. Devin English broke his wrist just before the tournament, but petitioned the governing body and was granted a spot on the Utah National Team by virtue of his stellar regular-season record.
Greco-Roman and Freestyle wrestling are the types used in the Olympics and are slightly different than the style used to compete in high school. Scores are generally higher and the matches are faster-paced.
English said the National Tournament in the FargoDome is a double-elimination tournament. The Utah contingent is currently at the Fargo Camp at Camp Williams in Salt Lake City.
The ASICS Vaughan Cadet and Junior Nationals runs July 18-25. The Utah teams will be traveling by bus to the event. For more information, click here.
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