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By JJENSEN, 01/12/20, 8:15PM MST


All-Star Primer: Warner-Humphreys

Ever since Channing Warner emerged victorious against Mason Denton, the Utah wrestling nerds have been clamoring for the Juab sophomore to take on perennial star, Tyson Humphreys. Fortunately, the squeaky wheel often gets the grease, and this pairing is the featured match of the 2020 All-Star Dual. This matchup is such a big talking point because of the contrast. Warner wins with flash and conditioning, Humphreys wins with position and basics. Warner is from a small school, Humphreys is from a big school. The list goes on and on. This one will be fun to watch because both of these wrestlers will pose unique questions for one another.

Warner: Chaotic in the Best Way 

Mr. Warner is what I like to call, a gunslinger. From the opening whistle he’s looking to score and score a lot. He drives a high pace for the entire match. He put this enormous gas tank on full display at the 2019 state tournament when he had to dig deep and win back to back dog fights against Maverick Caldwell and Jarrett Jorgensen. This season, he’s undefeated with the aforementioned win over Mason Denton and a Uintah TOC title to his name.


On his feet, Warner is exciting to watch. His best skill is his ability to work in combinations off his under-hook. He looks to throw it by into high single leg attacks (like he did to secure the winning take down in overtime in state finals) or far knee taps. 

The beauty of using both those techniques is that when one of them doesn’t work, it often opens up the other because the high-single leg is executed on the near leg while the knee tap is an attack to the far leg. Due to the threat of both those leg attacks, he also does a great job of drawing reactions with fakes. He will reach down as though he’s going to attempt a single and his opponent will quickly jump their hips back and open themselves up to a snap down. He is also capable of hitting nice hip tosses and headlocks from that position. 


His under-hook is also his first line of defense, when guys shoot for his legs, he does a great job of catching an under-hook and transitioning right into a re-attack. If someone gets to his legs, they are met with chaos. Warner can scramble with the best of them and can lock up near side cradles and other pinning techniques in those wild exchanges at any time. He isn’t afraid to try anything, even some acrobatics.


From the top position, he is always pressuring his opponent forward and trying to slip in a bar. When he secures the bar he can either take his opponent over their own head, or tilt on the far side. If at any time, his opponent hangs his head, Channing isn’t afraid to jump on a nearside cradle to finish the match. 


When Warner finds himself on bottom, he does a great job of continuously popping up to his feet even if he gets returned. His gas tank allows him to employ this style and will scramble to score reversals if whoever is on top of him tries to cling to him. 

Humphreys: Winning with Basics 

Tyson Humphreys has been a fixture atop the Utah wrestling rankings, and for good reason. He’s ¾ of the way to becoming a four-time state champion, he’s an NHSCA All-American, and signed with UVU. This season, he placed sixth at the RTOC and showed that he has the heart of a champion. He lost in the early rounds and had to rattle off six consecutive wins on the consolation side to place. 


Humphreys keeps a wide low stance in the neutral position and stalks forward to close the distance. In the ties, Humphreys does a good job of keeping his hands busy. He is always pulling on his opponents heads and getting their necks tired. When he pulls, he looks to release their head while they resist so they come out of their stance and open themselves for Humphreys single leg attack. With his single, Humphreys stays in motion. The second he gets to the leg, he’s driving up, getting both his legs behind his opponent’s elevated leg and chasing the far ankle to secure the takedown.

 As the match progresses, his pulls become more effective and he’s able to snap people all the down to their knees and score with simple go-behinds.


Defensively, Humphreys is as solid as they come with his head and hands defense. As I was going through his matches from the RTOC, I noticed very few opponents (even in his losses) that had success with leg attacks. He maintains head position so well and has a compact frame that makes leg attacks difficult to come by for his opposition. 


Humphreys knows how to ride and shut down scrambles. He does great work with a double leg ride. He will get both legs in and arch his back to elevate his opponent’s legs and hips from the mat. He maintains this immense pressure on the lower half of the body while he goes to work up top with a power-half to start scoring back points. When opponents start rolling around in an attempt to free themselves, he does a great job of adjusting his hips to stay on top and continue to ride. 


From the bottom position, Humphreys does a great job of just standing up. He doesn’t worry about fighting hands until he’s up on his feet. This method is ideal for avoiding tilts because when a wrestler looks to control a hand on bottom, it often turns into them getting their wrist tied up. A unique skill Humphreys’ has is his leg ride defense. I’ve seen several instances of him reversing opponents to their backs and pinning them when they attempt to ride legs. He crowds into them and methodically creates space to swim his arm around their body or between their legs and pull them under him, when he does this, he ends up in a turk position and works for the fall. 

What to Watch For: 

This match has everyone talking and for good reason. These two wrestlers present a unique challenge to each other and who will walk away with the victory is anyone's guess. As we highlighted above, Humphrey’s legs are hard to get to. However, Warner’s use of the under-hook could open up scoring opportunities that other setups wouldn’t lead to. Warner is great in scramble situations, but Humphrey’s is a dangerous person to scramble with, especially on the mat. This match could truly be determined in the final minute and be a battle between Warner’s conditioning and Humphreys’ positioning. Both of these wrestlers will ask each other questions and I am eager to learn who has the better answers.