As the 2019-2020 season officially starts today, here is a snapshot of the best 25 teams in Utah. The criteria for these rankings go :
Big Tournament Projections (RENO, RUMBLE, DOC B etc)
Dual Meet Projections
Local Tournament Projections (LIT, Viewmont, Richardson, etc)
At this point, it is all projection and prognostication based on the past, rumours and opinions.
Let me know where you think I'm wrong.
The Wasps once again find themselves atop this ranking. This years squad will be better than last year. They still have the star power that Wasatch is known for. Some of the best wrestlers in the state of Utah. this year they have a better supporting class, guys that can score points throughout the lineup. They should outplace the State at the big tournaments and should perform better in duals than last year. Can the Wasps hold on to the tops spot in Utah and the 5A? They will be at LIT, host the Intermountain Duals and then head to Reno. Tough Schedule, Tough Team, Discher will have them as prepared as humanly possible to face the challenges.
There is something big building in Nephi. They've won 3 in a row, are huge favorites to win this year and do not look to be slowing down. I'm not sure what it will take to derail the juggernaut that is Juab wrestling in the 3A. A long, long time ago the club in Juab was called the Midnight Express, Thier logo a train. The dream of long ago has been realized and the freight train is rolling steadily down the tracks, and State Titles trail behind them. How many will Dr. Holman a mass? Well, Jack Holman is in 3rd grade I think, so . . . 9 more might be a real thing.
Brock Moore will have the Vikings firing on all cylinders. With the introduction of some new blood from PA, the solid line up they always field. PG starts the season at #3. If the contribution is what is expected with Richardson, and they get wrestlers like Spencer Tauteoli to make the type of impact we've always thought him capable of, Pleasant Grove might be the best team in the State. Until we know for sure, they'll have to settle for #3. A showdown in Fillmore in early December with Juab will be their first chance.
Last year, the Lions won a 4A Title. This year they are in 5A. Can they repeat as champs and dethrone a Wasatch Dynasty? It is possible. They outpaced the Wasps a couple of times last year and only graduated a few impact wrestlers. LIT is the first big test, and do be surprised to see some things shakeup after that. Jeb Clark will have the Lions ready to roar. Every lion that steps on the Mat will be ready to go and look from them to walk away with the Dual with a win, but the real test will come in February.
Altamont has the potential to be very good. For a small school, they have a history of producing good wrestlers. No Foy's on this year's roster, but there are multiple young men who have been training to take the reins. 8 returning placers, 208 returning team points, a star-studded Freshman class and one of the best coaches to ever set foot in a wrestling room will give the Longhorns a chance to challenge those above them. Can they help Coach Sanderson get #10?
Injuries hobbled the Mustangs last year. A healthy squad could easily stampede it's way to a 4A title. Could they challenge the top 5 in Utah? They will have a chance in Heber to face Payson, PG, and Wasatch. Last year they beat some of those teams can they repeat that feat? Better yet, can they put it together in a bracketed tournament?
The Utes graduated Ayotte Deets and Bennion, a lot of points. They still retain a full arsenal of wrestler ready and willing to step into the spotlight and leave their names and create a legacy amidst the storied tradition that in Uintah Wrestling. This years team should challenge Mountain Crest, and have a serious chance to add to the trophy cabinet. The Utes start at #7, they should be at LIT and have a chance to prove themselves.
Ricks and Cochran lead the way, but they are not alone. Despite producing some of the best wrestlers Utah has to offer over the last few decades, Box Elder has always prided themselves on having depth. Kids at every single weight that can compete, and putting in the time on the mat to get to an elite level is what Box Elder wrestling is. It is what it has been, and what it will be 20 years from now. The first test for this team will be at LIT where we will see how they stand up against Payson, Wasatch, and others.
Mason Denton is one of the senior leaders of the Silverwolves, he won a 126lb state title last year. This year, he will try to lead the lower weights to 6A prominence. Kolten Kammermeyer is one of the senior leaders of the Silverwolves, he won a 195lb state title last year. This year, he will try to lead the Fremont upper weights to 6A prominence. Can these two Champions, these two leaders, put the Silverwolves in position to challenge for prominence?
Last year was a seemingly down year for the Trojans, they had a young team with limited experience and only a couple of wrestlers with varsity experience, and really only one top tier accolades. This year those young inexperienced wrestlers have ample experience and have made their way into the top echelon of the 3A and the Power Poll. Watch out as the Trojans get rolling this year.
The Titans are ready to go. They have a bunch of guys in the middle of their line up that will present problems for any team. Can they score points at those other weights and make enough of an impact to bring home the elusive 6A trophy they've had their gaze fixed on for a while now. They have built a feeder program and a High School room to bring it to fruition, now the only thing they need is to perform to their abilities in February.
