The Grand County High School wrestling team returned to competition at the 3A Duals in Richfield on Friday and Saturday, Jan. 5 and 6. Although team scores weren’t good because the Red Devils only filled six varsity weights, Grand got quality showings from seniors Kayden Robertson and Gage Hansen and sophomore Carson Whitney. Whitney went 10-0 over the two-day competition, while Robertson went 9-1 and Hansen went 8-2.
“I only let six guys wrestle varsity,” coach Dennis Wells said. “We have eight guys on the team, but we had two of them wrestle in junior varsity … Against (American Leadership Academy), we got pins from all six of our wrestlers and lost 42-36 because we forfeited seven empty weights. Against Manti, we got pins in five of six matches.”
Wells also noted that Hansen beat Delta’s Bradden Davis, the No. 1-ranked heavyweight in 3A, by 3-2 decision. Of Hansen’s eight wins, four were by pin fall. Hansen, the No. 3 heavyweight in 3A, lost by pin fall to Emery’s Aaron Reeve and lost by 9-3 decision to South Summit’s Porter Fox.
Robertson had six pins in his nine victories. His lone loss came to Delta’s Tate Willoughby, the 3A No. 1 wrestler at 138 pounds, by 5-3 decision.
“Delta usually beats everyone and runs away with the state title,” Wells said. “We had six matches against them and won two, so I’m pretty happy about that.”
In other varsity competition at the 3A duals, Jimmie Johnson went 4-6 at 120 pounds, including one pin fall; Dylan Harrison went 5-5 at 132 pounds, with four wins via pin fall; and Trea Meyer went 5-3 at 182 pounds, with two pin fall victories.
The Red Devils are next scheduled to compete at an invitational tournament hosted by Gunnison Valley on Friday, Jan. 12, and Saturday, Jan. 13. Wells said it’s a round-robin tournament where grapplers can expect to compete in 9-10 matches over two days. Robertson will be absent from the tournament because of a prior commitment in San Francisco, Wells said.
In addition to going 10-0 at the 3A duals, Whitney was invited to compete as the 3A All-Star at 106 pounds against the 1A/2A All-Star McCoy Norman of Beaver at the 19th annual All-Star Duals, a fundraiser event for Utah Valley University Wrestling, on Tuesday, Jan. 9.
“It’s tough competition against the best in the state,” Wells said. “The atmosphere is pretty intense.”
Wells said Whitney will be the third wrestler he’s taken to the All-Star Duals. The first was Zane Taylor as the 2A Heavyweight in 2006, and the second was Akekasith “Ice” Kesavadhana at 119 pounds in 2011, both of whom later won the state title the year they were chosen. No Red Devil has won a state title since Kesavadhana in 2011.
Red Devils get strong showings from Whitney, Robertson, Hansen
“Delta usually beats everyone and runs away with the state title … We had six matches against them and won two, so I’m pretty happy about that.”