OREM — The powerhouse wrestling program at Wasatch High School knows how to win a championship.
The Wasps have won 21 state titles in school history, including three-straight recently before falling to second place a year ago.
That was when Viewmont burst into the bracket and won its first title since 2010. It wasn’t for Wasatch’s lack of trying, either; the Wasps and Vikings had nearly the same number of finalists, but Viewmont’s 73-point lead before the finals began was too much to overcome.
"They just blew us out of the water for it," Wasatch coach Wade Discher said of last year’s Vikings. "In this classification, you need to have numbers and more people scoring."
And that’s where the Wasps hope to make up the difference in 2019 — in depth.
Wasatch placed nine wrestlers through to Thursday’s semifinal round of the Class 5A state wrestling tournament at Utah Valley University, helping the Wasps surge to 121 points and a 12-point advantage on the preliminary day of the event.
Second-place Box Elder (109) sent five wrestlers to Thursday’s semifinals. Skyridge (92), Viewmont (92) and Maple Mountain (71.5) round out the top five.
Deklan Kelly (113 pounds), Mitchel Slack (120), River Wardle (126), Sammy Heywood (132), Stockton O’Brien (138), Zak Kohler (145), Brock Lloyd (160) and Porter Chamberlain (170) all advanced to Thursday’s semifinal round, which will begin at 1 p.m. MT at the UCCU Center.
“They came out on fire today,” Discher said. “I’m really proud of them as a team. Some wrestled a little bit tight, but they overcame that.”
Discher acknowledges that championships aren’t won in a single day, and only about one-third of the points have been scored.
But it’s hard not to like the position in which his team has placed itself in 5A.
"If we're going to do it as a team, it’s got to be everybody," Discher said. "We’ve got the potential, but some of the kids are in their first tournament and they need to respond. I believe in them, but they just need to believe in themselves."
Wrestling resumes Thursday at 11 a.m. MT with the championship semifinals. Title matches begin at 5 p.m. Thursday.
Class 5A state wrestling tournament
Top 10 teams
Wasatch 121, Box Elder 109, Skyridge 92, Viewmont 92, Maple Mountain 71.5, Farmington 54.5, Murray 50, Corner Canyon 48.5, Timpanogos 45, Olympus 35.
106 — Bridger Ricks, Box Elder, v. Colin Sierer, Highland; Brock Morris, Maple Mountain, v. Tristan Ocana, Wasatch.
113 — Drew Lang, West, v. Colton Ward, Box Elder; Wyatt Romriell, Box Elder, v. Joshua Millward, Skyridge.
120 — Mitchel Slack, Wasatch, v. Jayden Adamson, Skyridge; Cooper Cox, Maple Mountain, v. Deklan Kelly, Wasatch.
126 — River Wardle, Wasatch, v. Declan Morris, Maple Mountain; Karson Rees, Viewmont, v. Colby Eastmond, Skyridge.
132 — Sammy Heywood, Wasatch, v. Mattias Osthed, Corner Canyon; Donald Butler, Roy, v. Hadley Cowan, Skyridge.
138 — Stockton O’Brien, Wasatch, v. Jameson Burnett, Viewmont; Conway Christensen, Murray v. Austin Gillette, Farmington.
145 — Zak Kohler, Wasatch, v. Spencer Maxwell, Jordan; Lorince Essig, Viewmont, v. Rylan Stevens, Brighton.
152 — Jack Lang, West, v. Holland Knudsen, Timpanogos; Jeremy Evans, Viewmont, v. James Hornberger, Skyridge.
160 — Brock Lloyd, Wasatch, v. Cannon Taylor, Murray; v. Isaac Wilcox, Olympus, v. Aaron Mele, Springville.
170 — Porter Chamberlain, Wasatch, v. Elijah Kratzer, Timpanogos; Zack Johnson, Maple Mountain, v. Trace Muse, Skyridge.
182 — Lucas Cochran, Box Elder, v. Paul Clark, Highland; Parker Gasser, Maple Mountain, v. Jake Anderson, Farmington.
195 — Dawson Woods, Alta, v. Alex Eldem, Timpanogos; Tyson Zesiger, Viewmont, v. Ernest Barlow, Skyridge.
220 — Cael Richardson, Timpview, v. Emerson Conlon, Olympus; K. Carlson, Corner Canyon, v. Breyden Jorgensen, Timpanogos.
285 — Ryan Gunn, Box Elder, v. Joseph Watson, Jordan; Daniel Tuiono, East, vs James Tomasi, Provo.