Westlake has been building a competitive team that one day soon will compete for a title in Utah. I personally think they are a couple of years away from that, but I might be wrong. They will put a lot of kids on the mat this year, and kids Like 2X champ Finlinson will help the Thunder roll through this season.
Some people were surprised to see the Spartans finishing where they did last February. Not many understand what is going on under the swell. From Emery to Castle Dale, and out to Elmo, there are things building in Emery County, and there are many in and out of that part of the State that feel this could be the year that the Spartans bring home a trophy. They've fielded solid teams for a long time now, but to compete in the 3A for a title, they've never had the ability to take that next step. Is this the year?
Beaver is another team that for a long time have been right on the verge of being good enough to compete for a title. They consistently place well and this year they return 8 state placers and the second-most points in the 2A classification. Beaver traditionally travels to the Skyhawk Showdown, Desert Hills Thunder Duals, and the Vegas Holiday Classic in December. look for their results to provide some insight into what this team is capable of.
Coalville has produced some solid wrestlers over the last few years. the small town on I-80 in the corner of Utah boasts 3-4 kids on collegiate rosters and one of the top seniors in the state. Tyler Schuern and a group of solid Braves will try to track down a 2A trophy. Keep your eyes on the team in Purple and Gold.
The Lancers are in an unfamiliar spot. New head coach, Same name, familiar face, but New nonetheless. On paper, they look down. All indications point to a long hard year of finishing in the middle of the pack. Graduating a class full of college prospects will do that. 10 Seniors qualified for State for Layton last season. Coach Adam Fager and Company will have their work cut out for them, but don't count out Layton this early.
The Farmington Phoenix are a team that many have questions about. What happens this year with the Phoenix will pave the way for the future. Will they be as good in the second year as they were in their first? Can they improve enough to establish themselves as a team to be reckoned with? One major factor will be the health of Parker Frasure. Can the Phoenix arise and take a place among the top 15? Top 10?
Brandon Riplinger is rebuilding a Viewmont team that won a State title in 2018. They won a title and then the school split and half the team went to Farmington. Both teams performed well and placed in the top 6 at State. Given his pedigree and accolades, he is not unaccustomed to winning and not a stranger to building teams to compete for titles. Expect the Coach Rip (the Younger) to be back in the hunt soon.
Delta is down. Truly struggling. They traveled the long and lonely road back to Delta with a silver trophy 3 times in the last 4 years. The rabbits haven't won a title in a long, long time. it has been One thousand and three days since the rabbits won a State Title. This decade they have 7 Titles and fell short 3 times. Of course, for most programs in the country, 1 title and 3 seconds in 4 years is phenomenal. Not in Delta.
The Bears of Bear River are always hard to gauge as we head into a year they always field a large team, they always have a couple of guys who are phenomenal, and always have a solid lineup. The unfortunate emigration of the Robertsons to another state will hurt the Bears chance to challenge for a title, but the Bears still have a group of wrestlers that will challenge in the 4A.
Last year, Skyridge had a breakout year. competing in the 5A against the states' toughest competition, the broke into the top 5 and opened some people's eyes as to what they were putting together in east Lehi. Can Coach Lyle Mangum follow that up with another great year and establish his program as one of Utah's premier? Being in the 6A brings new challenges, but the Falcons should rise to the challenge.
There is a new man at the helm of the Maple Mountain wrestling team. Can coach Max Sultan lead the Golden Eagles back to prominence? They have top talent and a solid feeder program. Can they get back into the hunt in the 5A? I wouldn't count them out. Can their line up compete with the best in Utah?
Duchesne is tough, one of those teams from a town that some people in the state don't even know how to pronounce. A team that if you don't know will surprise you. The town of Duchesne has 1779 people, yet if you look at their line up, they have guys 2 deep who can score points and win a lot of matches in any tournament in the State.
Millard graduated a beast of a class. They went through last season and established themselves as some of the best Utah had to offer. Understandably, Millard has some rebuilding to do. Can the guys they have in the room step up and make strides? Can they develop younger talent to compete on the HS level? Did they do what it takes in the offseason to be the Millard everyone expects? If I know anything about Coach Turner and Millard, the answer to every one of those questions is: YES!
Mountain Ridge has the capacity to be pretty good. State Champion in Mark Rausch, top incoming Freshman in Garcia, a couple of game competitors and returning placers, Stevens, Bearden, and Stange establish a solid foundation. Coach Stevens and company will look to build a powerhouse team in the Salt Lake Valley.