Redemption! Back-to-back! 3-peat! Antonio Nava! Jarrett Jorgensen! Chase Trussell!
Each of Morgan’s newly-minted 3A state wrestling champions climbed a trail to the top of the podium, but the end result was the same—a gold medal—that grandly gleamed as the cameras flashed to record the moment for the ages.
For 152-pound senior Antonio Nava, the trail began his freshman year (2015) with a sixth-place finish in the 126-pound bracket, including a loss by fall to Chance Bundy in the consolation semifinals. In 2016 at 132 pounds, Nava pinned Bundy in the semifinal match to advance to the championship bout, but he fell to Raynger Keckler of Logan 11-3 to earn the silver.
In 2017, Nava wrestled into the championship match once again, but lost a heart-breaking match 9-8 to Logan Gustafson of Stansbury to finish in second. This year Nava was not to be denied. By finishing first at divisionals, Nava entered the tournament as a two seed behind Delta sophomore Jake Jackson and Nava marched through his first three rounds pinning each opponent.
In the first-place match against Agustus Dalton of Emery, who pinned Jackson in the semifinals, Nava wrestled like a champion and earned his first state title by decision 8-5. After two losses in the finals, Nava claimed the victory in his final attempt. Redemption!
After winning a state title last year as a freshman 113 pounder, sophomore Jarrett Jorgensen was familiar with the trail leading to gold and aware of the work required. During his title quest in 2017, Jorgensen earned a last-minute 18-17 semifinal victory over Juab’s Kalob Nybo to advance to the championship bout and win his first state title.
This year, at 120 pounds, Jorgensen had to conquer Nybo again to earn his title. Jorgensen beat Nybo on at home on January 3 by decision 13-11 but lost to him two days later at the 3A Duals 13-12. At divisionals, Jorgensen prevailed by a large margin (for this rivalry) 20-14 in the championship bout. Both wrestlers brought their best efforts to state and each pinned their three early-round opponents to arrive at their fourth meeting of the year. As usual, the high scoring affair remained close until the final whistle. With seconds remaining and Jorgensen up 14-12, Nybo scored a takedown to force overtime. Jorgensen took Nybo down for the sudden victory win 16-14 and claimed his second, straight 3A Championship. Back-to-back!
For senior Chase Trussell, two-time state champion, the well-worn trail to a state title included a new challenge—finishing the season undefeated! Entering the tournament with a 54-0 season record, Trussell, 220 lbs., won all four state bouts, including the title match, by fall to complete a perfect 58-0 season. During his 2017 title run, Trussell only lost four matches ending 42-4 record and in 2016 he finished 41-6. Since his sophomore year, Trussell has only lost 10 matches in high school wrestling! Three-peat!
With an upset semifinal victory over the number one seeded Carson Whitney of Grand County, Morgan sophomore Joseph Mecham, 106 lbs., also advanced to the finals. Although Mecham was in the championship finals for the first time, he faced a familiar foe, Denim Torgerson of Richfield. Mecham lost to Torgerson in the divisional finals 5-4 and in January 6-3 at the 3A Duals. Hoping to change his fortunes against Torgerson, Mecham entered the final period of the championship bout tied 2-2 but gave up an escape to go down 3-2 and then a take down in the final seconds of the match to lose 5-2.
In his semifinal match, Mecham controlled the bout and earned victory by major decision 8-0. He also earned a major decision in his quarterfinal match 13-1 and pinned his first-round opponent.
At 126 pounds, Trojan senior Chris Payne earned third place with an early pin in the consolation finals. Payne won by fall and by major decision, 16-7, in his first two matches before losing in the semifinals by decision 7-0 to Quenton Mortimer, the eventual 126-pound champion. Payne, a third-place finisher in 2017 at 106 lbs., was happy to wrap up his wrestling career and is eager to move on to his next adventure…graduation and an LDS mission.
Morgan’s other qualifiers wrestled well with seniors Isaac Ware (132lbs), Hayden Stuart (170lbs) and Weston Stegelmeier (285lbs) earning spots on the podium. After two opening round wins, including a 5-3 buzzer beater in the second round, Ware fell in the semifinals. He came back around to pin his foe from Delta in the fifth-place match to place at state for the first time in his wrestling career.
Stuart lost his opening round match and then reeled off three wins to secure a spot in the consolation semifinals. Juab’s Blake Mangelson stopped Stuart’s run through the consolation bracket, but Stuart was able to secure sixth place and stand on the podium for his first time as well.
The Trojan heavyweight, Weston Stegelmeier, also earned his first state medal with a fifth-place finish. Stegelmeier advanced to the semifinals on two pins before falling to eventual champion Porter Fox of South Summit. Stegelmeiers’s second pin of the tournament came on an exciting reversal after Drake Hoffman of Emery had almost pinned Stegelmeier. Fittingly, Stegelmeier ended his tournament run with one more pin of Hoffman to put an exclamation point in his most successful season as a Morgan wrestler.
Trojan grapplers Montana Cragun (126lbs), Tanner Belinski (132lbs), Spencer Belinski (138lbs), Taylor Bearnson (138lbs), Chance Toone (145lbs), Isaac Rees (145lbs), and Chase Peterson (160lbs) all wrestled well in the tournament. Cragun, Tanner Belinski and Bearnson all made it into the third round of consolation, one round short of placing.
Coach Dustin Rock was pleased with his team’s third place finish. “We had a lot of athletes wrestle very well. It was a great tournament! I am happy for our champions and for all the other wrestlers who have put in so much hard work this season.”
Congratulations to the wrestling team on a great year!