The Grand County High School wrestling team went 5-3 in head-to-head matches against other schools at the Desert Hills Thunder Holiday Duels on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 9 and 10 in St. George.
The duels hosted mostly 3A schools with a handful of 2A and 1A schools, as well as one from 4A. The Red Devils went 3-2 versus schools 3A or higher, including a 42-36 win over 4A Spanish Fork. The Red Devils also defeated 3A Pineview 45-36 and 3A Dixie 48-36. Grand lost to 3A Page, Arizona, 54-30 and 3A Snow Canyon 45-33.
Grand only faced three other schools their own size or smaller, beating 2A Enterprise 45-36 and 1A Panguitch 40-36. The Red Devils lost to 2A Kanab 36-33.
“Overall we had a good showing and a big improvement from last year,” Grand wrestling coach Dennis Wells said. “We had a couple kids stay home for various reasons, other obligations, or I think we could have won a couple more of those close ones.”
The Red Devils finished in the middle of the pack among the 15 teams represented at the meet, six of which they did not compete against. Wells said that to beat larger schools in duel competition, it requires a “total team effort.”
Freshman Carson Sheets went 8-0 over the weekend to anchor the effort. Kayden Robertson went 7-1, while Dakota Johnson, Gage Hansen, Brayden Cloud and Carson Whitney went 6-2. Trent Elmore and Jared Smith went 5-3, John Corbin went 4-4, Jarom Shumway went 2-6 and Tayson Wilson went 1-3 before sitting out the second day with an injury.
Wells said that for Grand to continue its early-season success, the Red Devils must remain focused on fundamentals.
“We’ve been taking pride in our conditioning – our hard work,” he said. “We want to be in better shape than our opponents are so if it’s close going into the third period, we give ourselves a better chance to win. We’re also working on sticking to the basics, taking what’s given to us. Instead of trying to do all the moves, just get really good at a couple and the rest will come with experience.”
The Red Devils were also scheduled to host San Juan in a duel on Wednesday, Dec. 14. Grand is scheduled to travel to Piedra Vista in Farmington, New Mexico, for five duels on Saturday, Dec. 17, before competing in a duel at Carbon on Tuesday, Dec. 20, at 7 p.m.
Red Devils put on strong showing against larger schools
We’ve been taking pride in our conditioning – our hard work. We want to be in better shape than our opponents are so if it’s close going into the third period, we give ourselves a better chance to win.