By Ashley Whimpey
Photos by Shane Marshall
On page one, every line of the notebook read, “I’m gonna win state.” On page two, and three, and four and each of the following 115 pages in the 120-page notebook, each line read, “I’m gonna win state.”
Just before the final round at the 2014 Utah Class 3A state wrestling championships, Ashton Seely passed the notebook from his hands to his coach’s. And then, he went out and won state.
It’s a tradition to give your coach a gift before the final match, but Ashton Seely isn’t exactly typical. Now a sophomore at Juab High School, his story is still in progress, but it’s already one worth writing down. The kid’s got a spark.
He explained to me his recurring vision, the idea in his mind before a match, while he’s running (again), pushing through a hard workout, sleeping, eating, breathing or whatever he is doing.
“A custom Juab singlet, four of those notebooks and then my medals. Along the bottom. All nice together,” Seely said.
The medals are state medals, and he’s already one-fourth of the way there, having taken home a state title in 2014. Seely took the top spot on the podium at 160 pounds, and proceeded to compete at the Super State tournament, where he finished third against 160-pounders from all classifications in the state.
The Juab sophomore is still the big dog at home. He’s the older brother to two younger siblings, which makes it obvious to see why Seely described his favorite Greek God, Zeus, as superior in his eyes solely because, “He’s kind of like the big brother to everyone. He’s always looking out for them and he’s strong enough they know he’s got their back.”
Ashton Seely is definitely strong, but he’s also solid deep into his heart. Seely excels with pressure to perform, and thrives on the environment of wrestling. He calls it the “family aspect.” His family is bigger than two younger siblings. He works hard, practicing and learning, for his mother, and comments, “She has never been negative. She’s always upbeat and positive.”
Ashton’s mother, Stacy, has been in a wheelchair since being paralyzed from the waist down in an accident that happened when Ashton was six years old.
He also works for his father, his sponsors, and way back when he began his journey, he worked hard for Mason Mangelson.
Mason was the “cool” friend who invited Seely to wrestle, and suddenly the star was born. Since that fateful third-grade year, Ashton Seely has leapt and bounded to become one of the top wrestlers in the nation.
His success meant his application to the USA wrestling team was selected, placing him on a team traveling to Brazil the summer of 2014. Before he could leave however, Seely had a few more matches in the States. One of them was the Intermountain Challenge tournament in Idaho.
Just 22 seconds into his final round, while wrestling for the championship at the Intermountain Challenge, he got caught facing in entirely the wrong direction, and Seely’s ankle was very much broken.
“I just started kind of… screaming,” Seely said. “I was going into mental shock, physical shock, and just, well, screaming. My first thought was Brazil.”
But then he laughed. He’s already moved on to getting through the heartache of having lost the chance to compete internationally last year. It’s not his first injury, and it won’t be his last.
Ashton has already committed to spend, “countless hours of work,” in order to gain a, “mental and physical edge,” that puts winners on the podium.
Seely credits most of his success to others. He is inspired by a paralyzed mother, pushed by fantastic coaches and supported by incredible sponsors. There is something in Ashton Seely however which creates stories like his – he’s got the “edge” he so often references. Perhaps it’s what the Greeks saw when they dreamed up the great and almighty Zeus.