ST. GEORGE – Desert Hills may be the team to beat in Region 9 wrestling in 2016-17.
Veteran wrestling coach Brian Pace has several returning state finishers, including a state champion and two runners-up.
“It’s always good to have experience back,” Pace said. “But we’ll have to see how focused their minds are.”
Liam Williams is the state champion at 152 pounds. Brady Jones was the runner-up at that weight. The other runner-up was Bundy Sewell at heavyweight. Desert Hills also has returners who placed at state, including Zaden Rowley, Chance Bundy, Nate Olsen and Byron Anderson. Ryker Boyce is an incoming freshman to watch.
“It will be fun to see what their potential is,” Pace said.
Cedar’s Dyllon Arevinar, Snow Canyon’s Tanner Nelson and Hurricane’s Shane Farnsworth are also among the state Class 3A wrestling tournament place-winners hoping to step up in this year’s tournament. Everyone has several months to hone their skills.
Nelson finished third with just one loss to an All-American from Juab.
Other Warrior returning place-winners include Reese Jones and Christian Case. Cedar’s returning place-winners are Quaid Murray, Nate Ellis and Daniel Jordan.
“Our overall numbers are down, but the group we have wants to work hard and only time will tell,” said Cedar coach Luke Payne.
“The Snow Canyon Warrior wrestling program is returning from its most successful season in school history,” said coach Nick Lang. “Last year we had 13 state qualifiers, 7 state placers, and 1 state champion.
“As coaches, we preach about getting better every day (even if it is only one percent better). Those little improvements add up over a season and high school career.”
The Hurricane Tigers should be competitive as well.
“Hurricane High School wrestling is going to be much improved over the last few years,” coach Ryan Christiansen said. “We have some of our younger guys who now have much more varsity experience that are going to do really well this year. We have one returning state placer from last year coming back in junior Shane Farnsworth. He is going to wrestle at either 182 or 195 this year. He is very tough and will do good again this year.
“Treyson Abbott is a junior who is going to be good this year as well. He has matured a lot and is really hungry to take state. He will be at 145 or 152. Some other wrestlers who are expected to be tough are Cayman Davis (113), Trey Johnson (152), Mathew Lemmon (220), and Gavin Atkinson (285).”
Dixie also has returning place-winners in Hobbs Nyberg (160) and Cutler Thomas (295).
“We’ve got a good group of juniors, too,” said Flyers coach Jarad Carlson. “We have a lot of new kids out. I expect us to do well. It’s all about matchups and I think we match up well with the other teams in our region.”
Among other Flyer athletes to watch are heavyweight Tim Miles, 170-pounder Jason Longmore as well as sophomores Ethan Emerson and Cooper Dastrup.
After five years as an assistant coach, Zack Stoddard has taken over the Pine View program. He welcomes seven seniors, although two haven’t wrestled before.
“I think we’ll have a strong team as the season moves along,” Stoddard said. “We have pretty awesome captains who will help the younger guys.”
Those captains include Ben Worlton, who was third at state at 138 pounds, and Braden Holmes, who was sixth at 132. The others are Korey Barlow. Jake Mayfield and Cash Day. Riley Helt is a freshman to watch. He has been wrestling “quite a few years.”
Tournament action has begun. Region meets will begin shortly and continue through January.
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