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OREM — Viewmont wrestler Jeremy Evans may have spent more time warming up for his two matches during Wednesday’s opening rounds of the Class 5A state wrestling tournament at the UCCU Center.
But he’s been challenged more recently than he has all year — and he’s eager to meet that challenge again.
Evans will wrestle for a berth in the 5A state finals at 160 pounds Thursday at the UCCU Center in Orem. And he could face some familiar competition, as well, with teammate Alex Zesiger in the other semifinal.
“Those two know what they want; they’re so self-driven in their goals,” Viewmont coach Brandon Ripplinger said of his star duo. “Alex wanted to move into a weight class where he felt more comfortable, and he knew he’d have to wrestle Jeremy.
“But they’re good buddies off the mat … We just get to sit back, watch them and enjoy it.”
In the 5A divisional round just over a week ago, Evans (41-3) saw something he hadn’t expected: he was taken down, a position of weakness and one that he had never found himself in all season. Through 38 matches against in-state opponents, he had never trailed in a match. On that fateful Saturday, the opponent who took him down was familiar: Zesiger, the wrestler who finished second at divisionals and sees Evans every day in the training room.
“It was a little weird wrestling a teammate, but it was cool,” Evans said. “He knows how I wrestle, but I knew how he wrestles, too.
“He knows his stuff, and sticks to it — just doesn’t give up. He knows what he wants.”
Evans went on to pin Zesiger in that round, and then he continued what he started Wednesday afternoon. He stuck Mountain View’s Jonathan Jones in just 20 seconds, and followed it up with a 23-second pin over Spanish Fork’s Brock Davis to advance to Thursday’s semifinals. Once there, he’ll face Salem Hill’s Monson Morley (29-15), and a win there will put him in the state finals — where he could face fellow semifinalist Zesiger.
“I’ve put in the work over the years, and I’m ready to go take it,” Evans said. “I’m always ready for anything; I know anyone wants to try hard just to get a takedown on me.”
Payson is clinging to a 125-120.5 edge over Wasatch, which has won four of the past five state titles in the Wasps’ classification. Box Elder (79), Mountain View (75) and Viewmont (60) round out the top five.
Wrestling continues Thursday at 10:30 a.m. MT with the championship semifinals. All matches will be streamed on live.ksl.com, with the championship finals scheduled to begin at 4:45 p.m. MT.
Jacob Carlson (106), Kyler Ferrell (113), Zeke Kelley (138), Oakley Ridge (145), Jake Richardson (170), Matthew Smith (170), Ted Johnson (182), Cannon Carlson (195), Philip Boban (220) and Wyatt Date (285) all advanced to the semifinals to help the Vikings overwhelm the first day of the 6A tournament.
With 149.5 points, the Vikings are locked in on their 20th team title, which would be just one behind Wasatch for third all-time in Utah high school wrestling history.
Layton is second with 84.5 points, followed by Fremont (73), Syracuse (70) and Westlake (70).
106 — Eduardo Cabrera, Payson vs. Cody Burr, Mountain View; Kyison Garcia, Mountain Ridge v. Jacob Waddoups, Farmington.
113 — Heath Clyde, Wasatch vs. Brock Morris, Maple Mountain; Bridger Ricks, Box Elder vs. Ryder Robinson, Wasatch.
120 — Deklan Kelly, Wasatch vs. Cam Ford, Payson; Cole Jensen, Payson vs. Austin Kelly, Wasatch.
126 — Treyson Davis, Wasatch vs. Layne Shepherd, Payson; Wyatt Hone, Payson vs. Colton Erickson, Woods Cross.
132 — Parker Frasure, Farmington vs. Cooper Cox, Maple Mountain; Deegan Palmer, Payson vs. River Wardle, Wasatch.
138 — Sammy Heywood, Wasatch vs. Conway Christensen, Murray; Anthonee Ouk, Brighton vs. Dawson Shepherd, Spanish Fork.
145 — Stockton O’Brien, Wasatch vs. Cruz Johnson, Mountain Ridge; Hunter Charlton, Mountain View vs. Moses Espinoza, Viewmont.
152 — Marcus Espinoza, Viewmont vs. Rylan Stevens, Mountain Ridge; Caleb Marx, Box Elder vs. Austin Gillette, Farmington.
160 — Jeremy Evans, Viewmont vs. Monson Morley, Salem Hills; Quinlin Jackson, Maple Mountain vs. Alex Zesiger, Viewmont.
170 — Brock Lloyd, Wasatch vs. Radio Stafford, Mountain View; Andrew Jensen, Maple Mountain vs. Tucker Naccarato, Payson.
182 — David Fox, Timpview vs. Elijah Stafford, Mountain View; Lucas Cochran, Box Elder vs. Conner Morris, Timpview.
195 — Jacob Anderson, Farmington vs. Carson Lancaster, Box Elder; Louis Williams, Payson vs. Christian Smoot, Woods Cross.
220 — Cael Richardson, Timpview vs. Christopher Esparza, Mountain View; Sau Tafisi, East vs. Aaron Carty, Bonneville.
285 — James Tomasi, Provo vs. Kellen Collier, Box Elder; Ryley Horrocks, Mountain View vs. C.J. Vasquez, Payson.
106 — Dallan Hunsaker, American Fork vs. Karter Santquist, Hunter; Isaac Price, Copper Hills vs. Jacob Carson, Pleasant Grove.
113 — Quade Smith, Layton vs. Sutton Brown, Syracuse; Cal Christiansen, Fremont vs. Kyler Ferrell, Pleasant Grove.
120 — Aidan Harris, Layton vs. Brigham Bagley, Corner Canyon; Hunter Swalberg, Northridge vs. Marco Herrera, Bingham.
126 — Jacob Finlinson, Westlake vs. Kaden Sandquist, Hunter; Corbin Platt, Fremont vs. Drew Lang, West.
132 — Tucker Butler, Westlake vs. Joshua Millward, Skyridge; Mason Denton, Fremont vs. Kaden Olson, Riverton.
138 — Tyson Humphreys, Layton vs. MaClaine Percival, Davis; Hadley Cowan, Skyridge vs. Zeke Kelley, Pleasant Grove.
145 — Oakley Ridge, Pleasant Grove vs. Jordan Davies, Syracuse; Mahkyi Smith, Skyridge vs. Isaac Fisher, Layton.
152 — Jaxon Wardle, Bingham vs. Lee Woolsey, Weber; Joshua Rassi, Syracuse vs. Ashden Green, Westlake.
160 — Payton Clark, Bingham vs. Kam Moss, Corner Canyon; James Hornberber, Skyridge vs. Canyon Brann, Layton.
170 — Jake Richardson, Pleasant Grove vs. Cesar Ubico, Hunter; Kaden Westerlind, Corner Canyon vs. Matthew Smith, Pleasant Grove.
182 — Mason Christiansen, Bingham vs. Loyal Holm, Skyridge; Jacob Kashiwaeda, Weber vs. Ted Johnson, Pleasant Grove.
195 — Cannon Carlson, Pleasant Grove vs. Kolton Kammeyer, Fremont; Talmage Carman, Herriman vs. Hyrum Ivie, Copper Hills.
220 — Anthony Stockwell, Westlake vs. Bridger Harris, Weber; Kenton Norman, Herriman vs. Philip Boban, Pleasant Grove.
285 — Wyatt Dawe, Pleasant Grove vs. Weston Warr, Fremont; Kade Carlson, Corner Canyon vs. Drew Dennison, Pleasant Grove.