Taylor Skinner has been one of the best wrestlers in the region all year, so when he ‘only’ took second at the region meet two weeks ago it could only be described as disappointing.
But the talented junior rebounded in a big way this last weekend, winning the 160 pound title at the 3A North Region Divisionals in Ogden at Ben Lomond High School.
The Bears had 28 wrestlers compete at the divisionals, a new format implemented to better seed wrestlers for the state tournament at the McKay Center in Orem this weekend. Of the 28, 21 BR wrestlers advanced to state, tying a school record.
Bear coach Jeff Smart was thrilled with the outcome of the divisional meet, though he admitted several of his charges will face uphill battles as lower seeds facing top seeds right away.
“It will be tough for some of those lower seeds,” said Smart, who added just making the state tournament is a huge benefit for the young BR wrestlers. “To have that experience as freshmen, to go to the state tournament is a big positive for them. They will know what it is like because they have seen it. Some of our older kids have been swept away [two quick losses] because it is so big.”
Though there were no official team results, the Bears finished with 277.5 points. Wasatch, had 368 and region rival Morgan had 361.5.
In addition to Skinner, Dallin Rollins had a great tournament, taking second at 119 pounds.
“He beat the Region 11 champion, Rylan Rowser, to get to the finals. He pinned him in the first round. He wrestled the [Riley] Eccles kid from Morgan for the championship and lost in overtime,” said Smart. “I was really proud of the way he wrestled.”
But it was Skinner who showed he is one of the state’s best wrestlers. He beat Morgan’s Randon Prochnow for the title.
“We made some adjustments [in strategy] from last week. We made some mental adjustments. He came out and really had a great tournament and wrestled well. We are looking forward to him having a good state tournament and having several state placers,” said Smart.
Other wrestlers who had a good tournament included Ryker Thomas and Jordan Haramoto. “Both are in very competitive weights,” he said. “Daniel Brough, for being a kid only wrestling for three years, has done a great job. He only weighs 170 pounds [but wrestles at 189]. He chose to go up and open a spot for another wrestler. He was leading 10-0 before he got caught in a roll and was pinned [in his semi-final match].”
Even though a state title may be a long shot for the Bears, the future is looking very solid for the team. Of the 28 kids wrestling JV or varsity this year at divisionals, 25 will return next year.
With a solid junior high program and very good underclassmen, the Bears could be a year away from greatness.
BR’s State Qualifiers
103- Brady Haramoto, 7th
112- Makay Mattinson, 5th; Tanner Vanvalkenberg, 7th
119- Dallin Rollins, 2nd
125- Dixon Fuhriman, 4th; Justin Anderson, 7th
130- Jordan Haramoto, 4th; Jesse Hidalgo, 8th
135- Tanner Christensen, 5th; Alex Creer, 6th
140- Ryker Thomas, 3rd; Max Christensen, 6th
145- Coulter Furness, 5th; Zack Furness, 8th
152- Jon Rolfe, 6th; Bryce McClure, 8th
160- Taylor Skinner, 1st
171- Steven Christensen, 3rd
189- Daniel Brough, 3rd
215- Max Burnside, 8th
285- Jesus Vargas, 7th