By Travis Hansen, Leader Sports Writer
The Bear River wrestling team is once again at the top of Region 11 after smoking the competition at the region championships held at Juan Diego this past weekend.
The Bears sent 27 wrestlers to compete and 26 placed in the top-six in their respective weights. As a team Bear River racked up 411 points with second place Morgan back at 228.
“We had a good tournament,” said coach Jeff Smart. “We will see what we can do at divisionals and then at state.”
Nine wrestlers won the region crown in their weight class, including Brady Haramoto (103), Dominic Kunder (119), Dixon Fuhriman (125), Jordan Haramoto (130), Tanner Christensen (140), Bryce McClure (152), Taylor Skinner (160), Max Burnside (215) and Clark Jeppesen (285).
Jeppesen has only been wrestling with the team for a few weeks. “We kind of went and recruited Clark and said he would really help compliment what we are trying to accomplish as a team in the region and at state,” said Smart. “He has wrestled well the past few weeks and now has won the region tournament.”
Taylor Skinner was named the outstanding wrestler in the upper weights for the fourth time this season.
Finishing in second for the Bears was Easton Richards (103), Chris Hernandez (112), Tanner VanValkenburg (119), Justin Anderson (130), Ryker Thomas (135), RJ Christensen (140), Colter Furness (145), Steven Christensen (189) and Brodee Stevensen (285). Five of the finals matches included two Bear River wrestlers, which proves the strength and depth this Bear team has.
Next up for Bear River will be the divisional meet, which is held at Wasatch on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 4-5. At the divisional meet the wrestlers will be competing with other regions to determine seeding in the final state tournament rankings. State will be hosted at Utah Valley University on Feb. 11-12.
Although the team is on an emotional high, Smart is trying to keep things in perspective by reminding his wrestlers how tough three straight weekends of wrestling can be. It is down to crunch time and each wrestler controls his own fate.