By Kurt Johnson
Photos by Ari Davis
Picking the top anything of the year is never an easy proposition, and as we complete our third list of top Utah high school sports stories of the year for Preps Utah, we found that this list is no exception.
For the 2013-2014 school year, we released our Top 20 stories of the year, but this year, we have expanded our list to 25 stories, some of which combine multiple events that share common themes. Since the goal is not to be exactly right, as anything of this nature is entirely subjective, but to recognize as many of the great accomplishments of the student athletes across the state as we can, we hope you will understand.
Beginning July 13 and continuing for the next three weeks, we will release one or two items on our list per day, beginning with No. 25 and working our way up to story No. 1. Today, we announce No. 20.
#20 – Perennial wrestling powers prevail
The list of schools that won state wrestling champions in 2015 has a very familiar look, with recent successes for Payson (3A) and Delta (2A) continuing. When it comes to the 4A and 5A classifications, however, the schools at the top of the heap this year have dominance that has come and gone for decades.
The state wrestling titles for a pair of perennial powers – Pleasant Grove (5A) and Wasatch (4A) – is No. 20 in our list of top stories of the year.
These two programs with state championship histories that date back to 1960 (Wasatch) and include titles in every decade since, came at this year’s title runs from different places. The Vikings are in the midst of another dominant stretch, this being their fifth consecutive state championship in Class 5A.
For the Wasps, the last banner came in 2008, at the end of a six-year run in Class 3A. This time around, Wasatch completed the task in the 4A classification. Could it be the start of another championship streak in Heber City?
The Wasps won five in a row from 1993-1997 before that 2003-2008 run of six straight. Pleasant Grove earned seven consecutive 4A state titles from 1991-1997 before the current run of five.
This year, the Vikings won by a comfortable margin despite being hurt considerably by injuries at the time of the state championships. The most notable of those was to Kyson Levin, who missed out on his chance to go for four straight individual titles due to a torn labrum.
As it was, juniors Benjamin Anderson (132 pounds) and Koy Wilkinson (170), and senior Josh Anderson (160) brought home gold for the Vikings, while senior Kaden Sperry (152), and sophomore Brandon Closson (195) both finished second in their weight classes.
The most interesting story for Wasatch at the state tournament came in the 160-pound division, where brothers Spencer and Ritchie Heywood went head-to-head in the championship bout. The older brother, senior Spencer, got the win against his sophomore sibling.
Junior Braiden Parker (113) and senior Payton Mair (170) were the other state champions for the Wasps, as sophomore Trevor Cluff (106), Corbin Smith (120) and Jakob Discher (132), as well as junior Ben Boss (285) all captured second-place results.
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